I just finished touring with The Mars Volta in Europe and am now focusing on my website http://www.pedalsandeffects.com which is my website that is dedicated to helping musicians find their way through pedals and effects and creating sounds, and I have to get back to some unfinished records I have started.


update: Thanks for all the questions! Taking a lunch break. Back in hour.

update two: I am back for more questions!

update three: I am tired of sitting. Gonna go ride my fixed gear through Pasadena. Thank you for the questions. I would love to do this again. Hi to my Sargent House label mates and Sargent House crew. Go see Zechs on tour now! http://www.pedalsandeffects.com

Comments: 700 • Responses: 71  • Date: 

mjoconn159 karma

  • For the Day of the Baphomets solo, how much creative control did you have when recording it?

  • What are your favorite songs to play live, and what would be your ideal set-list of songs to play?

  • Who are your biggest musical influences?

JuanAlderete215 karma

It was my first take so I guess a lot. Omar only asked me to fix one part but that was it. It is 98% first take.

I love Cygnus. I could just play that and Roulette.

Hendrix...hip hop...80's new wave.

lkjasdflkjasdf98 karma

How is your health? Is everything ok?

JuanAlderete190 karma

I get monitored every 3 months for my blood counts. Been good so far. Anyone w cancer knows you never know when things are gonna turn but I thank all Gods that I have been healthy so far.

cygnus31146 karma

Juan, first I want to say thanks for doing this. You're a lot of the reason I play bass the way I do and I'm pumped to get to ask some questions.

-What is your favorite Mars Volta song to play live?

-Favorite TMV album?

-How has the writing process changed with TMV since Omar "gave up his power"? How were albums written before and how was Noctourniquet written?

-You're currently the longest running member of TMV other than Oman and Cedric, is it safe to say that you guys get along pretty well then? I remember you saying in an interview somewhere that you and Omar got along great because Omar is a bass player, do you get along well with Cedric, too? I've heard that he can be, well, not the easiest to get along with.

-What can you tell us about an upcoming Vato Negro album?

-I always describe Vato Negro to my friends as "drums, bass, and a shitload of pedals". When I listen to Bumpers I usually just picture you playing a riff, looping it, and then just sitting on the floor twisting knobs while it's being recorded over a drum track. Is that accurate? How does Vato Negro record?

-Admittedly, I haven't listened to much Big Sir. I downloaded Und Die Scheiße Ändert Sich Immer on Bandcamp for a few bucks a while back but I haven't listened to all of it yet. Which album would you recommend I listen to to get in to Big Sir?

-You love fuzz. If you could only have one distortion pedal on every pedalboard from now on, what would it be?

-How the crap did you make this sound?

-Is there a Juan Alderete Signature Series in the works for us? I would love one of these.

-Not a question, but thanks for doing pedalsandeffects.com. It's a great site and I love to kill time on it. I'm sure it takes a lot to make those videos, but they're worth it.

Again, thanks for doing this. I'm excited to read questions today. Keep doing what you're doing.

Edit: Formatting

JuanAlderete62 karma

Cygnus FTM hasnt started yet. Cedric and I get along great! He makes me laugh more than anyone else I know. He should be a comedy writer. He could write for George Lopez for sure. Cedric gets along with everyone. f&$* what you heard! Always start with the first record! Sovtek fuzz Maestro ring modulator and a Boss VB-2 I want Fender to make me a P-J that is 32", in all Dodger blue with my JA logo. That would be tight. You are welcome!

wattage_71439 karma

Whats going on with Racer X?

JuanAlderete55 karma

Paul has Mr Big, Scott is touring with Judas Priest and I am in The Mars Volta.

DCopenCity32 karma

Hello. Longtime fan. I just have three questions

  1. I've seen activity on your twitter between Kimbra, St. Vincent, and Deantoni Parks about a possible record. Any news beyond the chatter?

  2. Speaking of Kimbra, she has admitted in interviews that she is a fan of The Mars Volta. Assuming you've met during festival and touring, how is she and what do you admire about her music?

  3. Since Flea played on the first Volta record, could you enlighten me to how his style is different than the bass parts in the latter Volta records that you play on. And is it a challenge in anyway to cover his parts live or do you add your own spin to things?

JuanAlderete84 karma

I would love to record with that lineup. 3 are on board. Bomb St Vincent twitter and let's see if she will agree. I think D is recording with her and David Byrne. Maybe that will start it.

