30 Seconds To Mars' Jared Leto Talks Rock, Beautiful Lies & Why Bloggers Should Die
Most folks know Jared Leto from his role as the hunky love interest on ABC’s My So Called Life and flicks like Requiem for a Dream and Panic Room. But these days, many are getting to know him through his rock band 30 Seconds To Mars, whose sophomore album, A Beautiful Lie, is a much-buzzed-about surprise hit.
Currently heading out on the MTV2 $2 Bill Presents: Welcome To The Universe Tour, 30 Seconds to Mars just nabbed a statue at the MTV2 VMAs, scored a MTVU Woodie Award, and are up for two Fuse Chainsaw awards: Jared for the “Prince of Darkness” award, and the band for “Most Inspired Music Video from a Film.” The voting ends on Friday, October 13, so go vote!
Leto recently spoke to TheFeed and we even scored some tasty footage (click above) of 30 Seconds To Mars live at Lollapalooza (watch for Jared climbing the lighting rig during the encore!). But first a little history on the band...
The band’s self-titled 2002 debut album was produced by the great Bob Ezrin (Nine Inch Nails, Pink Floyd, KISS, Alice Cooper) and was certified Gold. Heavy touring and Leto’s high profile as a celeb garnered them a slow but steady buzz, so that A Beautiful Lie came out of the gate even stronger in 2005.
Combining goth with alt-rock, yet with a glam sensibility, 30 Seconds To Mars (Jared, plus brother Shannon on drums, guitarist Tomo Milicevic and bassist Matt Wacther) sound more like a seasoned band, rather than an actor’s side-project, and are being embraced by the MySpace/YouTube-obsessed youth. Yet ironically, Leto is wary of the cyber world in some ways, embracing the reality of his music rather than the videogames and reality TV that so many are into these days,. Any why not? Here’s a guy who can’t stay out of the online gossip sites, despite his desire to. It’s no wonder he’s dismissive of the celebrity obsessed online culture. He’s practically stalked by them every day.
Leto took the time to chat with TheFeed about the above topics, and his new album, during a whirlwind blitzkrieg of interviews, and for that, we thank him. Enjoy.
G4: Hey, Jared, how are you?
JARED: Hey, buddy! How’s it going?
G4: Good. Hey, you guys have a new record out. How’s this one different than the last one?
JARED: It’s something that we’re very proud of. It’s been a long time since the first record, so we’re entirely focused on this new album, A Beautiful Lie. It’s just a really incredible time for us. We won an MTV Award last week, the record just went gold, and we have a #3 song in the country.
G4: That’s amazing!
JARED: We’re enjoying that.
G4: It seems like you guys have successfully gotten rid of the “rock side-project of an actor” tag and come into your own as a band at this point. What do you attribute that to?
JARED: Hard work, perseverance, determination, conviction, passion, an incredibly dedicated cult following that is a defining part of what 30 Seconds to Mars is, and a belief in what we do and who we are.
G4: How do you see yourself in relation to other rock bands out there at the moment?
JARED: We’ve always been kind of strange, musically and how we present ourselves live. We’ve always been kind of the odd man out. But we just played Warped tour recently, and quite often a lot of bands would come over and check us out. And that’s always fun when your peers respect what you do and have an interest in your art. We played an incredible time slot every day, and it was fantastic. It couldn’t have gone better.
G4: That’s amazing. You guys were up for a Chainsaw award as well, right?
JARED: Yeah, we’re up for a Chainsaw, a couple of awards there for Fuse, and we just got nominated for an MTV-U award, which is the college station of MTV. People can go to Fuse.com and vote for the Chainsaw awards. It’s just incredible to get recognized like that, and to have people embrace what you do is really cool. It’s a gift.
G4: What does the title, A Beautiful Lie, refer to?
JARED: That’s the contradiction of life, basically, the contradictions of humanity…of what it is to be human.
G4: In terms of?
JARED: Every rose has his thorn.
G4: Well, I guess that’s kind of what I was looking for, some sort of a Poison reference. Speaking of hairspray, I hear a lot of glam rock influences in the band. Not, like, bad ‘80s glam rock, I mean like that ‘70s Ziggy Stardust vibe and even a Duran Duran ‘80s kind of thing. Are those some of your influences, or am I nuts?
