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Baker's Dozen

Everything's Connected: Omar Rodríguez-López Favourite LPs
Stevie Chick , September 10th, 2020 08:43

Former At The Drive In and Mars Volta member Omar Rodríguez-López speaks to Stevie Chick about the records that shaped his life, from Latin traditionals to how Janet Jackson got him into punk


Le Tigre – Le Tigre 
Bikini Kill was super-influential but Le Tigre was a life-changing moment for me. It was such a different thing – I had been such a fan of Bikini Kill, and then I heard Le Tigre, and it was such a striking move, such a different sound, and Kathleen Hanna was following her heart and creating a new thing for herself. This was the genesis of me knowing my time in At The Drive-In was limited; a year later, I was out of that band and I started The Mars Volta.

The first track, 'Deceptacon', inspired me to write 'Roulette Dares' for the first Mars Volta record. I wrote that song while I was still in At The Drive-In, in a hotel room in London, and Kathleen was in London at the time with Adam, and we saw them and I talked to her a little bit. That night, I went back to my hotel room and wrote that song, and it's obvious that the super-fast picking in it is me doing my version of the riff that follows that little hook of “All right, all right” in 'Deceptacon'. And the handclaps and all the stuff in there made me think of the freestyle and electro stuff I loved when I was younger. So 'Roulette Dares' started out as me, doing my own version, but with the Salsa stuff and the percussion…

More important for me was the fact that she took that jump, that she just went, 'Okay, Bikini Kill was Bikini Kill, and now I'm doing this thing.' It was awe-inspiring in every way – musically, lyrically, philosophically. It was so strikingly different.