Kimbra is the coolest. She is going for it, musically. I bet a lot of industry execs want her to go more pop but she is legit. She wants to stretch stuff. She is a true artist.

Omar wrote those basslines so it was more, getting used to playing what Omar intended, as opposed to what Flea played. I learned Mother's Milk when I was younger. Flea destroyed it on that record.

MixmasterMatt26 karma

I have several questions: 1. Do you ever trip on fools? 2. I've heard TMV A-Team is #1, care to comment? 3. Do you remember that one time Snoop Dogg smoked so much in our hotel that the fire department had to come and evacuate everyone?

JuanAlderete78 karma

I trip on fools that act a fool. Just be cool.

TMV A-Team consists of Matty Bitt on the panels, BobbyBadSeed on the logistics, Deezel on the kit, Chase $ running shit, Chino Weeeno on the keys, Juaneezy on the bass, O and C. A Team can never be faded. We barely rehearse and rock it as if it were our last day on earth.

I saw Snoop Lion's instagram that morning and they were all smoking...Daz, Snoop, Kurupt, Soupafly. I said to myself, "their room looks like my room...they must be here"... a couple of hours later the fire alarm goes off, here come fire trucks and I am outside telling people it had to me the blunt smoke... and it was.

vexxecon23 karma

I'm a huge fan of yours and The Mars Volta. I'm also an aspiring bassist. I started back in middle school(around 12 years ago) on the Cello, and eventually moved to the Double Bass. I haven't played in probably 8-10 years now, and I picked it back up around 2 months ago.

  • Is there any tips you can give to an aspiring bassist to learn better techniques?
  • How do you go about writing the bass line for a song? I like other peoples music, but I feel like I could be my own musician if I played around with my own things.

Thanks for taking the time to do this, you're an awesome dude.

JuanAlderete40 karma

I would watch videos of your favorite players. See how they approach playing live. Also, there are some great instructional videos too.

I would get a Macbook and start with Garage Band and write songs in there. It will inspire you and it will sound pretty tight!

MoonSpoon21 karma

Hey Juan, first I wanted to say thanks for doing this AMA. It's definitely my favorite one thus far.

  1. Do you like where the direction of the band is going now that Omar is no longer being "Little Hitler"?
  2. Cryptomnesia is one of my favorite albums, is a second El Grupo Nuevo de Omar Rodriguez-Lopez album in the works?
  3. Is the Mars Volta doing a US tour for Noctorniquet later this year? If so, come by Florida. We love you here.
  4. Do you have a favorite song that you like to play live?
  5. You're a beast. Thanks for the eargasms.

JuanAlderete33 karma

This new era has not started yet. I am sure it will be great.

I dont think so but you never know.

I have not heard of any TMV touring for the rest of this year. Hopefully next year.


PouyaG19 karma

Hey Juan, over the past couple years what has Deantoni Parks taught you while playing alongside him? Whether it be about music, spirituality, or overall friendship?

JuanAlderete58 karma

D is one of the most dedicated musicians I have been around. For example, I asked him for some music for our Vato Negro record we were doing and he handed me a drive and said "take all the songs off this drive." I thought there would be 30-40 songs but, I kid you not, there were over 300 songs on there. Mostly complete arranged songs. He makes anyone feel like a half stepper. He is one of my closest homies. He has my back. We are in this together and we will always remain friends.

dradosevic118 karma


JuanAlderete27 karma

Yes!!! They are so damn funky! They definitely can take you to a place no other band can. It is that sense of fun and family that you get when you watch them. We, as the audience, get to join their band for a night kind of thing.

ster_STINKS18 karma

If you can answer it, what really happened with Jon Theodore? In my opinion the band just had a different vibe about it when he was drumming, something perfect that has not been there since he left.

JuanAlderete24 karma

He was frustrated and unhappy. They had to let him go because he wasnt into it as much as they wanted him to be.

Every era is great and its is different. I am not a fan of making the same record and I think the change offered great results.

atremulant18 karma

Could you tell us the story of how you met Omar and got involved with The Mars Volta. Thanks for reaching out to your fans like this!

JuanAlderete36 karma

Omar called me from Europe while they were on the first part of the Deloused tour in 03. I was at my desk job and he left a message. The next time he called, he said Manny from Distortion Felix sold him and Cedric on the idea of using me in their band.

