There is an unsettling presence
lurking in upstate New York. The brainchild of a indie-vious mastermind,
even the loaded name is too tricky and terrifying to completely
understand. And, when this presence rears, its mind-boggling, sense-melting
head, indie rockers and comic nerds alike will cower in the brilliant
shadow of progrock's glorious and blistering second-coming.
Slated for release in early 2002, The Second
Stage Turbine Blade will be Coheed & Cambria's proper introduction
to the world. Promised are ten short, relentless musical sci-fi
narratives conceived by singer Claudio Sanchez. This rollercoaster
of sparse guitars, driving rhythms, and lush tones provide the perfect
backdrop for a story that promises to redefine the conventional
concept album.Interview conducted in person, December 2001.
Names: Claudio Sanchez (vocals,
guitar), Patrick Sayers (lead t-shirt, number one fan and roadie)
Band: Coheed and Cambria
Tim: How would you describe your
Patrick: Well there has been descriptions for the band that has
been everything from emo meets Rush. As a basis of comparison I
would say that there is a hybrid of progressive rock with melodic
T: What bands
P: Journey is a big influence.
T: How can Journey be an influence
without a keyboard though?
P: When you have dueling guitars there is that somewhat synthesized
sound that happens when two guitars clash and make the beauty known
as harmony. (laughter)
T: Coheed and Cambria are from
P: Yes, they are based in the outskirts of New York city in two
counties of Rockland and Olster county.
T: How did you all get together?
Claudio: It is kind of a long story. The original drummer of the
band lived in Woodstock, which is a neighboring town to Kingston,
where Josh, the new drummer, and Mike are
from. Basically, we played with that guy for a while and he ended
up having a baby and that complicated things so we ended up getting
Josh and Mike. Mike has actually been in the band for a while. He
played with us before we got Josh.
P: They originally started as a band called Shabutie and that dates
back to high school. Over that time they invited Travis into the
band and there were member changes that evolved it into something
entirely different and that is kind of where Coheed and Cambria
T: So the name is from a book?
C: Sort of, it's not like a real book. It is more like an idea for
one that I've been trying to come up with. There is no real foundation,
but there are ideas. For lack of a better name, we went with that.
It was actually the name of a side project that I was doing and
I guess everybody in the band kind of liked it. Originally, we were
going to call ourselves Paris in Flames, but then we found out it
was a Thursday song. We felt kind of weird and uncomfortable with
that so we went with that one. Kids already knew that that name
was out there.
T: It is ironic that you would
mention Thursday because I was thinking that you guys sounded a
lot like them. This was my first time being exposed to you, tonight,
and I was think that a lot of the guitar work and presentation of
the band is a lot like Thursday. You can call me on it if this is
C: I agree with you because we are big fans of At the Drive In and
I would think that Thursday is too because there sound is a lot
like At the Drive In too.
P: I think another similarity is that they are from New Jersey or
somewhere near there. We've seen shows that they've put on. They've
been in the area where we grew up, which is this blend of influence.
There is a hardcore influence that comes from New York City but
having grown up on pop there are so many bands of our generation
that are coming out these days that play that formula.
.Are an emo influenced
band with a hybrid of some throwback like rock and roll or psychadelia
P: Yeah. I wonder
.I don't think anyone ever sat down and says
what element can we use that is going to set us apart or what can
we borrow from the past. All of us have just grown up on all different
kinds of music and it never really mattered where it came from.
We just feel so intensely about so many different kinds of music
that when we sit and listen to Iron Maiden or King Crimson or any
other bands that do these odd things it is something that mean as
much to us as hardcore bands that we grew up on. In essence, all
of that brings something to the music that we enjoy.
T: The first song that I can
remember being religiously into was that Phil Collins song "She's
an Easy Lover." What is the first song that you guys can remember
being floored by?
P: The first time I heard a record that made me apes about music
was Kiss Love Gun. I have a brother who is double my age
who grew up on 70's rock. He gave me this hand me down record that
made me love rock and roll music. I was probably four or five and
ever since then I have been head-banging. That really sent me down
a path towards getting into bands like Quicksand and stuff like
that. That is my lineage.
