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Coheed and Cambria: Conquering Concepts

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By Rod Whitfield

You can trace this American prog-rock band’s history all the way back to the mid ‘90s, and the one single static member of the group is frontman, guitarist and main songwriter Claudio Sanchez. Speaking from his home in New York, Sanchez looks back on the band’s epic career and recognises that it has been a truly wild ride, with many of the crazy ups and downs that most long-running bands go through, plus a few things that other bands don’t go through. Underpinning all that however, is a sense of pride regarding what he and his band have achieved in the last two decades, and especially since 2002 with the release of their debut album.

“We certainly reflect on things sometimes,” he admits. “We certainly reminisce about times when things were a struggle, people leaving and so on. It’s such an interesting history. Put it in a book, you know!

“Some people look at us and go ‘Oh Coheed and Cambria, they’re the band with all the concept records. What could possibly have happened to the band that also created the comic books!’” He laughs, “it’s quite an interesting rock ‘n’ roll history. I just feel that the band has endured so much, and has figured out a way to persevere and conquer. It’s an honour, I’m very proud of it.”

It’s definitely no secret that there was significantly more money in music and the industry prior to Coheed and Cambria’s formation, and Sanchez admits there are moments that he wishes that his band were operating during that era, rather than this one where bands have to scrap and scrape for every cent. But ultimately he feels that the times we do live in, shaped the band’s career in the manner in which it was supposed to.

“At one point in my life, I had felt that way,” he reveals, “but then I think about it and I think that maybe this career wouldn’t have been this, had we not had the times on our side. I like to think that if we were in the ‘70s and ‘80s and we had this sort of career, sure it would be fun, and there’d be a lot of disposable money and we’d be like ‘woohoo! Party forever!’

“But, I don’t know if we would have made it, or if we’d have had a career at all. I think Coheed’s legs are balanced on this era of music.”

He also feels that the band has plenty of creative and motivational juice left in the tank. “If Coheed hasn’t fallen apart with all the shit we’ve endured in the past decade, sometimes I like to think that we’re the cockroach of rock ‘n’ roll!” He laughs.

“But I’ve definitely plotted out more concepts that can have records to partner with them, The Amory Wars is still alive and well in my mind. So I’m down for doing Coheed for as long as I can.”

The band are making a return visit to Australia in May, and Sanchez feels that Aussie prog rock punters are in for a real treat, as the band are firing on all cylinders at the moment.

“We’re really excited to be returning, it’s been a while,” he enthuses, “there’s just something about the energy and the camaraderie in what we’re doing at this stage in our lives right now. It’s like nothing like it’s ever been, just a lot of positivity and I’m excited to share that with everyone there in Australia.”

Since the band don’t come to Australia every year, or even every other year, Sanchez promises a broad and crowd pleasing set-list that should touch upon most of the band’s eight album career. “We don’t come all that often. What we’re doing in the States at the moment is very (latest album) Colour Before the Sun heavy, but at the same time, we tour the States pretty frequently, so we have the flexibility to do something like that.

“Whereas, coming to Australia, we’ll probably keep in mind that we’re not there that often, so we’ll do a nice collection of stuff. The obvious mainstays, with a little colour peppered in there for sure, but for the most part something that everyone can be excited about.”

Coheed and Cambria Tour Dates:
5 May – The Metro, Sydney
6 May – Max Watts, Melbourne (Sold Out)
7 May – Max Watts, Melbourne
10 May – Max Watts, Brisbane
11 May – The Gov, Adelaide
13 May – Capitol, Perth

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