I didnt meet him until my first audition with him and Jon. He was nice but stand off ish. Jon was cool but Henry, Omar's tech, started to play Scarified on Omar's guitar and I knew then it could be really cool.

docmosis17 karma

Just wanna say that I love your work. While other bands try to make music like you guys you are the only ones that, in my opinion at least, are able to maintain musical integrity and complexity in your music.

As far as a question I really wanted to know what it was like working with John Frusciante and for that matter how it was going on tour with the RHCP as a whole.

Once again thanks for helping real music continue to thrive

JuanAlderete23 karma

John is the one take wonder. He is so damn funky and solid. Everyone should be so lucky to record with him. A true inspiration and a true artist.

I love touring with RHCP. Flea is always so generous to me. Chad and I go way back to the 80's. He used to hang with my East LA friends back then. I jammed with him at some East LA club ... we did Fire by Hendrix at 200 bpm!

zieren216 karma

Hello, Juan! Thanks for doing this AMA. TMV fan/Big Sir fan/novice bassist here.

1) What sort of things do you usually incorporate into your standard practice routine? Is it all scales/finger exercises, or do you have preferred things you like to do?

2) What advice would you give to someone like me who isn't too great at improvisational playing yet? I feel like if I sit down with my bass for a while, I can come up with an entire song within a couple of minutes, but when I'm playing realtime with a friend I can't seem to pick which notes to play (besides the root to whatever chord the guitarist is playing).

3) What are some of your favorite basslines to play?

4) Distortion pedal recommendations? I don't want anything TOO too pricey, but something noob-friendly with a nice, "full" sound would be a good addition to my currently small (i.e. 2 pedals) range of effects.


JuanAlderete23 karma

Just playing melodies. I don't practice scales. Just bass lines or melodies.

Keep trying to jam. It will come. Or maybe find musicians who inspire you.

I love playing What's Going On and Lisa's Theme. I wrote the verse bassline of Lisa's Theme from What's Going On.

I like the Amptweaker distortion.

VodoSioskBaas14 karma

Hello! Thank you so much for doing this. You're an inspiration to a ton of musicians including myself. I've been a huge fan since I saw you in Philadelphia 2005!

  • What personally has been your favorite personnel line up for performing with TMV over the years and why?

-Are there any exercises that you have found helpful in your long term playing and would like to share?

-If you were to pic k one song from each of the projects you've been involved with which would they be and why?

-Is this collaborative effort really true in Omar's new direction? If so have you put forth any of your own material or plan to?

-Which one person would you choose to jam with, dead or alive, if you could?

Again thanks so much and best of luck to you!

PS-At Bonnaroo a couple years ago I made a necklace with the top of a pineapple attached and it ended up being thrown on stage as you all(TMV) walked out. I won't say who did it but I'm eternally sorry for letting that destructive piece of fruit cause any of you harm or discomfort.

JuanAlderete26 karma

I love Deloused tour era and the current lineup. The first two years I was in the band, it was so much a learning experience. the last couple of years have been great because of Deantoni Parks!

Too many songs to pick from.

That is something that has been spoken about to happen in the future.

Bonham. Hendrix.

All good.

Successful_Guy13 karma

Who writes the lyrics in most songs? I'm a big fan, thanks for doing this.

JuanAlderete36 karma

Cedric does. I believe Jeremy wrote some when he was alive too.

ddelara12 karma

I'm trying to build a very minimal pedal setup yet still pack a punch - what are some essential and versatile pedals that you suggest would be best for this kind of setup?

JuanAlderete27 karma

Get a good fuzz, phaser and octave pedal. Those always make it into the PA and you can combine those for a lot of great sounds.

spinwheels12 karma

Thanks for pedalsandeffects.com! It's really helpful for a lot of us out there experimenting.

Why did you switch to Lakland basses and then back to Fender? Also, what makes vintage basses better than new basses?

JuanAlderete29 karma

I loved Lakland when Dan owned it. There were a bunch of dudes working in an industrial complex and they were all dedicated to making great basses. A true punk rock company. When Dan left, I felt I should to.

Plus...I always ended up playing my Fender fretless. I think, over the years, basses woods start to age and sound better. New woods don't have that density and you cant find that wood any longer. All the new basses are from trees that have not been on this earth very long and you can hear it.

