Study Guide

Wax Simulacra Introduction

Wax Simulacra Introduction

In a Nutshell

If you're looking for creepy, semi-mystical, manically paced music, the Mars Volta doesn't disappoint. "Wax Simulacra" takes a spot on their album The Bedlam in Goliath, which details a bizarre story inspired by the band's Ouija board. (No, really.)

But this song is by no means simple. Even the title stumped us at first. What does "simulacra" mean, anyway? It just means "likenesses," so "wax simulacra" might be something like those wax figures you see of celebrities. 

But if this song is about imitations, what's being imitated? The more closely you look at the song's obscure lyrics, the more questions you're likely to have. So, if you're intrigued, fear not. Just keep reading.

About the Song

ArtistMars Volta, The
Year2008
LabelUniversal Motown Records
Writer(s)The Mars Volta
Producer(s)Omar Rodriguez-Lopez
Musician(s)Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Adrian Terrazas-Gonzales, Pablo Hinojos Gonzalez, Marcel Rodriguez-Lopez, Thomas Pridgen
Learn to play
AlbumThe Bedlam in Goliath

Music Video

Influences on Mars Volta, The

Anthony Green
Moving Mountains
The Kinison

Influenced by Mars Volta, The

King Crimson
Mr. Bungle

Wax Simulacra Resources

Albums

The Mars Volta, De-Loused in the Comatorium (2003)
The band's 2003 release is their best so far, managing to somehow update the religious intensity of progressive rock technologically while keeping elements of Cedric and Omar's hardcore band At the Drive-In intact.

The Mars Volta, The Bedlam in Goliath (2008)
From its nine-minute epics "Metatron," "Calvalettas," and "Soothsayer" to its frantic two-minute spasms – "Wax Simulacra" and "Torquinet Man" – this is an album that doesn't let up, rarely letting the volume and tempo fall below the maximum.

The Mars Volta, Octahedron (2009)
This album is much more dynamic than The Bedlam in Goliath, incorporating Buckethead-esque acoustic guitar skills, as on "Since We've Been Wrong," and even hints of the blues making the album somewhat more accessible to a larger audience.

At The Drive-In, El Gran Orgo (1997)
Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodríguez-López have been involved for a long time musically. This EP, released under the name of their former band At The Drive-In, is a great example of their past musicianship, and of how their style has evolved over the years.

Images

The Bedlam in Goliath
The album cover for The Bedlam in Goliath shows the mixing of new technology and ancient culture much in the same way as the album itself.

The Mars Volta Live
Here are The Mars Volta at a live show.

At the Drive-In
In this older photo you'll find a younger Cedric and Omar and their band-mates from At the Drive-In.

Omar
Guitarist Omar is a study of intensity in this picture from a live performance.

Cedric and Omar In Studio
The duo show off their guns in a studio packed with equipment.

Wax Simulacra
The beautiful and disturbing cover art for the single might just reveal something about the song itself, don't you think?

Websites

The Mars Volta Official Website
With audio, pictures, and tour dates, here you can find the band's website.

"Unwelcome Spirits Haunt 'The Bedlam in Goliath'"
Here's a summary of the origin story of the album, as told on NPR's All Things Considered.

"The Mars Volta's Descent Into Bedlam: A Rhapsody In Three Parts"
While their official website doesn't have it anymore, Jeremy Robert Johnson's origin story of The Bedlam in Goliath can still be found on the Internet.

Goliath the Soothsayer
The Mars Volta produced a flash video game based on the events surrounding the album! Check it out!

Video & Audio

Live on Late Night
The Mars Volta performs "Wax Simulacra" on David Letterman.

Live on MTV Canada!
The Canadians get a treat with this early broadcast performance of "Wax Simulacra."

Music Video
Here is the official video for "Wax Simulacra."

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