Yes, deep inside, I am a 15 year old girl, writing song lyrics on my arms and the walls of my room.
I remember standing backstage at Lollapalooza trying to decide who to go see next, it was either 30 Seconds To Mars or whoever everyone else in my band wanted to go see. I didn't argue with anybody, but I walked away from them and towards the stage where 30STM was about to start.
I knew nothing about them besides having met Jared Leto a few times while living in Santa Barbara, and because I had nothing but positive experiences with the dude, I figured I'd see what dude was offering up as music these days. My previous musical experience with Jared was with a band he was in back in 1999, as they were playing a bar in SB and he approached my group of friends and asked us to go. I remember nothing of the band or the show, but I remember he had pink lines in his eyebrows and was super fucking excited that we showed up and brought a dozen or so people.
A few months to a year later, I was showing one of my friends around Venice Beach and I saw Jared leaving an apartment building a few yards away from where we were standing. I did what anyone with a new famous friend would do, in my low voice I shouted "Leto!" and gave him the cool heads up "what's up dudez" motion. As he turned the corner he looked back, pointed at me and said "Santa Barbara".
I rode that feeling for a good 45 minutes and looked down my nose at everyone walking Venice that afternoon. Dude remembered. That was fucking cool.
So back at Lolla, me and my wife are standing stage left backstage and all we can see is the drummer and bass player. Jared's fucking nowhere. I backup from our spot a bit and try to lean on the edge of the stage frame and look out at the crowd, which is packed thick as far as I could see, and a white flutter catches my eye from up one of the speaker towers.
Yea, Jared Leto's up in the fucking sky climbing the speaker rigging and people are going fucking crazy for him. The teen girls, their mascara is running. The teen boys, you can't see their faces because their hair is covering their screaming faces. I didn't know a lick of their music at this point, but seeing the hold Leto had over the crowd was fucking powerful. Nearly every song at Lollapalooza had that moment where the band stops playing and the crowd carries the song by the lyrics, sung at the top of their fucking lungs, and the guys in 30 Seconds To Mars could do nothing but fucking BEAM.
How powerful is it to have a crowd full of people fucking belting out your fucking songs as loud as humanly possible? What the Fuck would that feel like?
A few hours after their set me and wifey were eating in the craft area and as I went up to grab some more butter or something, I ran across Shannon Leto, who is the drummer for 30STM. I grabbed the dude by the shoulder and proclaimed how I had become a fan after watching their show. Instead of being creeped out by a random dude shaking him senseless, dude was extremely appreciative that someone had even noticed he was who he was.
A few minutes of shooting the shit had passed and Jared walks over and sees us talking and I said essentially the same thing I had said to Shannon, "I'm a new fucking fan, that was fucking incredible". Jared was cool, but a bit more distant to the conversation than Shannon. I did the whole "I'm sure you don't remember this, but a few years ago... " and went into my Santa Barbara story and after I mentioned his pink eyebrow Shannon started giving Jared shit. It was unreal.
These two brothers that mere hours before, held a crowd of thousands of people in the palms of their fucking hands, were regular fucking people who still seemed blown away by their opportunity to play Lolla. If I had to choose what to play over and over in my head, it isn't the video of Shannon punching his brother Jared, it's Jared jumping up and down with his hand in the air with a sea of people doing the same thing. It gave me chills, it gives me chills, it's fucking chilly bro.
Their performance was so powerful, entertaining and unfuckingforgettable, I had to know what these people were singing. That night when we got home I pirated the fucking shit out of their first album, A Beautiful Lie, and my wife and I have been huge fans ever since.
The thing that gets me so fired up about 30 Seconds To Mars is that they're creating music that is meant to connect with people as every song is meant to be sung along with, be it the actual words or backing "ahh"'s, every build up is meant to cause you to rip out your fucking hair, every moment of patience is meant to be fucking massacred by a moment of intensity. Some people have commented to me when I divulged my fucking love for 30STM that it's "overproduced" and "music for the brainless", and while I understand the overproduced comment, I think I appreciate the fact that they pay so much attention to everything they fucking record and put out.
As for being music for the brainless?
I fucking love the fucking Fuck out of 30 Seconds To Mars.
Nearly every fucking song on their album, A Beautiful Lie, is something I can sing (and drum) along to when everything else fucking sucks in the world. The album dropped in 2005, and while I saw them in 2006, and here it is 2012, it's as important to me now as it was back when I first got the goosies from it.
A few years ago in 2009, 30STM released This Is War, and when I thought A Beautiful Lie was going to be tough to top in my ears, This Is War felt just like a perfect fucking extension of it versus a new direction.
It still feels like I felt that first time I turned up the fucking volume in the car and didn't care that I didn't know every fucking word but tried to sing everything anyway.
Still are the huge choruses. Still are the standing on a cliff yelling at the seas verses. Still are the moments when you can just imagine an entire fucking 100,000 people singing along with you. Still are the stereotypical bar chords. Still are the subtle insertions of strings and synths. Still is Jared Leto's fucking voice taking the keep it cool lower register on up to the high intensity I'm screaming for my life here muthafucker.
30 Seconds To Mars, whether they're working on a new album or not, are one of my favorite fucking bands forfuckingever.
If that earns you a laugh in my general direction, I'll sick the Echelon on your ass muthafucker.