Either_Aether12 karma

First off, thank you for doing this. I am a huge fan of yours and so this is exciting.

-Can you spare any thoughts regarding the new TMV album? Bass sound/Direction etc.

-Have you noticed a change in band dynamic since Omar has decided to assume less of a dictator role for the band?

-Least favorite TMV song to play?Favorite?

  • Do you have any regrets about the past 9 years?

Thanks again, Juan.

JuanAlderete20 karma

Flat wound strings and the tone rolled off!

Hasnt started yet.

Maybe that I spent too much time worrying and not enjoying my time on stage.

Aarny12 karma

Hey Juan, can you tell us what happened with Ikey? How come he wasn't part of Noctourniquet?

JuanAlderete21 karma

He wasnt on the last two records because they were records that didnt have organ. Omar has a vision and he follows it.

Horatio_Hufnagle7 karma

will he be back again?

JuanAlderete27 karma

You never know. He is playing w Jack White at the moment.

CCollapse11 karma

Also, I know you're probably not in charge of it but is there any specific reason that of all the old songs TMV have only played The Widow and Goliath on the latest tour? Nothing against them but there are lots of other great songs in TMV's vast catalogue.

JuanAlderete15 karma

Rep that new record!

Ouroboringos11 karma

Hey Juan, thank you for doing this! I don't know if you can answer this, but I've read several times that Omar wrote all the music for many of the albums. However, there are many songs on the old TMV records and some of Omar's solo albums where the bass lines sound uniquely like you. I know Omar's a talented bassist and songwriter, but did he really write every bit of the music, including the bass lines? Or did you take what he wrote and make it yours? I ask becasue Omar's style of playing bass is very different from yours.

JuanAlderete18 karma

Let's take the last song on FTM. Jon, O and me were in Australia, recording. We were getting set up and we started to jam. Omar always records and there are over 10 minutes of that jam on that last song. It was a spontaneous jam ... there is even a part of a Big Sir bassline in there. That was then. He wrote all the structured parts on that song.

he writes most of the basslines and sometimes I will get to do my own thing or twist what he did.

It all depends on the song. Most of the time, he knows what he wants and composes it...but he lets me do my own thing to stuff too. Cygnus chorus bassline was written by me. Widow is my fretless playing.

wilkil11 karma

Hey, big fan. Was the beginning of the band weird with learning how to fit in to Omar's style of a band? Have you ever wanted to quit the band as a result of his authority? Just curious, seems like an interesting band on the inside.

JuanAlderete27 karma

Never wanted to quit. I always knew what I signed up for.

mossman8510 karma

How has the internet changed the music industry? Do you have an opinion on music piracy? Have sites like Bandcamp helped artists?

JuanAlderete28 karma

I dig bandcamp. I also dig soundcloud. I like that I can throw something up minutes after I finish it and let people hear it.

[deleted]9 karma


JuanAlderete18 karma

It is coming, for sure!

Thomas was let go by the band. He was a graffiti guy but that had nothing to do with it.

I love St Vincent

[deleted]9 karma


JuanAlderete22 karma

No...not yet.

I would like to hear more soul grooves...latin grooves...afro beat grooves...dub grooves.

kuhnor59 karma

The new website is a great idea! It's helped me learn a lot more about pedals (I've never really experimented with them until recently).

Is there one pedal you could not live without?

JuanAlderete8 karma

Boss CS-2


Hello! I just want to first say thank you so much for doing this AMA. You and the Mars Volta as a whole is a huge inspiration to me as a person and a musician. Everything you've done with Racer X and Big Sir has all been so awesome as well, and I'm excited to hear more of Big Sir. I am a huge fan of jazz music, and the way you incorporate the sounds of jazz, and Jaco Pastorius in specific, dazzle me.

Anyways, I had a slough of questions ready for this AMA, but it seems they've already all been asked! So, I just wanted to hear one of your favourite stories from on tour or even with just the TMV guys. Thanks again!

