Thirty Seconds to Mars is blasting off into the next phase of its career.
The alternative band's latest CD, This Is War, has propelled 30 Seconds to Mars into the realm of powerhouse rock outfits. The act's gone through its trials and tribulations, but the new record proves this is a group with solid, long-lasting talent.
Who: 30 Seconds to Mars, with Middle Class Rut
When: 6 p.m. Friday
Where: Fillmore Auditorium, 1510 Clarkson St., Denver
Thirty Seconds to Mars has already sold more than 3 million records, earned more than 100 million YouTube hits and played for fans around the globe. The band's touring behind the new record and its ready to hit the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver on Friday.
"We're compelled to go out and do this," guitarist Tomo Millicevic said. "There's always this excitement about creating something new and something that inspires us."
"We're a band that's always trying to push the envelope and make it as exciting and interesting as possible."
In 1998, brothers Jared and Shannon Leto formed 30 Seconds to Mars. If the name Jared Leto rings a bell, that's because he starred on the short-lived TV hit "My So-Called Life" with Claire Danes.
Leto channeled his creative energy into the band, and Thirty Seconds to Mars became known for its mix of hard rock, emo and progressive sounds. However, the group hit a snag when a contract dispute with Virgin Records led to a $30 million lawsuit.
"More or less, we were prepared to make war," Millicevic said. "We felt we should talk to the label about the deal, but they weren't interested. We terminated the contract and they exercised their right to sue us.
"That experience just renewed us, and we decided to move forward and keep our eyes on the prize. If this hadn't happened, we would definitely not have made the same new album. It forced us to fight through stressful times -- we're grateful for the fact that we had a conflict and we were able to use it."
Thirty Seconds to Mars' new record is more than just a veiled reference to its 2008 lawsuit.
The album's rich sonic tones and emotionally charged lyrics also reference crises in the world economy and politics. The combination of the band's legal battles and global observations inspired the group to create a powerful record.
"Sonically, we knew we wanted to completely change from what we were before," Millicevic said. "This time, we wanted to really go back to old vintage sounds and explore them.
"We wanted to create a really exciting sounding record -- our goal was to destroy the past. We recorded everything and anything around us. We used insect and hawk sounds, and even some Tibetan monks."
The band also included its fans on the record.
Thirty Seconds to Mars invited more than 1,000 fans to be part of the recording process. The group held "summits" around the world, and added the fans live voices, screams and stomps to This Is War.
The band captured all the essential sonics for the record, but 30 Seconds to Mars wanted compelling lyrics to accompany the music.
"There's definitely a lot of conflicts and fights where people have to fight for what they believe in," Millicevic said. "We wanted this record to be an anthemic soundtrack for the people. It was written in a time of confusion and chaos, so there's definitely a battle theme to the record.
"People should take from it what they want. For us, it definitely was a transformative album. We all changed a lot with what we went through and a lot of different emotions were covered in making this record."
The members of 30 Seconds to Mars have been very busy since the record came out.
The band's toured the globe with its new music and created two video versions of its racy single "Hurricane." To add to the excitement, Kanye West lent his vocal skills to the new song.
In the end, it's all about the live show -- and 30 Seconds to Mars knows how to deliver a solid concert.
"The focus of these shows is definitely on the new record," Millicevic said. "We have a nice spread of everything we've done and it's a long show. Playing live is definitely an aspect we love about this band.
"We'll be touring most of 2011 with this record. We're going to take this record all over the world -- our shows are a good, safe place to completely let go. And we're definitely going to start working on the next CD."