Mars Volta's Ward Dies

Band's "sound manipulator" was twenty-seven

May 28, 2003 12:00 AM ET

Jeremy Michael Ward, who added vocals and effects as the "sound manipulator" in the Mars Volta, died from undisclosed causes on May 25th at his home in Los Angeles; he was twenty-seven.

Ward and the Mars Volta had just returned to the U.S. following a European tour where they opened for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. A thirteen-date headlining tour, in support of the band's upcoming full-length debut De-Loused in the Comatorium (due June 23rd), was scheduled to begin on June 2nd in West Palm Beach.

Comatorium was being positioned as a breakout for the genre-bending SoCal ensemble. The band -- which fuses hardcore, pop, soul, psychedelic rock and numerous other sounds -- was formed by singer Cedric Bixler and guitarist Omar Rodriguez in 2001 after they splintered from the politically minded, hard rock ensemble At the Drive-In (other members of ATDI formed Sparta). Bixler and Rodriguez brought keyboardist Ikey Owens and Ward onboard, having played with both in their progressive dub side project De Facto. The Mars Volta issued its first recording, The Tremulant EP, in April 2002.

"We have collaborated with Jeremy for the past ten years," the band said in a statement. "He was the driving force of Defacto, and an integral part of the Mars Volta, who often went unnoticed because he chose to perform offstage. In addition to music, Jeremy was an incredibly talented writer and painter. We are devastated by the loss, but know that Jeremy will continue to be with us in spirit at every show and during the making of every record."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories


The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

More Song Stories entries »