JuanAlderete36 karma

I would have to say the grammy story. In the grammys, there is a two part to it. The stars part that get's televised and then the ghetto part where we were. They give out over 100 awards in this convention looking setting. Everyone was hungry, thinking "why did we come to this shit? We are never going to win" mentality. We sit in the back of the hall and our award is slated for 96 or 98th award to be given. We are cracking on everyone around us and just thinking about where to go after the ceremony. Then ours comes up...Motley Crue, Judas Priest, blah blah. And the winner is... The Mars Volta" We then all started yelling at each other "this shit is legit! This shit means something!" We all started laughing our asses off. We never thought we would win ... and I mean, never.

ute21128 karma

Hey Juan, I love your playing.

So who/what are you listening to lately?

JuanAlderete20 karma

I love St Vincent. I also love Nippsy Hustle. The Horrors record was worn out. YG got some stuff. James Blake.

WilliamTheTaft8 karma

Do you like At the Drive In's music?

JuanAlderete19 karma

To be honest, I am not that familiar with their catalog. I know the hit song. I like that they sound like Fugazi, who I love.

moooseca9 karma

At the Drive-In and Fugazi are my two favorite bands. How on earth are you not familiar with atdi's catalog?

JuanAlderete25 karma

I am older than these dudes. I listened to Fugazi. My old band, Distortion Felix, opened up for ATDI but I only saw a couple of songs. That is my experience w their old band. Sorry...

Fuhdawin8 karma

Who is your favorite hip-hop artist/group of all time?

JuanAlderete11 karma

PE #1

Zesoft7 karma

What gave you the inspiration for Pedals and Effects? What was your first pedal? What got you into music?

JuanAlderete17 karma

I would say all the questions I get asked from fans and the fact that youTube has mostly lame videos of pedals, done by guitarists. I think pedals deserve a better representation so I started my site. It will only get better as I learn how to maintain a site.

My first pedal was a chorus by TC Electronics.

My father got me into music. He loved jazz and blasted it every weekend.

Aumgn7 karma

  • Do you strive to stay sober while performing? Back in 07' before a show I offered you a hit of my joint which you declined, but Marcel saw that and took your place gladly.

JuanAlderete22 karma

I get my drink on. Weed spooks me. I am good with champagne. Fans in Europe bring me bottles!

AlabasterWaterJug7 karma

Hey Juan! First off, thank you so much for doing this AMA. You're one of my favorite bassists and I enjoy your work immensely. Also, your P&E website has been very informative.

As a bassist, what's the best way of getting what I hear in my head onto the fretboard? I feel like I can solo all day in my head, but when I'm jamming with friends, I'm often left lost when it's my turn to solo, despite having melodies rolling around in my head.

JuanAlderete9 karma

Do ear training. Get those notes in your head down on your bass via your ears. It will come. Work hard at it.

NJlo6 karma

Hey Juan! Thanks for doing this AMA! I'm a long-time TMV fan, saw you guys at the North Sea Jazz fest a couple of years back and just last month in the Paradiso, great stuff. You guys have been very influential on me and a lot of musicians my age from my region, leading to a lot of bad experimentation with time signatures in the middle of Holland ;)

What's the recording process like with TMV? Do you get parts, do you guys improvise on a groove that Omar and Cedric think of?

What's that red Digitech pedal you use in the Rig Rundown vid, is it the 20/20?

How do you study odd meters? Do you use the Indian konnakol / 'takedimi' system?

How big is the Mahavishnu Orchestra influence in you guys?

Lastly, I'm a guitar player myself (jazz student in Amsterdam, lots of fusion and prog in my own time) and looking for using a bass amp for extra low end and effects purposes. Aren't you using the new portaflexes? How are they?

Oh and do you ever do session work for young composers like myself? ;)

Thanks again! And any tips are welcome!

JuanAlderete22 karma

Omar writes a record, gives it to Cedric and then they agree on the songs and then we all get to record on it.


I ask the drummer to explain to me how to subdivide the beat.

Some. I think the on fire approach they had in the early 70's is what inspired TMV.


I do do sessions...of course. I am easy to get a hold of.

Millsiak26 karma

Sup Juan, I was just curious if you got to play with Zach Hill while recording Cryptomnesia. If so how is playing with him? He is a superb drummer in my eyes.

JuanAlderete13 karma

He is the shit. Another true artist. Doesnt give a fuck about money when he sits behind the kit. He just wants it to be great. And of course I got to play with him. We were all in a room, jamming...Omar was behind the panels a lot but it was Zach, me and Jonathan. We would jam out Omar's parts and getting them tight. It was a blast. Zach and I would go off in between takes.

