Coheed and Cambria is an American rock band from New Jersey, formed in 1995. The band was originally named "Shab?tie"; however, the name was changed to "Coheed and Cambria" when drummer Nate Kelley departed. The band incorporates aspects of progressive rock, emo, punk rock, heavy metal and post-hardcore.
Coheed and Cambria's albums are concept albums that reveal a science fiction storyline called The Amory Wars, a series of comics written by lead singer Claudio Sanchez. The band has released four studio albums, two live albums, and several special-edition releases, with their latest release being Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow in 2007. In 2008, the band held a four-day concert series, Neverender, during which they played their studio albums in succession. They are currently working on their fifth studio album which will be a prequel to the series.
In March 1995, Claudio Sanchez and Travis Stever's band Toxic Parents split and, together with Nate Kelley, formed the band Beautiful Loser. The band featured Stever on vocals and guitar, Sanchez on guitar, Kelley on drums and Jon Carleo on bass. The group was short-lived, breaking up by June 1995 after an argument over gas money. Stever left the band, and the resulting trio was named Shab?tie, a word taken from African tribe chants that means "naked prey" in the film Naked Prey.
The band spent nearly a year experimenting with a multitude of different musical styles, including punk rock, indie rock, acoustic rock, funk, and heavy metal. When Carleo left the band in August 1996, Kelley recruited Michael Todd to take his place. Todd, who was primarily a guitarist, picked up the bass specifically for Shab?tie. As Shab?tie, the band wrote dozens of songs and released their first studio demo Plan to Take Over the World in 1999. The band also released The Penelope EP in 1999, shortly after which Stever rejoined the band.
Kelley left the band during a performance in late 1999, and Josh Eppard, then of the band 3, replaced him. The band went on to release Delirium Trigger in 2000, still featuring Kelley on the drums, but listing Eppard in the liner notes.
Starting out (2001?2006)
A sample of "Welcome Home" from Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness
Several songs that appeared on Delirium Trigger were part of a science fiction story written by Steve Whitt called The Bag.On.Line Adventures, which was later renamed The Amory Wars. Sanchez's side project originally developed during a 1998 trip to Paris, where the band members decided to rename themselves Coheed and Cambria, named after two of the story's protagonists, and adopted the concept story as a theme that would unify their future albums. This side project also created Coheed's official logo, the Keywork, a symbol for the planetary alignment of the Amory Wars universe.
In February 2002 the band released its first studio album The Second Stage Turbine Blade after signing with Equal Vision Records. Influenced by the post-hardcore group At The Drive In, the band's first release also featured a guest appearance from Dr.Know of the hardcore-punk band, Bad Brains, as well as the revised "Delirium Trigger", "33", and "Junesong Provision" from the Delirium Trigger EP. The band also released its first single and music video, "Devil in Jersey City". The band eventually played several tour dates in the United States and Japan, as well as a brief stint on the 2002 Vans Warped Tour. In August 2002, Coheed and Cambria started working with manager Blaze James, who would help propel the band to larger stages and a wider fan base.
"The Keywork", a commonly used logo for the band, symbolizes the energy stream between the planets in Coheed and Cambria's fictional universe.
Following extensive touring with groups Breaking Pangaea, Linkin Park, The Used, and Slipknot, in October 2003 the band released its second studio album In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth:3, also on Equal Vision Records. Featuring the singles "A Favor House Atlantic" and "Blood Red Summer" and corresponding videos which received airtime on MTV, the band supplemented the release by touring with various artists such as Thursday, Thrice, AFI, and Rainer Maria. Coheed and Cambria also made its second appearance on the Warped Tour and performed additional European shows. The album peaked at #52 on the Billboard charts and was certified Gold by the RIAA. The band also supported the release by filming an August 2004 concert at New Jersey's Starland Ballroom. The performance was converted into the band's first live DVD, Live at the Starland Ballroom, which was released in March 2005.
The success of In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 attracted the attention of the record label Columbia Records, with whom they signed a multi-album contract. The band stopped touring to record their third studio album and first major-label release Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness in early 2005 for a September 2005 release.
Their most commercially successful album to date, Good Apollo Volume One has sold almost 1 million copies and peaked at #7 on the Billboard charts. The album represented a departure from their previous melodic post-hardcore influenced rock toward a progressive rock sound. The single "Welcome Home" was described by John A. Hanson as "a heavily Led Zeppelin-influenced metal tune". The band supported the album with American and European tours accompanied by The Blood Brothers, Circa Survive, Dredg, Head Automatica, and Avenged Sevenfold, tours culminating in the release of the exclusive iTunes EP Kerrang!/XFM UK Acoustic Sessions and their second live DVD The Last Supper: Live at Hammerstein Ballroom.
