Tuesday, June 08, 2010


I've recently had reason to revisit At The Drive-In's final studio album, Relationship of Command. It's still the only one I've heard by them. It's interesting to watch footage like this performance of their "hit," "One Armed Scissor," taped for French TV shortly before the band broke up (OK, fine, "went on indefinite hiatus" was the phrase at the time) in 2001. It's funny how crystal clear the schisms are—the three guys who would go on to form the ultra-ordinary alt-rock band Sparta are all over at stage right (except the drummer, obviously, who's dead center) with their short haircuts, while vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala and guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez are cavorting around at stage left with their ultra-tight jeans and massive, MC5-style Afros...

What's sort of funny is that Rodriguez-Lopez didn't even join the band until their third release; the core of the group was Bixler-Zavala and second guitarist Jim Ward. But gradually, Cedric and Omar became the tag-team of terror. There's a story in, I wanna say, Simon Reynolds' Rip It Up and Start Again about David Byrne and Brian Eno working on Talking Heads' Remain in Light together; bassist Tina Weymouth recalls, somewhat mockingly, that the two of them developed a kind of mutual man-crush, to the point that she remembers them even dressing alike. I wonder whose idea it was to grow the giant Afros?

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