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Music / Thirty Seconds to Mars

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Tomo Miličević, Jared and Shannon Leto

"To the right, to the left
We will fight to the death
To the edge of the earth
It's a brave new world from the last to the first"
— "This Is War"

Thirty Seconds to Mars (commonly written as 30 Seconds to Mars) are an American rock band founded in 1998 in Los Angeles by brothers Jared and Shannon Leto as a family project, but later expanded to a full studio and touring unit.

Their self-titled 2002 debut album, influenced by bands such as tool, was a moderate success somewhat tempered by the band trying to gain respect on their own merits as opposed to coasting on Jared Leto's success as an actor (in fact, early on, the band wouldn't play shows that heavily promoted it based on Jared's acting career) and touring with bands that didn't exactly fit the music they played.

The band finally hit the mainstream with their second release, A Beautiful Lie, in 2005. The album not only started their habit of reinventing their sound with each new release, but it also started the trend of presenting high-effort concept videos to go with the singles, especially the incredibly successful single "The Kill".note 

In 2008, the band's label Virgin Records sued them for $30 million, claiming that they failed to deliver three albums in a certain span of time under contract. Mars decided to defend themselves, leading to the main conflict that led to their eventual third release, This is War, and Artifact, a full-length documentary and critique of the music industry as a whole.

They toured in support in support of This is War following its release in late 2009...with 309 shows in 2 years. This eventually led them to gain the Guinness World Record for "Longest Concert Tour by a Rock Band", although they weren't even doing it intentionally. That being said, their live shows have gained a reputation for being energetic. And if that wasn't enough, in 2013, they promoted the announcement of their new album, Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams, by sending the first single "Up in the Air" to the International Space Station.

Their fanbase, the Echelon, are known for their devotedness, creative endeavors, and support for charitable causes including Habitat for Humanity. They even have their own convention!

Thirty Seconds to Mars has also played a role in launching VyRT, a high-quality social streaming service that hosts PPV events, including their 300th show touring for This is War (Mars300), two preview events for Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams (The Mars Lab and The Mars Lab 2), a commemorative event for the 10th anniversary of their self-titled album (MARSX), the highly demanded Cooking with Tomo, their 2013 show at the Hollywood Bowl, and after a really long time, the release of their documentary Artifact. When Mars went on a co-headlining US tour with Linkin Park, bringing along AFI for the ride, they streamed the Hollywood Bowl date on VyRT.

Related Acts:

Thirty Seconds to Mars Members:

  • Jared Leto - lead vocals, rhythm guitar, songwriter
  • Shannon Leto - drums, percussion

Former members:

  • Solon Bixler (Great Northern) - lead guitar
  • Matt Wachter (Angels & Airwaves) - bass, synths, keyboards
  • Tomo Miličević - lead guitar, keyboards


  • Thirty Seconds to Mars (2002)
  • A Beautiful Lie (2005)
  • This Is War (2009)
  • AMERICA (2018)
  • It's The End of The World But It's a Beautiful Day (2023)



  • 2011 - MARS 300
  • 2012 - The Mars Lab, MARSX, The Mars Lab 2
  • 2013 - Cooking With Tomo, LOVE LUST FAITH + DREAMS Launch/Church of Mars LA, Artifact Premiere, the Hollywood Bowl, Cooking With Tomo 2
  • 2014 - The Shining, Carnivores Press Conference w/ Linkin Park, Carnivores at the Hollywood Bowl, Mars Summer Sessions, Into The Wild series
  • 2015 - Into the Wild series, Mars in Moscow, Church of Mars Paris, Church of Mars London

"Hey Matt, how much time do we have to add tropes?"

