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Cobalt and Calcium Interview w/ Claudio Sanchez

Here is an interview that we conducted with Claudio Sanchez on August 12th, 2006. These questions were taken directly from fans at the following thread. This interview can also be commented on.

Brian: Do you have any pre-show rituals?

Claudio Sanchez: You know, not really. A pre-show ritual would be a lot of warming up, a lot of stretching. Not so much of the body, but a lot of vocal stretching.

Brian: To what extent is the conceptual side of Coheed and Cambria influenced by the stories that you have grown up with, and do you think that what you have made on paper and print will leave a legacy of its own?

Claudio: A lot of the concept is based on factual things. You know, a lot of the things that I have experienced, I then have put into the story. You know, Coheed and Cambria are actually based after the look of my mother and father. I am the character in the story. Matthew and Maria are my siblings are also in the story. Al The Killer actually happened to be an uncle of mine that was uhh.. well, uh... I won't get into too much of that, haha. But all of these characters have some significance to my life and the trials that they go through as well, but again, it's taken place inside a piece of fiction, in an alternate reality, so therefore making it fiction. I think the story behind the story is just as interesting as the concept and I think at some point when deciphering that code becomes or gets old, then it will be about... what's behind it.

Brian: What inspires you to put so much into every album? A lot of bands these days will put out an album, and the fans will only find two or three songs that are decent. With Coheed and Cambria, every song is usually a hit. The other bands just don't have the elements that every album.

Claudio: Well, my thing is, I am more of an album guy. I never really grew up listening for singles. It was always the deep cuts of a record, what made this a great piece of work. And it's not just the singles, not what made that record sell millions. It's really the work as a whole. You know, that's why I think that these records are like that. We're not here to make hit singles, although we do have songs that can be single-worthy, but that's not our intention. Our intention is to make a great album, and not just focus on whats going to sell records. It's what will make us happy, and what our vision will be the best overall work. That's pretty much it, and as for why we do that... well... that's why! Haha.

Brian: After three albums, and you're going to make another one soon, would you say that you are a master at the guitar, or are you learning new stuff everyday?

Claudio: I'm learning new stuff everyday. I don't think I'll ever be a master. I've seen guys that are way ahead of me.

Brian: Like who?

Claudio: A lot of people, anyone, just watch t.v. or watch a good guitar player. Look at Van Halen, he's an amazing guitar player and I'm nowhere near that, and I don't think I will ever be... honestly. I guess I do for my instrument and for what I do, and they are for their instrument, and what they do. I guess it's just like two different worlds, but there are just a lot of great players, and it's just hard to name every one.

I love to experiment, like this next record, I've been writing a bunch of material on not so much piano, because I don't really play piano, but I wanted to see what it'd be like to try to write a song on a different instrument. Not an entire piece, but parts. Like focus on that, and see what melody comes out of that using this instrument. I've just kinda been just going all over the place on this next one in hopes of making something really cool, unique, and different.

Brian: Have you ever just sat down and learned the bass or drums?

Claudio: Oh, yeah! Without a doubt! I mean, bass is very similar to guitar, but there are definitely techniques. You can't just say, "You know, because I play guitar, I can play bass." It doesn't really work that way. Drums, yes, definitely. Our last tour with Avenged, we had a jam room and we had the drums set up and a bunch of amplifiers and when Josh wasn't playing, I would be in there hitting those drums. That was my first love... to be a drummer, it just didn't pan out that way.

Brian: Who are your favorite bands that you had a pleasure touring with? Not in a genre or a musical sense, but on a friendship level.

Claudio: I think on a friendship level, definitely Thursday and Thrice. We've developed a great relationship with those bands and we've always had fun playing with them. You know, any others... it's hard to say. There have been so many. I'd have to go with those two.

Brian: Elf Tower, New Mexico was the B-Side for the Second Stage, were there any B-Sides for In Keeping, or Good Apollo?

Claudio: Ah, yes! There was a B-Side for In Keeping. Before we created "The Light and the Glass," there was a song called, "The Glass." We were actually going to put it out for the Spiderman 2: Soundtrack. Somebody had asked if we could submit a song for the soundtrack and at the time I never had a chance to complete the lyrics. We just didn't have time to finish the song on that record. I saw the trailer for Spiderman 2, and it happened to be the scene where the car was going through the glass, Tobey Maguire grabs Mary Jane, and they go kinda spinning?

