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Thirty Seconds To Mars tries to break new ground


Published:   |   Updated: December 5, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Jared Leto’s life is complicated and so is the existence of Thirty Seconds to Mars. When not fronting his pop-rock band, Leto, who was once the object of Claire Dane’s affection in the ‘90s drama “My So-Called Life,” acts. He also runs a business (Surf Air) and is a philathropist.

“There’s no doubt that Jared is crazy busy and so are we,” guitarist Tomo Milicevic said while calling from his Los Angeles home. “Jared has a million interests. We hear about how maybe that we won’t be a band anymore, but we don’t pay any attention to that conversation the media has. It’s a pretty gnarly process but we really want to do this. This band is as real as it gets. Jared does the acting thing and has other ventures but we always come back to this band.”

After a four-year recording hiatus, Thirty Seconds to Mars is back with its fourth album, “Love, Lust, Faith + Dreams.” It’s the band’s most adventurous and sonically pleasing project to date.

The band headlines the 97X Next Big Thing concert with Stone Temple Pilorts, A Day To Remember, Jimmy Eat World and more Saturday at Vinoy Park.

The band’s latest batch of tunes are catchy but edgy. Vocalist-guitarist-keyboardist Leto, Milcevic and Leto’s brother Shannon Leto, who plays drums, blitz their fans with big choruses, thick guitar lines, wild keyboard runs and an unbridled intensity. “We just went all out,” Milcevic said. “We always try to do something different since the last thing we want to do is repeat ourselves but this time, we really wanted to break new ground.”

It helped that the band was reunited with its “This Is War” producer Steve Lillywhite, who has been behind the board for U2, Peter Gabriel and Morrissey.

“Working with Steve is so inspiring,” Milcevic said. “It’s not just his incredible list of credits. He has such a great musical mind. He’s been around forever but it’s like being with a 16-year-old kid in the studio. It’s a blast with him. He adds so much.”

Lillywhite worked on “This Is War,” in 2008 when the band was embroiled in a lawsuit with EMI Records. “Just the other day we released the documentary ‘Artifact,’ which was made when the lawsuit was happening,” Milcevic said. “You can see where we were. It wasn’t a good place and you can breathe all of that in with the documentary. But that was then and when we made ‘Love, Lust,’ it was with such great joy. You can feel that in the songs. We were completely happy.”

Thirty Seconds to Mars also was happy when it played Tampa in 2005 when it was touring behind ”A Beautiful Lie.” “That was when ‘The Kill’ was just breaking,” Milcevic said. “Tampa was the first place in which the audience was actually singing along with one of our songs, which was ‘The Kill.’ It was mind-blowing. I remember looking around at Jared with the expression, which was ‘Can you believe this?’ So going back to that area is a great way to wind down this tour.”

It’s a given that the band will take a break after the jaunt ends this month. But how long will the band continue crafting its unique blend of angst-ridden pop meets prog-rock?

“I think you can count on us being around for quite awhile,” Milcevic said. “When we get to take a hiatus, it’s a welcome one. It might take time but we always come back. We love being Thirty Seconds to Mars. How can we give this up?”

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