    open/close all folders 

    Song and Music Video tropes 
  • Audience Participation Song: Jared frequently encourages singalongs during live shows and the fans are eager to participate (ESPECIALLY for "The Kill"). This extends to This is War, where fans were able to collaborate with the band in person and online to form a choir for the songs on the album, known as "The Summit". Another (smaller and less promoted) Summit was done for Love Lust Faith + Dreams, though the original plans involved greater fan involvement, including an app.
  • Bowdlerise: Up in the Air has a lyric-swapped version with "fucked up our life" replaced with "This is my life". Interestingly enough, all instances of "I'll wrap my hands around your neck" in that version were replaced with "I'll wrap my hands around your heart", which is arguably just as bad if not worse than your garden variety neck strangulation.
  • The Cameo:
    • Both Closer to the Edge and Hurricane have a cameo by the Porcelain Twins, the latter being much less SFW.
    • Hurricane has a blink and you'll miss it cameo by Terry Richardson.
    • Up in the Air has cameos by Dita Von Teese, Jordyn Wieber, McKayla Maroney, Maxwell Snow, and Neil Strauss.
    • City Of Angels has the most recognizable names: Kanye West, Lindsay Lohan, Selena Gomez, Alan Rickman, James Franco...
  • Careful with That Axe: Jared just loves to belt it out. "THIS IS WHO I REALLY AAAAM!!!"
  • Cover Version: Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance", Rihanna's "Stay", and Kanye West's "Stronger" done in a downbeat Power Ballad style. Their cover of Björk's "Hunter," however, was much more faithful to the original.
  • Cult: "Yes, this is a cult" is a common catchphrase, taken by the band and the Echelon. Whether or not it actually is a cult is debatable.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The "Attack" video, by way of superimposed writing and scribblings. Probably the only music video in recorded history to use this to give a Shout-Out to their fanbase and equate their lead singer to Satan within the same timespan.
    • Another Shout-Out to Universal Horror flicks: at one point, Matt and Shannon have the heads of Frankenstein's Monster and the Wolfman, respectively, drawn over their own.
    • An extremely sneaky one in the beginning of the "This is War" video: the text saying "UNIDENTIFIED ANALOGIC ATTACK" changes to "UNIDENTIFIED AVALOGIC ATTACK".
  • Gratuitous French:
    • Heard in the beginning and end of 'Night of the Hunter'.
    • Also shows up during the video for 'Hurricane'.
  • Hell Hotel: The video for "The Kill" is a direct homage to The Shining, specifically, Kubrick's film version. In the video, the band members wander the corridors of an otherwise deserted hotel, encountering various ghostly inhabitants before respectively coming face-to-face with their tuxedoed dopplegangers.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: All over the place in the Hurricane video. All of the band members go up against some: Tomo knocks his out in one punch, Jared takes his out after being chased after him by the entire video and Shannon is forced to fight three at one time.
    • They show up again in slightly less malevolent form in the Up in the Air video.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: Santa Claus Through The Backdoor is a punk song, fan favorite unreleased songs "Revenge", "Save Me", and "Guillotine (Old Blues Song)" are, well, acoustic blues songs.
  • Precision F-Strike: Up in the Air
    "Up in the air, fucked up our life"
    • Also "Stranger in a Strange Land" and unreleased song "Occam's Razor"
  • Protest Song: "This is War".
  • Shout-Out:
    • The video for "The Kill" is one big long love letter to Kubrick's The Shining.
    • Not the only Kubrick reference, 2001: A Space Odyssey is referenced with the huge pit the kids are digging in the "Capricorn (A Brand New Name) video.
    • References to Memento and Eyes Wide Shut (Another Kubrick film) can be found in the Hurricane video. The song itself mentions poison rain...
    • The "From Yesterday" video has nods to The Last Emperor and The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins hidden in the beginning.
    • As mentioned before, the AVA shoutout in the "This is War" video.
    • Two song examples from LOVE LUST FAITH + DREAMS: "Bright Lights" was originally titled "Bright Lights, Big City" and "Do or Die" references the title of "Under the Banner of Heaven" (although the context of the song is completely unrelated to the book itself)
  • Talky Book Ends: This trope (along with Mid Vid Skits, fandom specific easter eggs, and the occasional credits sequence) is the reason why most 30 Seconds to Mars videos are longer than the songs themselves. The worst offender is "Hurricane"; the song is 6 minutes long, the full video is 13 minutes long. The video was originally intended to be 20 minutes long. And who knows how long the tie-in videos they intended to release afterwords were going to be.
    • Although, the Hurricane video also includes the track "Escape" and parts of "Night of the Hunter," so it's not all talky.
    • The next best offender, “From Yesterday”; the song is around 4 minutes long, the version of the video aired on TV is 4 minutes and 30 seconds. The full length video (not counting the credits) is 11 minutes.
    • Subverted with "Attack"; both the video and the song end at 3:09. Doesn’t affect the creepy factor any.
  • War Is Glorious: "This Is War". It is a very upbeat song giving it an enthusiastic feeling though the lyrics aren't perfectly clear one way or the other.
    I do believe in the light
    Raise your hands into the sky
    The fight is done, the war is won
    Lift your hands toward the sun

