The Mars Volta almost decided to put the kibosh on the forthcoming "The Bedlam in Goliath," due Jan. 29 via Universal, because of a curse. Yes, a curse.

The Mars Volta almost decided to put the kibosh on the forthcoming "The Bedlam in Goliath," due Jan. 29 via Universal, because of a curse. Yes, a curse.

Starting at the tail end of the tour in support of the album "Amputechture," the Mars Volta members claim they became haunted by the spirit awakened from a Ouija board guitarist Omar Rodriguez Lopez bought in Jerusalem. The studio got flooded twice, equipment was ruined, tracks disappeared and a longtime engineer left the project because of -- and amidst -- the mania.

According to the band, the board -- or the Soothsayer, as they began calling it -- revealed stories, made demands and would abuse them the more they used it.

"It all started as fun, very lightheartedly. But things started happening to us. After a while, we couldn't just write all this stuff off," Lopez tells Billboard.com. The band started writing down the words the board "spoke" to them. Later, they found symbols and words of religious origin printed on the board. "This album is the tale we were told, our interpretation of it, and what all was happening to us," Lopez says. "It's all interwoven."

Lopez already had much of the music written for the record when vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala started incorporating the strange experiences into the lyrics.

Then, Lopez practically became a shut-in trying to finish the album with producer Rich Costey as quickly as possible, despite the devastation his studio and equipment endured after "the curse struck again." Costey would literally see tracks disappear from the job onscreen, gone without a trace. Lopez eventually buried the board at an undisclosed location in hopes of escaping its powers.

"What was a three-week job turned into three months," he says. "I almost quit." In essence, "The Bedlam in Goliath" was finished in hopes that it would lift the curse. "I mean this. Everything that happened is absolutely true," he says. "But, knock on wood, things have calmer since it was finished."

Hopefully the Mars Volta will have better fortunes on the road, as they begin supporting the effort on Jan. 9 in Burlington, Vt. Tickets for most dates on tour go on sale Saturday (Dec. 15).

Here are the Mars Volta's tour dates:

Jan. 9: Burlington, Vt. (Higher Ground)
Jan. 11: New Haven, Conn. (Toad's Place)
Jan. 12: Providence, R.I. (Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel)
Jan. 14: New York (Terminal 5)
Jan. 17: Philadelphia (The Fillmore at the TLA)
Jan. 18: Baltimore (Rams Head Live)
Jan. 19: Columbus, Ohio (Newport Music Hall)
Jan. 21: Toronto (Phoenix Concert Hall)
Jan. 23: Detroit (St. Andrews Hall)
Jan. 25: Kansas City, Mo. (Beaumont Club)
Jan. 27: Boulder, Colo. (Fox Theatre)

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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