“I suppose the point of the name is to make people ask questions,” says 30 Seconds to Mars guitarist Tomo Miličević. He says it was brothers Jared and Shannon Leto who came up with the name when they started the band. Shannon is the older of the two and plays drums. Jared Leto plays guitar and is an actor, having appeared in The Thin Red Line, Fight Club, and Girl, Interrupted.
“It also describes the sound of the music really well, I think,” says Miličević. Imagine progressive power pop, slightly emo, and with less of the everything-has-been-preplanned sound of Linkin Park. “We’re really into a lot of different types of instruments, and we’re into an eclectic sound.”
It turns out that Jared Leto first came to L.A. in 1992 to follow a career in music but got work in television first with My So-Called Life, which ended in 1995. He went on to movies and helped start the band in 1998. 30 Seconds has since released three full-length CDs and two EPs. Their second disc, A Beautiful Lie, was certified platinum in 2006.
Jared Leto is also the band’s songwriter. “He will often work on ideas for a while in his head,” says Miličević, “and then bring them out on guitar or piano or something like that. When he has a strong idea of the direction it should go, then we’ll all work on it together in the studio. We build the songs during the demo process.” Miličević says that the only theme that runs through the band’s music is the “eternal pursuit of something really different every time. Jared is really not interested in repeating himself, and as soon as he catches himself doing it, he will kill the idea.”
30 SECONDS TO MARS: House of Blues, Tuesday, January 11, and Wednesday, January 12, 6:30 p.m. 619-299-2583. $27, $42.