    Band Tropes 
  • Arc Number: 6277 (numerically "MARS"), which shows up all over their music videos and promotional materials.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Mars settled their lawsuit with their record label, released their third and fourth albums, finished their documentary about music industry struggles including their own. It was assumed by the fans that all was okay on that front...until during one of the Mars Lab events where they revealed they were still millions of dollars in debt from the legal struggles.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: Avoided for their first two releases. They credited Napster with helping to promote the self titled album and responded to A Beautiful Lie being leaked early by adding a Björk cover to the final retail version. Played straight with the VyRT service. Interfandom flame wars have ensued between Echelon who want to stream the shows for people who can't afford a ticket/live in a country where VyRT isn't accessible/live in a country where international credit card dealings aren't easy and Echelon who want Mars' wishes for the experience to be "kept special" by not being redistributed. It was especially jarring during the first Mars Lab event when, right before the lighthearted "Vegan Pancakes or Death" segment, Jared directly addressed those who were recording or streaming at that very moment.
  • Guyliner: The whole band did it to varying extents back in the A Beautiful Lie era. Although Jared was recognized the most for it, Shannon was actually the one to use it most frequently.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Jared with Zane Lowe from BBC Radio 1, referred to as "manlove". See also: Jared with KROQ DJ Stryker and Chino Moreno from Deftones.
  • Insistent Terminology: Jared's 2010 Mohawk wasn't pink, it was pomegranate.
  • Large Ham: Less obvious from their songs and music videos, but from their interviews, one can see the entire band are hams.
  • Lethal Chef:
    • Jared's attempts to make vegan pancakes during the first Mars Lab VyRT nearly got himself put on fire. And that was with an actual chef right next to him!
    • His attempts to follow along with the Echelon at home during the Cooking With Tomo event looked edible at least.
  • Nightmare Fuel: "The Kill" is this. It doubles as a Tear Jerker too.
    • Along with “From Yesterday”, “Hurricane”, and “Attack”.
  • Older Than They Look: Jared and Shannon are in their forties respectively, and both look more like they're in their twenties.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Using O Fortuna to open up the live shows, most likely to evoke the same reaction it gets when it's played right before a sporting event. Used most commonly in the A Beautiful Lie era and infrequently used since then when they want to create some cheap heat amongst older fans and pump up the rest of the crowd.
  • The Phoenix: Mithra, featured as one of the band's earliest logos and still used today.
  • Pretentious Latin Motto: Provehito In Altum, which loosely translates to "launch forth into the deep"/"launch forth into higher grounds"/"something about rising to something, probably uncharted and mysterious".
    • The band's environmental campaign associated with the A Beautiful Lie video has Subsisto Procul Nusquam, which translates to "Stop At Nothing".
  • Product Placement: VyRT's product placement for band-related merchandise has become increasingly blatant as the service has grown. At first, band members would simply wear some merch here and there and bring up the more recent merch additions. Now, well, there's this screenshot from the first Premium VyRTviolet streamnote  The toy bear and the sunglasses are from the official Mars merch store, the shirt and the glasses are from the official Jared Leto merch store. That's not even mentioning the merch that isn't visible in the screenshot: a vegan leather cuff from the Jared Leto merch store and the CREEPSnote  branded wristwatch.
  • Real Soon Now:
    • Mars is notorious with this to the point where the word "soon" has becoming a groan-inducing Running Joke among the fans. Apply "soon" to the release of the music video for This is War; their documentary, Artifact, the live tour film for This is War that eventually became the Into the Wild series on VyRT...
    • 2013 is a notable subversion, as not only did the Up in the Air video have a decent turnaround time from production to release, the Do or Die video came out months later followed by City of Angels, making 2013 the first year to have three consecutive Mars video releases.
  • Spell My Name With An S: 30 Seconds to Mars or Thirty Seconds to Mars? note  The first album cycle also had the band name stylized as THIRTYSECONDSTOMARS, no spaces.
  • Supreme Chef: Tomo is seen as one in Echelon circles, to where he got his own cooking show on VyRT through popular demand. Contrast Jared aka Chef Boyarleto, the cook from the ghetto.

"We're actually 6 minutes 27.7 seconds late."

"...thanks for clearing that up."