JARED: Totally. I mean, we have a lot of different influences but certainly we are a reaction to the shoe gazing indie rock that’s out there. We’re a band that’s bigger than life, and definitely not a jeans and t-shirt band. When we go on stage we like to present ourselves in a way that’s unique and different, and hopefully provide some sort of excitement and escape out there for the people coming to share it with us.
G4: What are some of the bands that got you into music as a kid?
JARED: Bands like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, bands that had a certain sense of aesthetic, a style, and a belief in who they really were.
G4: Do you guys play a lot of videogames on the road?
JARED: Uh, my band plays some, but I don’t really get into that so much. My videogame is probably like ProTools…you know, making music. For me, it’s something that’s a way to express myself. I love the freedom that it gives me the ability to do just, uh, get whatever’s in my mind and my gut out there and in such an direct and immediate way.
G4: What is the songwriting process for you guys like?
JARED: I usually have an idea of what were going to do first, and we’ll flesh it out; sometimes on the acoustic, sometimes on the computer. Sometimes I’ll finish an idea almost in its entirety, but my brother Shannon always improves upon what I do with the rhythmic elements. The rest of the band contributed a lot on A Beautiful Lie, unlike the first record, where it was me playing all the instruments and my brother playing live drums. I’m still writing all the songs, but I have Tom and Matt there to play bass and guitar on the songs as well.
G4: Did you play a lot of videogames as a kid? Which ones?
JARED: Probably Missile Command and Tron is where I stopped. I spent hours at the local 7/11 on those games.You can tell I’m a dinosaur when it comes to that. The other videogame I play is my Blackberry.
G4: That does get to be quite a challenging game, huh?
JARED: It does.
G4: At this point, what is the ratio between your music career and your acting career?
JARED: I just focus on what’s important.
G4: And that might change depending on what’s on your plate at that moment?
G4: What can we expect in terms of promotion for this new record? Are you guys going to go out and do a pretty lengthy tour, or where are you at now?
JARED: Well, we’ve already been touring for over a year for this record and we’re going to do a giant tour called Welcome to the Universe. It’s an environmentally sound tour, a green tour.
G4: Do you do a lot of blogging from the road?
JARED: No, I think that blogging should die a sudden death.
JARED: It’s just ridiculous. It’s like a playground for four-year-olds. People say and do things in the world of blogs that they would never do in real life, and I think it’s a false experience. You know, it’s, like, eating too much candy.
G4: So you don't read alot of the celebrity gossip blogs, I take it?
JARED: Well, you know, one of the things along those lines that bothers me about when people start citing blogs as news sources is that when people are writing on these blogs, they feel like they don’t feel they need to do any research or back up their opinions with facts or anything, you know what I mean?
G4: Why is there this inherent lack of responsibility when it comes to blogging as journalism?
JARED: I couldn’t tell you. Times have changed. It used to be, to be a writer you had to have experience and talent, and learn a craft. Now anybody with an opinion, which is anyone and everyone, feels that it’s worthy. Technology is allowing people to have access to things where before it required very great skill. So there will be some interesting developments from that, and also some things that are pretty worthless. Pretty soon anybody with a cell phone is going to be able to be a news reporter.The blog is yesterday’s parachute pants. It’s here now but it’s gone tomorrow.
G4: You no longer have to even know what news reporting is.
JARED: You really don’t. All you have to do is point your friggin’ Blackberry at somebody and get a picture and send it off to your favorite blog site.
G4: A celebrity goes to a Starbucks and there’s a picture of them 10 minutes later up on a blog somewhere and it becomes news!
JARED: Sometimes it’s interesting, but most of the time the bloggers themselves are just trying to get famous so they can make some money and sell advertising dollars and duping these poor people who are on the internet all day long.
G4: Yeah, those people are lame. Anyways, I gotta run and go post this on G4’s blog, TheFeed, so I can make some money, sell advertising dollars and dupe those poor people who are on the internet all day long. Suckers!