Coheed and Cambria - Back in action again!
In 2005 you released Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV; Volume 1: Fear Through The Eyes Of Madness. A great disc! Very progressive compared to your earlier records. I reviewed it and gave it an 8,3. At the moment you’re about to release Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV; Volume 2: No World For Tomorrow. I will review this one as well. What score do you think I am going to give it?
‘I’m very proud I’m very excited about it. So of course I will give it a 10. And like any Coheed record, there’s always a progression. That’s why it will always be different compared to earlier records.’
You once said about Good Apollo: Volume one that it was more Rock 'n Roll compared to your earlier records. What is Volume two all about?
‘It’s quite a combination between all kinds of stuff. With Volume one we were very conscious about showing our influences. And with Volume two a lot of what we’d experienced and how we felt influenced our writing. So in that context it is going to be a little different. I also started writing on the piano instead of the guitar.’
I asked these questions to Travis and Michael two years ago.. But obviously they said it was your (Claudio’s) thing and so they couldn’t answer them. So now that I have the chance...
With Volume one you stepped outside the story, see it through the writer’s perspective and how the writer’s reality affects the outcome of the story. Well, you’re the writer. Does this mean that, even if it is a fictitious (science fiction) story, the songs, and perhaps the lyrics contain or tell personal things?
‘Ow yeah. Very true. That’s kind of the point of Volume one. It are pieces of science fiction but very based on real events.’
There is even this character named ‘Claudio’.
‘Well, yeah. A lot of characters are based on individual persons. So there’s a sort of autobiography behind the picture. ‘
I once read that you see the Coheed and Cambria story as your own bible. Travis, what does the story mean to you?
‘It’s really the band. And like Claudio said, a lot of things are personal. So I cannot tell something about what he has been through. But everything goes along with it. We were friends since we were 12. I know him very well. So there are certain things that we experienced that I see back in the story.’
‘Certainly a lot of the themes on the new records are about what Travis and I experienced in the past year and a half. Like half the band was leaving. So we know what these songs are all about.’
Last year Coheed dealt with some serious line-up changes. Bassist Michael Todd en drummer Josh Eppard left the band. Can you tell us what and why this all happened?
‘Well, we can’t really speak for Josh as he is not here. But I can say it wasn’t personal differences. That is certainly not the case. Mike went through a very dark time in his life. I’m trying to avoid the word depression but that was what it seemed like. He was going down that dark path. In the end it got to a point that he sort of drifted away and he was no longer part of the outfit. It’s really more a story for him to tell. I mean, you can hear it from my side but I didn’t had to go through everything he had to. And I didn’t go to all the trials that he went to to recover. But he’s well now. And back in the outfit. We’re all very proud of him and very excited to have him back. When he was gone, we had the feeling something was missing but now he’s back to complete it again.’
Before that, you played with Matt Williams [of pre-Coheed band Jumblehead] and Chris Pennie from Dillinger Escape Plan. How did it feel to play with two new guys in Coheed? I mean, I can understand that would be a lot different than what you were used to.
‘Overall, both did a very great job. I think it was just fair to Mike that when he had cleaned up his head to give him a second shot. I believe in that second shot.’
Great! I mean, in the end you all share this history together.
‘So true man!’
So Dillinger Escape Plan is something totally different compared to Coheed! How did it happen that (of all drummers) Chris Pennie joined the band?
‘We actually did some shows with Dillinger. Probably about a year ago, he had his own things going on with the band. But once he knew we were looking for someone to play with us he expressed his interests. Once we got together there was this click right away.’
So he is doing this next to Dillinger?
‘Chris demo-taped the record (Volume two). And once we were ready to fly out to record the record in LA. we got a call that Chris wasn’t allowed to perform on the record as an artist. Due to his contract (something with priority agreements). And I think that created some turbulence with his previous relationship. At that time Chris was diplomatic and wanted to do both. But just couldn’t do that. But again, this is a better story for him to tell.’
Sorry if I got you wrong. But does this mean he is finished with Dillinger?
‘Dillinger is still a band, but’..yeah, he’s no longer in it.’
How did these line-up changes affect the band?
‘Conceptually Volume two is the end of the Coheed saga. But we titled it No World For Tomorrow because we sort of felt like there was no world for tomorrow. Everything was kind of crashing down. And for us, Travis and I, not as members of Coheed but as human beings, we were leaving our old lives and were walking into new ones. For a moment there, we felt this was it. There was no going forward. The party was over. But with these new guys everything was again just very positive. The writing process was so much different. Very efficient. Everybody was enthusiastic and till this day still are very enthusiastic.’
Ah yeah, like a new vibe.
‘Exactly. Writing this record gave us almost flashbacks of recording Second Stage Turbine Blade (Coheed’s first record). We’re all very excited again. Everybody is working for one goal. Everybody was really there instead of some guys with their heads up their ass.’
Was Chris Penny involved in the writing process?
‘Yeah, I have never done this in the past. Usually we would’ve started with a skeleton of the song and would’ve built it out from there. Everybody would have a kind of idea of what the song was about and then we would arrange it in the studio. This time I recorded some stuff on pro-tools and send the files over to Chris. He put drums on it and then send it back. Then Travis would come over. He lives like 20 minutes away from me. He would have his guitar going and same for the bass. At the end of the day we had a very good idea of what we wanted to do before entering the studio.’
Was it because you had more time to write because of what happened at that time? In the past you’ve written a lot of your songs while you were touring, or on the bus, or in hotels or whatever.
‘It was all over the place now. Some of the song writing started on tour last year. Some of the writing stopped because of what happened, when everything fell apart. And we had our lives to focus on. For some songs on the album I even collaborated with some songwriters. This was a total new experience. For a second we had to figure out that we had something to do for bread, you know."
In earlier interviews you couldn’t say about what would happen to Coheed when the saga was finished. Because of the ending of the saga was still so far in the future. But after the release of Volume two, the closure is only one album away. What are the plans after that?
‘I don’t know. Like I said, it feels like a beginning again. I’m very enthusiastic about moving forward. And we are all very creative individuals. We can figure something out. There are a lot of options.’
You’re still in the Prize Fighter Inferno and the Fire Deuce?
(Claudio) ‘Prize Fighter is a good example of what we could do. It’s a story that is connected to the Armory Wars by one character.’
Well, to be honest. I’m not totally into the story.
‘Ow that is totally fine man! That’s just one of the misconceptions of this band. That the listener needs to get into the concept. The story is just an avenue of what we do. Should the listener decide to get more from the band, then that avenue is there to walk.’
(Some guy from the back saying: ‘It's usually common reading material in gay bathhouses.’)
(Claudio) ‘Don’t listen to that ass. Haha.’
So we ended with a laugh. Again their show was awesome. You can definitely see the progression in this band. And ooooowww’.explorer power! I bought myself one because of this, haha!! Thanks Claudio, Travis and Lobke for making it possible once again.
Coheed And Cambria - Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through The Eyes of Madness (Review)