At the Drive-In

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About At the Drive-In

At the turn of the millennium, At the Drive-In were, quite simply, the most electrifying rock band in America, each performance a tornado of noise, wild physical gesticulations, and flying Afros powered by the sort of superhuman energy that’s impossible to sustain over the long haul. But if the El Paso band’s initial run lasted for just seven years, it was long enough to wholly modernize the sound of post-hardcore and send shockwaves through the underground that are still felt decades later. Formed by local punk-scene pals Cedric Bixler-Zavala (vocals) and Jim Ward (guitar) in 1994, At the Drive-In introduced their volatile fusion of hardcore fury, indie-rock discord, emo drama, and dubby sonics on a handful of under-the-radar releases before signing to the Beastie Boys’ Grand Royal label for 2000’s epochal Relationship of Command. With its metallic, radio-ready sheen, the album seemingly set the stage for a Nirvana-level crossover—however, citing exhaustion, the group disbanded a year later. Effectively, At the Drive-In split into two bands: Bixler-Zavala and guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez indulged their wildest prog-punk fantasies with The Mars Volta, while Ward led the others in the more streamlined alt-rock outfit Sparta. But At the Drive-In’s pervasive cross-genre influence spurred a reunion tour in 2012, and then, five years later, new album in•ter a•li•a (sans Ward), which showcased their undiminished intensity.

El Paso, TX, United States
October 14, 1994
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