CCollapse6 karma

Hello Juan! Thank for finding time to do this AMA! First I'd like to ask you, when are you going to release the new Vato Negro album, and is it going to include all those jams you were playing live with Omar and D (for example, "Uno")? I think these tunes are fantastic and should definitely be released.

JuanAlderete13 karma

We have spoken about that. I am not sure when. Omar is a busy guy. I hope so!

I have an entire record I recorded with Deantoni before he joined The Mars Volta again in 2010. We recorded 6 songs and I put them in the vaults when Omar and D and I started to play out as Vato Negro. I am going to finish it this year.

calcuwat6 karma

Do you prefer a bassline that goes "boo boo boo" or a bassline that goes "buu buu buu"?

Player of 13 years looking for some direction, thanks!

JuanAlderete9 karma

no...dooo dooo doo...

CCollapse6 karma

Thomas Pridgen once said in an interview that he thought he was recording for a new TMV album when in reality it was for Omar's album Xenophanes. How often had it happened to you that you were recording with Omar, not aware where you part would actually be used?

JuanAlderete20 karma

You just record with Omar. Who cares where it ends up? It is all great.

mantourniquet6 karma

I have so many questions but I'll try not to be too selfish... Are you working on new Vato Negro (or did it kinda just morph into ORLG)? How about Big Sir?

Big fan Juan, I've seen you perform six times I think, always top notch! Cool videos on Pedals and Effects too

JuanAlderete4 karma

Yes, I am working on a new Vato Negro record. Not sure what will happen to the D, Omar, Juan collaboration.

Lisa and I have something up our sleeves that will shock some people.


Webbeh5 karma

What's the future looking like for Big Sir? Anything you've learned from collaborating with Lisa?

JuanAlderete13 karma

Big Sir has two shows coming up. One this month at the Bootleg Theater and one next month at the Echoplex.

Lisa and I were meant to do music together. Wish we had met in the 80's. We would have sounded like Sparks meets Joy Division.

amaddernewtonorgy5 karma

Hey Juan. Just wanted to say thanks for doing this, and that you've been my inspiration not only for learning how to play bass (I started on guitar and then singing) but also for getting more into pedals and stuff, and learning how they work. I check your website every other day, so thanks for putting in the time for that, it's been really helpful.

Anyways, what do you think the next few Mars Volta records are going to sound like since Omar relinquished some of his control to the rest of the band? Is there anything new in the works right now, in terms of TMV or anything else you're working on? And what sort of advice would you give to somebody trying to start a band (probably an overasked question, but it's worth hearing your answer :) ) Thanks again for doing this, you're awesome.

JuanAlderete5 karma

I have no idea...and I have no idea.

As far as starting a band...play with musicians you get a long with and that inspire you.

bowiedavidbowie5 karma

Juan you are an inspiration!

  1. Is there anything you can tell us about LP 7?

JuanAlderete12 karma

I hope it comes soon!

mattvolpe5 karma

Hi Juan, your twitter friend and fellow bassist Matt here. What do you do to warm up before playing finger style? Your alacrity and dexterity is amazing. It is a skill I personally am always looking to improve upon :)

JuanAlderete9 karma

Get your heart rate up. Run up stairs or do pushups.

PiNgtime5 karma

How willingly do you talk about the Bedlam In Goliath album and all the problems making that album?

JuanAlderete5 karma

I am willing.

I just know that the employees at Ocean Way remember our yelling session in the back of the studio. They had someone come tell us that we were bothering other artists recording there because of the yelling.

laissezFUNfaire5 karma

-How did the falling out with John Theodore happen? Do you still keep in touch with him?

-Which one of your Fender Jazz basses is your favorite?

-Why did you switch from those two Ampeg 8x10's?

-How did you guys record Cassandra Geminni?

-What is Paul Gilbert like in person?

-Will Big Sir ever come to Ohio?

JuanAlderete11 karma

I love Jon and I do keep in touch with him. Jon was unhappy and when someone is unhappy, someone has to pull the trigger and its Omar's band so he did just that.

My 1964 Jazz.

Weight issue.

The first and last part was recorded at a studio in LA...the jam in the middle was recorded live in Australia and probably cut up and manipulated by O.

Paul is great and generous.

Fly us there, put us up and meet our guarantee! haha...

