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Music
 
Ready for Lift-Off
30 Seconds to Mars on Stepping Out of Jared Leto's Shadow
By Autumn Thatcher

   
   
 
Concert Preview:
 
30 Seconds to Mars
 
Opening for Seether
The Great Salt Air
(West of the airport on I-80)
Monday, Nov. 14, 8 p.m.
Buy tickets for $16.40 at
Graywhale CD Exchange
locations, www.ktix.net
or through Smith’sTix at
www.smithstix.com.
 
   

With Hollywood’s Jared Leto fronting 30 Seconds to Mars, it’s easy to assume that the band is just a mess of guys led by a tired actor who wanted to try singing for a change. But 30 Seconds to Mars is an exception to the actor-turned-singer cliché. Leto and his brother, Shannon, formed the band years ago, and released their debut album in 2002.

“The first tour, we had a lot to prove. It was like going to war every night with Jared being the lead singer and him being an actor as well,” said drummer Shannon Leto in an interview after the band played as part of X 96’s Big Ass Show on Sept. 24.

Feeling content with the outcome of their sophomore album, A Beautiful Lie, and the permanent addition of guitarist Tomo Milicevic and bassist Matt Wachter, the band feels as if it has cemented its sound and found a place within the musical world. The band members have spent the majority of the year touring with bigger-name bands and solidifying their presence, and will be back in Salt Lake City to open for Seether at The Great Salt Air on November 14.

The band spent three years working on its current album and dismissed over 30 potential songs before reaching the 10 that made the cut. “This album is more stripped down, more raw. More to the point,” said Shannon Leto.

Milicevic agreed, admitting that the band set out to make its sophomore album a complete departure from its debut. “This time it was really a lot more about the lyrics, Jared’s writing and the vocal melodies—more about the song rather than how much you can do,” said Milicevic. “The next time it will be completely different again.”

With their focus centering around their personal preferences rather than the response of music critics, the band members work first and foremost to meet their own expectations. “Before we started writing songs for the record, we made a list of goals that we wanted to accomplish. And as time went on, we started to realize that we were accomplishing all of the goals that we wanted. We just wanted to make a record that we could listen to,” Milicevic said.

Though the band has fought to earn respect for their musical abilities, they still have to face the fact that Jared Leto made a name for himself by acting in films and posing for the cover of hundreds of teen magazines, and that’s how most people know him.

With Jared Leto’s preference to skip interviews and act as if he is God and the press has no right to so much as look at him, it is easy to understand why his bandmates are so quick to validate his humble personality and serious dedication to his music.

Both Shannon Leto and Milicevic came across as more than a bit irritated when asked whether or not they find it hard for people to consider them a real band rather than just another actor band.

“We don’t have to do anything. People see us live and they’re like, ‘Oh,’” said Milicevic.

Agreeing with Milicevic, Shannon Leto was quick to jump to his brother’s defense, “I don’t know how many actors would turn down millions and millions of dollars to make $25 per diem…We’re not getting paid right now,” said Shannon Leto.

Faithful to their lead singer, the band members are quick to jump to Jared Leto’s defense by revealing just how dedicated he is to his music. “Jared just recently turned down Clint Eastwood to go on tour with The Used. So if that’s not credible enough for you, then I guess critics don’t get it,” Milicevic said.

Salt Lake City residents will soon get the opportunity to form their own opinion of Leto and his bandmates on Nov. 14. The sad thing is that as much as Leto can be a complete ass, he is actually quite good, and so is his band. Though a happy meeting with front man Leto is unlikely, fans are sure to experience a good concert. If for nothing else than to watch Jared Leto climb walls, gesture obscenely at the audience, and reveal that his vocabulary doesn’t extend too far past the word “fuck.” The show is sure to be interesting, and maybe even a little fun.

autumn[at]saltshakermagazine.com

 

 
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