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At the Drive-In Biography

Home > Music > A > At the Drive-In > Biography

Birth Place: El Paso, Texas
Years Active: 1993–2001
Genres: Post-hardcore, Alternative Rock

At the Drive-In is an American rock band from El Paso, Texas, considered part of the post-hardcore genre and active from 1993 to 2001. They are known for their extremely energetic stage shows which hearken back to the 1980s hardcore scene. They also recognized for their blend of surrealistic lyrics, unorthodox guitar melodies and unpredictable shifts in tempo and rhythm. The band broke up following their 2000 breakthrough album “Relationship of Command,” with the members going on to form The Mars Volta and Sparta. At the Drive-In announced their reunion in January 2012.

At the Drive-In formed in 1994 with an initial lineup of Cedric Bixler-Zavala (lead vocals), Jim Ward (guitar and backing vocals), Jarrett Wrenn (guitar), Kenny Hopper (bass guitar), and Bernie Rincon (drums). This lineup released the band's debut EP, “Hell Paso,” through their imprint Western Breed Records that November. Rincon was replaced by Davy Simmons for their second EP, 1995's “¡Alfaro Vive, Carajo!” Further lineup changes saw Wrenn replaced by Adam Amparan, Hopper by Omar Rodríguez-López, and Simmons by Ryan Sawyer.

The band's debut album, “Acrobatic Tenement,” was released in July 1996 through Flipside Records. The band's lineup fluctuated again, with Amparan's departure prompting Rodríguez-López to move to guitar while Paul Hinojos filled the bass position, and Tony Hajjar replaced Sawyer on drums. Ben Rodriguez played guitar on 1997's “El Gran Orgo” EP due to Ward's inability to participate, however Ward was back in place for a split single with The Aasee Lake and the band's second album, “In/Casino/Out,” released in August 1998 by Fearless Records. The lineup of Bixler-Zavala, Ward, Rodríguez-López, Hinojos, and Hajjar would remain intact until the band's dissolution in 2001.

1999 saw the release of the “Vaya” EP, which spawned the band's first music video, for the song “Metronome Arthritis.” A trio of split releases followed in 2000, including an EP with Sunshine and singles with Burning Airlines and the Murder City Devils.

At the Drive-In's final studio album, “Relationship of Command,” was released in September 2000 through Grand Royal Records. It proved to be a breakthrough, reaching #116 on the Billboard 200 and #33 on the UK Albums chart. All three of its singles, “One Armed Scissor,” “Rolodex Propaganda” and “Invalid Litter Dept.,” reached the UK Singles chart, with “One Armed Scissor” also reaching #26 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart.

In 2001 the band went on indefinite hiatus, with Bixler-Zavala and Rodríguez-López forming The Mars Volta while Ward, Hinojos, and Hajjar formed Sparta. In November 2004 Fearless Records re-released all three of the band's studio albums as well as the “Vaya” EP, followed by the compilation album “This Station Is Non-Operational” in 2005 which reached #95 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart and #3 on the Independent Albums chart.

In January 2012 the band announced it had reformed and would be performing at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.