When you think of El Paso bands, the two biggest that come to mind are The Mars Volta & At The Drive-In. For good reason too: both bands had incredible lineups, playing shows all over the world. But as we all know there are more bands that were formed from those two: but just how many were there?


Besides his solo work, people know the two projects Jim Ward went on to form; Sparta & Sleepercar. Sparta had some solid hits & they definitely gained a boost of popularity in the mid 2000s (probably partially because of their appearance in the movie The Invisible). Their most recent release was 2020's Trust the River.

Sleepercar was the country rock project of Jim's that was founded in 2008 & is still active today.

But how many did Cedric Zavala & Omar-Rodriguez Lopez go on to form? At least a total of 5 bands:

Startled Calf:

This very short lived group on the Red Ear Records label was founded by Omar & formed back in 1990. The rest of the lineup included Ralph Jasso on guitar, Jimmy Hernandez on bass, and George Hosni on drums. They broke up in 1992 after Jimmy passed away from cancer after his 21st birthday. They never officially recorded any material; however, there DOES exist footage of the band performing at Coronado High School back in 1991.

What was Cedric doing at this time? Well in 1993, he was forming his first band...


From 1993-1995, Cedric performed in the band Foss along with someone who would later become a widely known politician from El Paso

YUP. That's Beto O'Rourke playing guitar in Foss. The band didn't last long but that's ok because in 1994, At The Drive-In would officially form and that became the focus for Omar, Cedric & Jim Ward. But there was another band formed during that time.

De Facto:

Cedric & Omar would have jam sessions together while in At The Drive-In, & they would start this band, De Facto. They would perform with Isiah "Ikey" Owens (who would later play in the Mars Volta) & Jeremy Ward (Jim Ward's cousin). The psych reggae band would release two albums & break up in 2003 after the passing of Jeremy.

After this they went on to officially form The Mars Volta. But they would have a few more side projects...

Bosnian Rainbows:

Omar formed the Bosnian Rainbows in 2012; a definite change from the hard, prog-rock sound of the previous bands. Omar formed the Rainbows with Deantoni Parks, Nicci Kasper & the lead singer from le Butcherettes, Teri Gender Bender. They only lasted a year, til 2013 but their music did get played... a LOT.


Omar & Cedric would form the short lived supergroup, Antemasque, in 2014. Marcel would actually join the band as their bassist after the breakup of Zechs Marquise & Dave Elitch would join on drums. But they would also include FLEA from the Red Hot Chili Peppers & Travis Barker from Blink-182 in the band. They only released one album which is a shame because honestly there needs to be another...

Crystal Fairy

The other supergroup formed by Omar is Crystal Fairy in 2016; the group consists of Terri Gender Bender on vocals, Omar on bass & two members from The Melvins:

  • Buzz Osbourne (The Melvins) on guitar,
  • and Dale Crover on drums

They only had 1 album released in 2017 before calling it quits that same year.

And then At The Drive In would come back

After that, Cedric & Omar had a brief reunion with At The Drive-In between 2015-2018.

As of 2022, we FINALLY got a new album from The Mars Volta; the first song released over a decade.

So that's a brief look at ALL the side projects formed by Cedric, Omar AND Jim Ward. Will there be more? Only time will tell.

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