Coheed and Cambria

Ladders of Supremacy (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)

    Claudio Sanchez - Vocals, Guitar
    Travis Stever - Guitar
    Zach Cooper - Bass
    Josh Eppard - Drums



    As celebrity gossip shows and reality programming continue to be the dominant choice of entertainment for millions, many musicians have opted not to challenge the masses and instead write short, simple and predictable songs that sound good on the radio…

    …then there’s Coheed and Cambria.

    For three years now, the New York group has been releasing dynamic, multi-faceted albums that are as infectious as they are innovative. Their songs are packed with undeniable hooks and contemporary textures, but their sonic vistas are reminiscent of great progressive and atmospheric bands from the ‘60s and ‘70s. Best of all, like the musicians themselves, the mix is neither pretentious nor alienating.

    “Rock n’ roll today is not the rock n’ roll I wish it was,” explains front man and songwriter Claudio Sanchez. “I’m a big fan of the music my father grew up with, and I’m very jealous of that time because back then music wasn’t a marketing tool and you had to be a good band in order to sell records. It wasn’t about the quick fix. It was about really being able to play and write great songs.”

    Coheed and Cambria’s new album, Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV – Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness, is a showcase of the band members’ artistry and musicianship that’s a refreshing alternative to most mainstream rock. Like the band’s 2003 gold album, In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3, Good Apollo is euphoric, conceptual and challenging, but it’s even more steeped in the classic rock of the band members’ youth.

    “Playing that kind of stuff is very exciting for us,” drummer Josh Eppard says. “We’re really going back to our roots and giving a nod to people who inspired us to make music in the first place, whether it be Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, the Police or something else entirely.”

    On Good Apollo, Coheed and Cambria never shy away from their ambitions. The album starts with the cinematic piano and strings intro “Keeping the Blade,” then evolves into the gorgeous acoustic “Always & Never,” which features swirling keyboards, Claudio’s laughing niece, and harmonized vocals. Then, it’s time to rock. The first single, the six-plus minute long “Welcome Home,” is epic and symphonic, resounding with start-stop strings, squalling electric guitars and dramatic vocals. This ebb and flow of the opening three songs is evident throughout the album and contributes to its thematic feel. “Everything was very carefully worked out,” bassist Mic (pronounced “Mike”) Todd says. “This is definitely the record we wanted to make. We’re super-proud of these songs and I think they represent everything we’re able to do as a band.”

    Sanchez wrote the song frameworks for Good Apollo on the bus, backstage and in hotels while the band was on tour. “I try to be as productive as possible,” he says. “I’m a workaholic, but like my dad says, ‘if you love what you’re doing, it’s not work.’”

    After he wrote the basic ideas for songs on a acoustic guitar, Sanchez recorded them onto a CD and gave them to his bandmates. Then, everyone spent a month and a half in a rehearsal space evolving and fine-tuning the songs. “That really helped us nail things down,” Eppard says. “When we did In Keeping Secrets, we walked into a studio, learned the songs and recorded them that day. This time, we had a lot of time to take the material and make it even better.”

    The band entered into the same Woodstock, NY studios in February 2005 where they worked on both of the group’s previous records, with the same guys – Michael Birnbaum and Chris Bittner at the controls. But this time, Coheed and Cambria took a different approach during the four months they were living at the studio recording the album.

    “Instead of working on drums and bass for every song, then doing rhythm guitar, then leads, then vocals, we did it a little mismatched- like a puzzle,” Sanchez says. “I didn’t want to have to do all of the singing over and over all and once and get tired of it. So, I said, ‘Let’s do a song and work on to a point, then I’ll take it next door to the house and work on it vocally.’ I had a good time doing that because I could be really creative without anyone sitting there waiting for me to finish.”

    Sanchez also took a fresh approach to the lyric writing for Good Apollo. The record continues in what what will end up being a 5 album saga based around a doomed married couple who are convinced they must sacrifice their children in order to save the world from being infected by a virus that is embedded in their genes. Only, this time, in addition to progressing the story line, Sanchez writes lyrics from the vantage point of the narrator. “On this one, the listener chance to step outside of the story and see it from the writer’s perspective and how events in his life will affect the outcome of the story and we get to watch the world of the writer and characters collide.”

    The story of Coheed and Cambria will come to a conclusion on the band’s next record, and for those who want a more comprehensive account of the intergalactic odyssey, Sanchez is chronicling the complex tale in a series of comic books he has created with artist Wes Abbott, as well as a 120 page graphic novel with artist Christopher Shy that will tell the full story of Good Apollo… due out on the same day as the album. But fans who want to enjoy the band’s music without delving into the science fiction adventures can easily do so since Sanchez’ lyrics can be interpreted in different ways, and the music crosses so many boundaries.

    “For the longest time, I didn’t even know there was a conceptual thing to the lyrics,” admits Eppard. “I was always just a big fan of the imagery he used and the way he wrote. I always thought he had a way of putting things that I could really relate to. Then when I found out everything could be part of this wild story, I thought it was really cool.”

    Since the band’s impressive debut album for Equal Vision Records, The Second Stage Turbine Blade in 2002, the band has been touring nonstop. They traveled from dingy clubs to big festivals in the US, Europe and Japan for 18 months in support of the first album.

    After a brief break, Coheed and Cambria reconvened and started working on songs for In Keeping Secrets of the Silent Earth: 3. If the first album showcased a fresh new talent with revolutionary ideas, the follow-up turned those ideas into fully-formed, finely wrought songs. The single “A Favor House Atlantic” introduced new fans to the ever-improving outfit, but it was the hauntingly memorable “Blood Red Summer” that made Coheed and Cambria one of the most buzzed about cutting edge rock bands on the circuit.

    Because of the success of In Keeping… and the new relationship with Columbia Records, it gave the band members a little extra time to tweak the new songs and come up with even more original ideas for presenting the new material both on record and onstage. Also, working with mixer David Bottrill (Tool, Peter Gabriel, King Crimson), the band finally feel like they achieved the big sonic sound mix they’ve been looking for.

    “The thing that’s so rewarding about this is that every day I’m able to try new things and I’m constantly learning,” Sanchez says. “It’s very exciting to feel like you’re on the edge of something really powerful and have a lot of fans who feel the same way. And whenever I dive into writing or performing, I feel like the luckiest person in the world.”