Jared Leto fronts the band 30 Seconds to Mars. Here’s a look at the evolution of the band as a whole from a long-time fan’s perspective.
30 Seconds to Mars formed when brothers Shannon and Jared Leto decided to put a band together in 1998. Jared Leto had already found some success with his acting. He had starred in the hit show “My So-Called Life” in 1994 and occasionally acted in smaller roles in various movies. Jared’s true calling was always in music though. When 30 Seconds to Mars first came into the spotlight, Jared wanted to make sure he was putting more time into his music than into his movies. I myself had known Jared Leto through his various films he had acted in. In particular knew he was from “Requiem for a Dream.”
With the addition of Solon Bixler on guitar and Matt Watcher on the bass 30 Seconds to Mars became a full band. In 1999 they signed a contract with Virgin Records but didn’t release their first album until the end of 2002. The lead single and debut song titled, “Capricorn (A Brand New Name)” reached number 31 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. This particular song would be much different than their current sound that they are known for today. Their first album was more alternative rock and was reminiscent of bands Tool and Chevelle. Looking back I really don’t know if I would have gave 30 Seconds to Mars a chance at the start. Their first album is quite different from the music I normally listen to but because I like Jared Leto’s acting I gave the band a chance, and I’m glad I did.
Greater success and a new sound.
Three years later 30 Seconds to Mars released their second album, “A Beautiful Lie.” I fell in love with the imagery of the entire album and new sound of the band. Bixler was replaced by Tomo Milicevic and the band took a turn from a concept band to writing songs with personal meaning. Their first album was exclusively a concept album and had pure alternative rock while this new album featured a more rock-pop feel and songs that could be taken personal. There was much more emotion coming from these songs which rang true for the lead single “Attack”. This song featured a keyboard intro and less guitars which was the ultimate introduction to their new sound.
The next single “The Kill” would bring the band to greater heights. The music video for the song was directed by Jared Leto himself and was a tribute to the movie “The Shining.” Visually it was a spectacle that got people talking about the band. You can see the visually striking music video here via YouTube. This music video is actually what made my sister fall in love with the band as well. To this day I still think that this music video and song is the greatest thing 30 Seconds to Mars has produced. I just had to see them live after seeing this video and I was finally able to in the summer of 2006.
Going to War.
Even after achieving great success with “A Beautiful Lie” bad news came for 30 Seconds to Mars. In their contract that they signed back in 1999 with Virgin they were supposed to have produced 5 albums with the record company. Up to this point they had only released 2. EMI, which is the parent label of Virgin, decided to sue the band for $30 million dollars for breach of contract. Matt Watcher, the bassist and keyboardist, had left the band a year earlier to spend more time with his family and the band was in the process of writing songs for their next album. It was very stressful for them and it was sad to see all this happening to them as a fan. I remember them touring a lot and I know that they achieved great success with a “Beautiful Lie” but for the record company it just wasn’t good enough for them.
All this turmoil ended up having a great ending though. Jared Leto decided to document the struggles the band went through into a documentary titled “Artifact” and made it fuel their next album “This is War.” This new album was very fan-friendly since vocals from many fans can be heard throughout the songs. In the end 30 Seconds to Mars won and the lawsuit was dropped and an amazing album was produced.
Jared Leto returns to acting and 30 Seconds to Mars is “reborn.”
As a long-time fan of Jared Leto’s work I was always anxious to see any movie he was working on. Unfortunately for fans of his acting Jared took a break from acting to solely focus on the band. It wasn’t until “Dallas Buyers Club” came around that he returned to acting. After a six-year break from acting Jared was on the top of his game. For his role in “Dallas Buyers Club” he played a a transgendered woman struggling with AIDS. His phenomenal performance earned him an Oscar and several other awards as well. It was the role he was born to play.
Now for 30 Seconds to Mars they again took another turn. With the new release of their fourth album, “Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams,” they returned to the concept band but still maintained a completely different sound from their first album. The lead single “Up In the Air” showcased the electro-pop-rock sound they now have become. Watch the lyric video here via YouTube to see just how their new sound has evolved. For me I have a hard time listening to their first album compared to the rest of their works. I still consider myself to be a true fan none-the-less and am actually planning on seeing them live again. Since their albums have slowly evolved to different sounds gradually it was easy to basically grow and adjust with the band. If you listen to the first album compared to their new album it’s really hard to tell that it’s the same band. I know people that liked the band how they “used to be” but for me I think it’s something special to follow a band’s journey like this. It’s not like they changed their sound overnight. They have been a band for over 15 years now and what an incredible journey it has been. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for their next album.