At the Drive-In to perform in El Paso after album release

Adrian Broaddus , Web Editor

Before the days of pop sensation Khalid stealing the hearts of the local music audience, there was At the Drive-In, a ‘90s punk-rock band comprised of El Paso-bred Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (guitar), Cedric Bixler (vocals), Jim Ward (guitar), Paul Hinojos (bass) and Tony Hajjar (drums).

Now, almost 20 years since their formation, At The Drive-In will return to El Paso at the County Coliseum on Saturday, May 6, in anticipation of their upcoming album “in•ter a•li•a.” It’s the band’s first album in 17 years, preceding their 2000s project, “Relationship of Command.”

The band’s alternative rock twist is unique because it mixes upbeat sounds with heartfelt lyrics. That same style has stayed with the band to this date as heard on their newest singles, “Incurably Innocent” and “Hostage Stamps.”

Their first single leading up to their new album, “Incurably Innocent,” immediately thrashes hard with exceptional vocals by Bixler. He said in a press release that the song was about “sexual abuse and being able to finally speak out.” 

The same upbeat energy translated over to their second single, “Hostage Stamps.” What starts as a slow track quickly develops into another true rock anthem for the band. This song does not entirely focus on vocals, but it shows the instrumental talents of the band as the track is drum and guitar heavy.

Traveling back in time to the ‘90s, the band moved beyond local popularity with their debut record, “Hell Paso.” They signed with Flipside Records and released their first full-length project, “Acrobatic Tenement,” which received massive critical response. Then, they had back-to-back-to-back hit projects with “El Gran Orgo” in 1997, “In/Casino/Out” in 1998, and “Relationship of Command” in 2000.

The band made the decision to take a break in 2001, when Bixler and Rodriguez-Lopez decided to branch off and form The Mars Volta, and Ward, Hajjar and Hinojos formed Sparta. Both bands flourished in their parallel careers as they each toured the world, released various projects and grew their audience.

Over a decade after the band’s split, Mars Volta announced they would disband in 2013. Then in 2016, At the Drive-In began their reformation and decided to record new music. However, the band would have to do it without Ward as he decided not to continue with the band in March of last year.

Although they are one man short, the band has already hyped about their upcoming album. Their album’s name “in•ter a•li•a” is Latin for “among other things,” which could hint at the band diverging into new sounds and experimenting a bit. 

To further add significance to the album’s release, the band plans to drop “in•ter a•li•a” on May 5, the day before their show at the coliseum. This will make their live show on Saturday that much more special for the homegrown band.

Tickets are still available online on ticketmaster.com and all local Ticketmaster locations. Doors for the concert are slated to open at 7 p.m.