Brian: Uh huh.

Claudio: So I took that trailer, and I wrote lyrics to the trailer, but nothing came about it.

Brian: After writing songs and completing them in the studio, do you feel the need to alter them in some way or fix something up that you weren't happy with?

Claudio: Like now? Listening to them these days?

Brian: Yea.

Claudio: There's always that. Things you wish you could have done, whether it be because time didn't allow it, or you just didn't think of it at that moment, and now in the after, you can hear it. In my mind, I am very satisfied with all of the records we have put out. There will always be those moments when you're listening to the record and you're like, "God damn, I wish I would have done that, or a different vocal approach there," there will always be that. Nothing is ever perfect.

Brian: A lot of people are asking this: The white explorer -- We haven't seen it, did it retire? What's the deal?

Claudio: Haha. I gave it to Hard Rock Cafe!

Brian: Which one? We'll go there!

Claudio: Haha, I'm just kidding. It's actually not retired, I've just got so many Explorers over the years that I've been playing others. Right now I'm playing this white and black one, just kinda breaking that one in. I guess the white one retired for a little bit, but she'll come back out soon.

Brian: The "Evening With Coheed and Cambria" shows last summer were a huge hit. Can we expect more shows that have that special element to them?

Claudio: I think so. One of the ideas that we are kinda are toying with Blaze James, our manager, is that next year will be the fifth year anniversary of the Second Stage Turbine Blade, and what I've kinda toyed around with him, and I don't know if this is going to happen, so don't super quote me on this one, it's to do an evening where we come out like the previous ones where we play a 30-40 minute acoustic set, and then we do a front to back of the Second Stage Turbine Blade.

Brian: Awesome!

Brian: Since "Wake Up" is on Snakes on a Plane, the soundtrack, what would you do if you were approached to write a song specifically for a movie on a soundtrack, but it had nothing to do with the story of Coheed and Cambria? I know you said, "The Glass", would have been nice with Spiderman 2, but what if it had NOTHING to do with the story?

Claudio: Yeah, I would do it, as long as they were willing to tell me what the premise of the movie was going to be. There have been instances in the past where we have been approached, like Spiderman: 2, but they were really top secret, like they said, "We can't give you any information out right now and this is all we can give you." and it's like... that doesn't really help. You wanna make it work with the movie. You don't want to just write something in hopes that it will work. It really all depends on the situation, and how much information they would give me. I would really love to do it. I'm not opposed.

Brian: That'd be nice!

Brian: In each of your three albums, there have have different feels to them. Like, Good Apollo has this big, explosive, epic rock sound to it. What can we expect from the next upcoming album?

Claudio: It's so hard to say. I have been working on material, but nothing is concrete. It's definetly going to be different. With each record we've had so far the material was written before the record was actually recorded, where as this one, I decided to take a break from that approach and write for the record instead of it just being where I am writing, writing, writing and here comes the day to record. Now it will be more in the moment, record to the moment or right to the moment -- excuse me. This is the end of the concept, it's gotta be darker, and it's just gotta be magical! Ahaha.

Brian: Haha.

Brian: Okay, if you could play at any venue, with any band, dead or alive, where would it be, and who would it be with?

Claudio: I know over the years we've said Led Zeppelin is our favorite band, and that is true as a unit. But for me personally, my favorite band of all time would be Pink Floyd, and I saw them in '94. It was actually on my mothers birthday, in '94 -- November 17th.

Brian: You missed your mothers birthday for Pink Floyd?!

Claudio: Well, she understood. Haha.

Brian: Okay, as long as she knew what was going on. Haha.

Claudio: But I'd like to see Pink Floyd in 1978. So if it would be the perfect tour, although they probably wouldn't tour with us, I think the perfect tour would be me being a roadie in 1978 for Pink Floyd.

Brian: Now that you're a big name in the music industry and you can obviously headline a tour in the states and in Europe, do you ever think you would co-headline another tour like you did with A7X, again?

Claudio: You know, it's hard to say. They are very nice guys and we got along with them very well, but I think from both parties the tour was a little weird for our audiences. For their audience, and our audience. I just don't know if it's something we would try to do again.

