Keep Hollywood Out Of Rock: Jared Leto’s Journey With Thirty Seconds To Mars

The music and film industries have walked together ever since it was discovered that light could be captured through modified lenses and processed into moving pictures. The music industry’s mission has been to breathe life into these moving pictures, embellishing them and adding otherworldly dimensions. So, without a doubt, it would be impossible to think of a movie without its soundtracks.

This prosperous trade-off led composers and directors to work very closely with one another, collaborating to find the next great soundtrack that would enhance both the movie and its audience. Pixies’ ‘Where Is My Mind?’ surely did an excellent job at that, as the track has been one of those first things that might come to mind whenever someone mentions ‘Fight Club.’

However, decades before ‘Fight Club’ was shot, Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones was also aware of the close relationship between music and films, and he even had alternative career plans if the band failed. Jones wanted to be a movie musician, composing original soundtracks and tunes for upcoming films. So, it might be fair to say that rock has been inseparable from the movie industry for a while.

And, it was to no one’s surprise when one of Hollywood’s then-newest and promising stars, a young Jared Leto, formed a rock band in the late 90s with his brother Shannon, making his intention clear to pursue a career as a part-time actor and part-time rocker. It surely wasn’t a bad idea, as the band, 30 Seconds To Mars, became a slow-burning major commercial success.

The act’s lyrical material was composed mainly by Jared, and it seemed that he already had the band’s essential sound structured out, as most of the  30 Second To Mars material was ready to go by the time they were set to debut. So, this bore the idea that Leto had plans to front a rock band for a long time, embracing to walk hand in hand through the close relationship of the music and film industry.

However, his Hollywood fame also made it easy for people to speculate that Leto used his fame to score prestigious record deals and promote his music. So, to get a hold of the accusations, Jared decided to take a step back and distance his publicized image away from the band’s name.

His aim was to protect the band from turning into ‘Jared Leto’s band,’ and these attempts soon made it to the news. Magazines reported how the band refused to play at any venue where Leto’s fame scored them a stage show. The Buffalo News was one of the papers that addressed this as they wrote an article in 2006, allowing people to see how hard Jared’s been trying not to overshadow the act’s music.

An excerpt from the article follows:

“Not content to be defined merely as ‘Jared Leto’s band,’ 30 Seconds to Mars has fought to be respected as a group of formidable musicians – even refusing to play at venues that use Leto’s movie-star status to promote them.”

Shortly after the article was published, Jared directed the music video for 30 Seconds To Mars’s track, ‘Kill’ but kept his involvement with the director’s seat a secret so that people wouldn’t have any ‘preconceived ideas’ or distractions to sway away from the band’s sound and only fixate on his directing skills.

Leto has tried his best to keep 30 Seconds of Mars out of Hollywood, opting not to combine his part-time career as a rocker with his more established presence as an actor. Although he surely tried his best, his reputation still influenced people’s tendency to view the band as ‘Jared’s band,’ though no one can deny that the act also gained a cult following solely with their music and not Jared’s.