Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea has teamed with Mars Volta nucleus Omar Rodríguez-López and Cedric Bixler-Zavala and mid-era Mars Volta drummer Dave Elitch to form the new band Antemasque.
Flea previously provided bass on all but two tracks for Mars Volta's 2003 debut album, De-Loused in the Comatorium, and trumpet on two songs on the 2005 follow-up Frances the Mute. The new ensemble posted their first song, "4AM," a charging, punkish rocker with the sorts of squiggly noodling that both the Mars Volta guys and Flea have used as calling cards in their respective groups.
The supergroup also posted video of a studio session where the musicians worked out the track. In a break from the music, Flea talks about a special bass designed by visual artist Damien Hirst that incorporates real butterflies in the bass' paint job. The Milk Bandit even noodles out a few notes à la carte on it.
Mars Volta fans weren't the only ones surprised at the collaboration. Earlier Wednesday, Flea tweeted, "Woke to find out I'm in a new supergroup. Hahahaha. Played on some tracks a few weeks ago with my friends Omar and Cedric for love that['s] all."
Mars Volta broke up last January, as vocalist Bixler-Zavala posted a series of bitter tweets including, "I tried my hardest to keep it going but Bosnian Rainbows was all we got instead," referring to guitarist Rodríguez-López's other group. At the time, the singer said he wanted to move forward with his music and be happy that he had the chance to work in Mars Volta in the first place.
The new group's Facebook page links to a post on a Mars Volta forum, noting that Antemasque is a full-time project, "not a side gig." Rodríguez-López said that he is committed to the group as well as Bosnian Rainbows, with a second album from the latter in the works.