GRPVNE4 karma


JuanAlderete17 karma

Hell no. He had some conflicts in his scheduling and then it all just naturally evolved into what it is today. Ikey is awesome. I miss dinners with him.

Crying_Indian4 karma

Juan, thanks for all the years of quality sonic craftsmanship. My questions are:

  • Have you considered a podcast to accompany your awesome new website?

  • What advice (from an artists perspective) would you give a young person attempting to start their own independent label/media company

  • What program did Big Sir use to produce Before Gardens After Gardens (my favorite album of the year so far)? What was your production process in general?

  • Does pedalsandeffects.com need any help with writing, production, management, or moderation? If so, where could one send in a resumé for consideration?

I can't stress enough how much I look up to you. Young Chicanos need more role models like you. Lots of love and respect from North East Los Angeles.

JuanAlderete3 karma

I will do podcasts in the future!

Stay true to your vision and work with people you like as human beings.

Logic. I would write music and send it to Lisa and then we decided whether to cut it in a band situation or keep it electronic.

Sure could. I need help editing my videos!

North East? I live in HP!

DGCC4 karma

In the omar roderiquez lopez group do you guys play with Click tracks/in-ear metronomes? because some of those songs are just impossible to do without losing the tempo, same goes for Mars volta

anyways, big fan hope to see you in The Netherlands soon?

JuanAlderete6 karma

No. never.

saidso174 karma

Hello! Big fan of your work.

What was one of the more memorable moments from the most recent tour?

What have been some of the biggest challenges in setting up and now maintaining your pedals and effects website?

JuanAlderete11 karma

Tel Aviv...going to places for the first time. Berlin show was awesome. The ORLG show in Barcelona was the best ORLG show I have ever been a part of.

Learning how to edit video. Anyone want to do it for me?

MilesFleece4 karma

Hi Juan. Miles here (from Bristol/London). Hope you're well. Been rocking some Vato Negro today. Any plans to tour Vato again? P.S. Will try and catch up with you in London again (assuming your doing the Omar tour in Oct)?

JuanAlderete4 karma

If there is an offer, it will happen.

And no, I will not be with ORLG this time around.

BecausePotatoes4 karma

  • Who is your favorite band to perform with?

  • What is your all time favorite piece of gear?

  • Who's your biggest influence as a bassist?

JuanAlderete6 karma


My fretless.


funkykong3 karma

Hey Mr. Alderete,

I've always been facisinated with the concept of TMV's live improvisation. I was wondering how does the structure of the band's live improv work? Is it just like in jazz where each musician takes a chorus or two?

Also, the question on everybody's minds - What the hell is the time signature in Cygnus?

JuanAlderete8 karma

When we would jam, it would just take shape by someone's lead. If the drums took the lead, everyone follows. Sometimes it would be the bass or the guitar or the vocal.

What part of Cygnus? The end part is in 5/4

RedFrogMario3 karma

Which band is the best live band you've ever seen?

JuanAlderete10 karma

Van Halen in 1979 and U2 on their first tour in the US. A lot has to do with how young I was.

Fleamanwooden3 karma

Hey Juan Ive been playing bass for 10 years now and I'm trying to get to know people in the industry. Its a career path I want to take and ive been working hard to do it for a living. Is there any advice you can give me? I was talking to Jonathan at a big sir show and he told me to just show up to show, events, birthday parties cuz you never know who your going to meet.haha Im in a band but I also want to be open to anything that I can get my foot in the door. Thanks Mario

JuanAlderete8 karma

I agree with Hischke. Never say no to a project if you think you can give it something positive. Do it for free. I did Dr Octagon for free. It gave me an experience I will never forget.

matticusfinch3 karma

Sir the music you have made with this band has changed my life in a lot of ways. I had not considered it as a career until I heard Deloused in the Comatorium. You're group will always be my hands down favorite band of all time! and thank you so much for all of your years of work. I hope one day I can jam with you and or just say hello in person. All the love in the world to you man!

JuanAlderete3 karma


Spripedpantaloonz3 karma

Hey Juan, thanks for doing this AMA.

For the Noctourniquet release, if you remember a few fans made a unofficial promo video to get the word out about the album, I was one of the guys who did some 3d graphics for that. What do/did you guys think about that sort of street level promotion for your band? Is it something you'd like to see more of in the future?

JuanAlderete4 karma

I dig it and I think it is the future. Keep it up!

