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Jon Theodore

Jon Theodore is the drummer of The Mars Volta. Best known for his bombastic, multi-textural and dynamic playing style, he has fast become recognised as one of the most talented and creative drummers in music. In addition to his percussive role, he works on the arrangements in The Mars Volta's records.

Theodore first started playing drums at the age of 15. He was soon involved with his high school concert band and took lessons on a full kit shortly after. It was at this point that he studied percussion and learned how to map arrangements; dedicated practice had already become a daily habit.

He also listened to a great variety of music, growing to love the likes of Billy Cobham, Elvin Jones and John Bonham.

Around the end of his time in high school, he joined the band Golden and recorded and toured with them for ten years. It was during this time that he met Cedric Bixler Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, who were performing their first gig with their experimental dub band Defacto in El Paso, TX. They became friends and the former At The Drive-In duo would later invite Theodore to join their latin-tinged prog-rock band, The Mars Volta, with whom he currently tours and records. He also played with Royal Trux for a year-and-a-half prior to joining The Mars Volta.

In his spare time Theodore surfs, which helps build and maintain the main muscle groups used in drumming.

Theodore draws inspiration from many different forms of music but those most prevalent in his playing are jazz, fusion and rock. He has also touched upon another factor which adds to his individual style - "Then there's a whole bunch of stuff from Haïti because my dad's Haïtian. My favorite Haïtian drummer is this guy called Azor... ...The Haïtian music that moves me has the drumming from the voodoo rituals. It moves me because the patterns are connected to different spirits; it's a spiritual thing that is interconnected with dancing, sacrifice and devotion. It's fully passionate. There is nothing contrived about it."

In interviews he regularly cites Billy Cobham of The Mahavishnu Orchestra as his main drumming influence: "My all-time favorite drummer is Billy Cobham. I love the way he plays... ...[his] playing is so natural, powerful and dynamic at the same time. I pattern a lot of stuff after him.". He has also been heavily inspired by John Bonham of Led Zeppelin: "He had one of the best feels in the history of rock... ...because [of him] I try and play with as much bombast as I possibly can."

He has also mentioned the following:

Elvin Jones (Independent, John Coltrane Quartet)
Keith Moon (The Who)
Phil Rudd (Independent)
Tony Williams (Independent)
Sebastian Thomson (Trans Am)
Tim Soete (The Fucking Champs)
Herbie Hancock (Herbie And The Headhunters)
Doug Scharin (June of '44)
Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste (The Meters)
Mitchell Feldstein (Lung Fish)
Damon Che (Don Caballero)
Dale Crover (The Melvins)
John Herndon (Tortoise)
Ryan Rapsys (Euphone)
Brann Dailor (Mastodon)

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