C: Mine would have to be a tie between - and you will probably laugh
at me because it was his hit but it wasn't even his song - "All
Along The Watchtower" the Jimmy Hendrix version because it
reminds me of my dad. My first introduction to rock was sitting
in the car with my dad listening to Howard Stern and him stopping
it abruptly to throw in Electric Lady Land. That just is
nasty. My own experience would have to be "No Quarter"
by Led Zepplin because that shit is just rough.
P: We are really not the consummate indie rockers that we should
be. We like a lot of hessian rock.
T: How long have you played together
as a cohesive unit, as Coheed and Cambria?
C: About a year.
T: When did you begin talking
to Equal Vision? How did they get interested in you guys or how
did you start communicating with them?
P: There is a mutual friend that we have who knew people at EVR.
He really like their demo and put it their way. I don't think that
the demo is what got them signed because there was a lot of hesitation
a first. It was something that was different than what they were
doing and one thing led to another. They came out to a couple of
shows and from there
T: So did you do the demo then
with the intention of pitching a record label or did you do it to
give to your friends?
C: The demo was recorded with the old drummer and we did that almost
years ago. I think it was made with the intent of working with a
producer at the time. He was going to try to shop our record for
a deal, but things fall apart and we were left with these two songs
and Ashton saw us play and really liked it so he brought it to Equal
Vision. They dug the two songs so we kept recording more and more
demos because they kept wanting to hear more material. So, we'd
record two songs at a time and give it to them and that's how we
came up with an album.
T: So the album will be all the
P: It is kind of a cyclical process. There are a few songs from
those original demos that have been reworked, but when they went
in to demo more material then it ended up that they reworked it
with the guy who produced the original demo. They are lucky that
it could come out to be an actual record.
T: Do you feel like it will be
a cohesive record being that it is all things that you recorded
at different times?
C: Yeah. It totally works.
P: All of the songs follow a lineage that tie into the story of
The Second Stage Turbine Blade, which is the same material
that the name of the band comes from. They are all songs that were
written at different times, but they do still follow a path. As
you guys here the material more and know what the lyrics are it
will make more sense.
T: So they are all chapters of
this book that is forming in your head?
C: Yeah. I want it to be a comic book.
T: Do you draw then?
C: Yeah, but I wouldn't have the patience to do the actual comic
book. I'd like to have the idea and present it to a writer and artist
and have them do it.
T: Tell me a little bit about
this story. Can you get into this without getting into
C: I could, but then I'd probably sound like a moron. It would be
so broken. I sound like an idiot trying to explain it.
P: Just in the conversations that I've had with Claudio about it,
there are intertwining parts in the story that aren't going to come
out in the CD because the idea is to take it a little bit further
with any future albums or if it does make it into a comic book form,
having it all intertwine as one.
C: I wouldn't go as far as to say it is a concept album because
we all have short attention spans. To throw out these jagged pieces
might be a little misleading or unfair.
T: So you guys are comic book
C: Comic book geeks.
T: Do you guys have your Dark
Knight on reserve?
P: They played with Garrison last night and those guys were big
comic book nerds as well. It was interesting to run into people
mean you have that one music thing and that is cool, but then there
are other topics too. It was run to talk comic books with other
rockers. We got to look at their Dark Knight. I've definitely
fallen out of the buying process.
T: They are to expensive now
and there aren't enough pages.
P: There are to many. I was into Elf Quest, but there just
got to be too many titles.
T: So this is your first tour.
Where will it take you?
C: Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina. I guess really just
the east coast and a little ways into the Midwest.
T: Are there any bands that you'll
be playing with that you are particularly stoked about?
C: We are stoked about playing with Breaking Pangaea. We fell into
this situation of touring with Breaking Pangaea. We'd never heard
of them prior to playing with them and after seeing them at CBGBs
we were really glad to be touring with them. They are a great band
and they are really nice guys.
T: What will be the title of
the album then and when will it come out?
C: The title is The Second Stage Turbine Blade and February
5 is the release date.
T: What are your plans then after
this tour wraps up?
C: We'll probably take a break for January and when the record comes
out in February we'll be out on a longer tour. I would hope that
it will be two months
.maybe longer than that.
T: Has there been talk
about who you'll go out with next?
C: Not yet. It is still a little premature.