GRPVNE3 karma

What was the most harrowing/discouraging part of your path to a fulfilling musical career and what drove you through it?

JuanAlderete5 karma

being broke and not knowing if I should continue. I started to play fretless for real and that got me through it. When you are stalled, take on a new approach to music. It will work out.

shinja593 karma

  • Which Mars Volta album are you most proud of, relative to your contribution to said album?
  • Relatedly, what kind of general direction would you be eager for the next Mars Volta record to go in? The more experimental, improvisational aspect of an album such as Frances the Mute, or the more controlled frenetic chaos of Bedlam or Nocturniquet?
  • How surreal of an experience was it when you first played in giant venues like Madison Square Garden to thousands of people?
  • Does your polycythemia ever affect your ability to play live/cause issues prior to concerts?

JuanAlderete6 karma


been answered...

I like smaller venues. Bigger venues and festivals are too much a shit storm.

It hasnt yet!

jgaspar53 karma

what is your favorite strand of herb? who smokes the most in the band?

JuanAlderete3 karma

not a big herb dude.

Chino and D

crob33 karma

Hey Juan, bass player here & huge Big Sir and The Mars Volta fan. Thanks for doing this! It's great to see somebody as successful as yourself take time and shoot the shit with your fans.

A few burning questions-

  1. What advice would you give to an aspiring musician who is trying to become a professional and make a living doing what you do?

  2. Which TMV record are you most proud of and why? What makes it stand out from the rest?

  3. Day of the Baphomets. What are you playing there? There's some pentatonic/blues scale action for sure but I just can't keep up with you. Is it all improvised?

Also, I saw a tweet you sent about a hypothetical record with you, Kimbra, Annie Clark & Deantoni Parks. Make it happen, for the good of mankind.

Thanks again!

JuanAlderete12 karma

It would be a dream come true. Kimbra and D are down. I just have to convince Annie. I met her recently and she was hella cool. I didnt get a chance to ask her but I know Kimbra did. I did tell Annie I play electric fretless though.

sweetsweetmelissa3 karma

Hey Juan! Thanks for doing this. I'm a huge fan and follow your site. Was wondering if there are any plans for Big Sir to tour in the future? Mainly the east coast.

JuanAlderete7 karma

I would love to. Lisa too. There just hasnt been an offer.

RFTKEM13 karma

Is your working relationship any different playing over Deantoni instead of Pridgen on record? theyre both incredible drummers but with very different styles so I was just wondering if - as a bassist - it makes that much of a difference?

Also, did you ever see yourself in a position where you would create a sustainable lifestyle through art, or were you always apprehensive about relying on music for regular income?

JuanAlderete3 karma

D is so damn fun... He has endless ideas and always outdoes his previous performance. He is the greatest.

Both. I knew I could do it but I have had my doubts and I have had other interests. Life is too short for one profession.

PunchDrunkPastorius3 karma

Any TMV NYE shows in the future?

JuanAlderete5 karma

I would love that.

marsvoltafan922 karma

Hey, Thanks for doing this AMA. I just wanted to say that the intro to Day of the Baphomets is unreal. Also, I wanted to ask you, where do you think the Mars Volta is going from here? Do you think there will be at least one more album? The last time I saw you guys live was at Penn's Landing in Phili and you guys rocked it.

p.s. Also thank you for all the great bass riffs, the Mars Volta wouldn't be the same without your great abilities on the bass guitar!

JuanAlderete3 karma

Only the future knows...

I hope so.


unholyprawn2 karma

Several questions:

If you could have any bass in the world, what would it be?

What type of strings do you use?

What is your favorite song to play (Both Mars Volta and others)?

Who do you consider to be your biggest musical influence?

JuanAlderete5 karma

a 1961/62 Fender Jazz bass.

Ernie Ball.

Cygnus, Lisa's Theme, Scarified, Bear Witness, Tango...


Symphonite2 karma

If you had to strip down your massive pedalboards down to, say, 3 effects, what would you choose?

JuanAlderete6 karma

Boss CS-2, Sovtek fuzz and a Boss VB-2

lukinhass2 karma

What are the songs you performed with Omar and Deantoni in last year's tour in Australia? Love your work btw, fucking awesome

JuanAlderete3 karma

They were a collaborative effort by all three of us and they were going to be a Vato Negro record. Not sure of their status now.