Brian: Being that your popularity is growing each and every day and the kids are really getting into the story and the concept, are you content with what you've done so far with it? What would you like to accomplish or change so far?

Claudio: There is nothing I'd like to change. I'd like to obviously get the records done for the story. Just to actually see them, you know? Here is this body of work and along with that, the graphic novels or comics or however you want to describe them. Just to see those all done in their tangible form. Just to look at their body of work and then say, "Ok, what's the next step?", and in hopes maybe the next step is to put out a movie or something. I'd just like to keep going with it. I don't want this project to die, really.

Brian: There have been several talks about the new comic series, why were you displeased with the outcome of the graphic novel? Was it the storyline or was it the whole direction? You've had several authors and artists over the years...what happened?

Claudio: Well, originally with Second Stage, at the time, Coheed and Cambria didn't really have the pull we do now, although still in that world (in the comical world), we still don't have that strong of a pull. At the time, Wes Abbot was really the only guy willing to work on this project, so we took what we could at the time. Wes was great, I still think he's a great guy, but unfortunately due to his schedule, he couldnt couldn't continue the Second Stage Series. He had other things he had to do. When it was time to record Good Apollo, I thought I would try something different with this and maybe put out the story at the same time as the record. That's when we found Christopher Shy -- we did the album art, and graphic novel with him. And that was great, but at the same time the story telling is a little weird. I mean, I think Christopher is a beautiful artist, but some of the story kinda gets lost in there. And also at the same time, on my fault, it's part four that the story that really hasn't even been told yet. It's a little pre-mature. I think most readers get confused by it. Also, another thing is, financially, the script was longer. We couldn't complete all of it because I just didn't have the money, so we had to break it down into 120 pages -- A lot got lost. But now it's like "The Amory Wars" is basically the replacement of "The Bag Online Adventures," the whole saga now is called, "The Amory Wars." With this series that is coming out in Feburary, this will be the Second Stage portion and we'll take it from there. Then we'll go into In Keeping. We'll just do it in a chronological order instead of messing it up.

Brian: Haha

Brian: Okay, here are some fun questions -- What is your least favorite household chore? Besides doing your hair!

Claudio: Hmm, I don't know...

Brian: Besides doing your hair.

Claudio: The last chore that I did, that I actually didn't mind, but it kinda sucked, was draining the pool cover -- the water was disgusting.

Brian: Yeah, don't drink it.

Claudio: Nooo!!

Brian: Ok, besides me, who is the biggest "A-List Celebrity" to state that they love your music?

Claudio: The biggest A-List Celebrity?

Brian: Besides me, of course...

Claudio: I don't know if we have any celebrities, honestly.

Brian: You've gotta have some!

Claudio: I've never met any, honestly!

Brian: I think they're too shy.

Claudio: I don't know if it's that, man.

Brian: Could be your hair? They are all like, "I don't know about his hair!"

Claudio: Haha. I don't know if we're cool enough for A-List celebrities. I have no idea. I've never encountered one on our road.

Brian: I think Ashlee Simpson likes Coheed and Cambria.

Claudio: Really? Then there ya go!

Brian: Yeah! You got one.

Brian: If you can give your fans one piece of advice about life in general -- what would you give them?

Claudio: Always have a plan b. I had one, and I got lucky at the last minute. At the time I was going to school for audio engineering. The band thing was working out, but at the same time I was getting too old, and I didn't know if I could do this for the rest of my life. Just as I went out and got a job, the band got signed to Equal Visions, so I was very fortunate.

Brian: That's good, because I don't know what you'd be doing right now!

Claudio: Haha, yeah!

Brian: Alright, this is the last question and by far the most serious question in the interview so far -- Who is the last man standing when it comes to drinking?

Claudio: In Coheed and Cambria?

Brian: Yea.

Claudio: TRAVIS STEVER, BY FAR! He's up 'till seven in the morning!

Brian: Geez, he must have a high tolerance.

Claudio: Ohh! It's like coffee to him!

Brian: Gotta give him shots!

Claudio: Haha

Brian I guess this wraps up our interview. Thank you for taking the time.

Claudio: You got it! Thank you for all of your help!