Departures and No World for Tomorrow (2006?2009)
Claudio Sanchez released an album from his side-project The Prize Fighter Inferno in October 2006 titled My Brother's Blood Machine. Like Coheed and Cambria's albums, it was a concept album, related to Coheed and Cambria via a character that appears in both stories: Jesse, "The Prize Fighter Inferno". The album was intended to be a prequel to the Coheed and Cambria albums. Claudio says "when we were called Shab?tie, the initial idea for Coheed and Cambria was to be an acoustic/electronic side project. So I guess The Prize Fighter Inferno is kind of the original idea for Coheed and Cambria."
In early November 2006, Josh Eppard and Michael Todd left the band for personal reasons, forcing Matt Williams and the band's drum technician, Michael Petrak, to fill out temporarily the band's rhythm section for a handful of shows. In April 2007, bassist Michael Todd rejoined Coheed and Cambria, and the band entered the Los Angeles-based studio with new producer Nick Raskulinecz. The following June Chris Pennie, formerly of the Dillinger Escape Plan, joined Coheed and Cambria as its drummer, but due to contractual restrictions with his previous record label, Pennie did not appear on the band's fourth release. Instead, Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins recorded the drums, making use of several ideas Pennie had previously written in correspondence with Sanchez.
Claudio Sanchez during the Kerrang! Tour 2008
The band's fourth studio album, and second release with Columbia Records, Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow, was released in October 2007, debuting at number 6 on the Billboard charts. The album's first single, "The Running Free", was released to radio in August 2007. The second single was "Feathers" with a video starring Rena Riffel. The band has continued touring with Good Apollo Volume Two, headlining portions of the 2007 Warped Tour, a fall tour supported by Clutch and The Fall of Troy, and opened for Linkin Park's 25-city U.S. tour, which forced the cancellation of Coheed and Cambria's performances on Australia's Soundwave Festival. In addition to the return of Todd on bass and new drummer Pennie, the band also recruited a touring keyboardist and backup vocalists for its live performances.
In November 2007, their song "Welcome Home" was included as a playable track in the video game Rock Band, and a cover of their song "Ten Speed (of God's Blood & Burial)" was later made available as a download for Rock Band. Additionally, "Welcome Home" was used extensively in the trailers and commercials for the 2009 Tim Burton film 9.
The band went on a four-month world tour beginning in January 2008. They later headlined at The Bamboozle 2008 music festival.
The band headlined the 2008 Kerrang! Tour in the U.K., where the band performed and recorded a cover of "The Trooper" by Iron Maiden, which is featured on Kerrang!'s Iron Maiden tribute album, Maiden Heaven, that came with the July 16 issue. They were nominated for Best International Band and Best Music Video (for Feathers) in the 2008 Kerrang! Awards. The band was also nominated for best music video.
In October and November 2008, the band played at Neverender, a four-night concert series where it played one album each night. The event was held in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and in London in early December. Neverender: Children of The Fence Edition, a CD/DVD box set of their Neverender performance, was released on March 24, 2009.
Touring and prequel album (2009 onward)
Coheed and Cambria toured though most of early 2009. Between January and March, they toured with Slipknot and Trivium on the Slipknot-headlined All Hope Is Gone tour. As of August 2009, Coheed and Cambria are touring in support of Heaven & Hell during the 2009 "Heaven & Hell" tour, and in October they are scheduled to perform at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Austin, Texas. They also performed at the Wacken Open Air festival and at the UK leg of the Sonisphere Festival tour.
Coheed and Cambria is working on an untitled album, which will be a prequel to the series.
Sanchez has several times stated he is envious of his father's era of music, and that the band is influenced by groups of that era, such as Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Police, Misfits, Queen, and Thin Lizzy. Apart from these roots in classic rock, Sanchez also acknowledges an eclectic array of influences, including post-hardcore group At the Drive-In, and heavy metal pioneers Iron Maiden. Contrary to rumors, bassist Michael Todd said the band was not influenced by Saga and that he had never heard of that group. Many draw similarities between Rush and Coheed and Cambria, but Josh Eppard stated in an interview that neither he nor the other band members were Rush fans or influenced by Rush. They began listening to Rush after their second album. Influences of punk rock have been cited as well, especially the Misfits and Bad Brains. Dr. Know of Bad Brains plays a guitar solo on the track "Time Consumer" from Second Stage Turbine Blade. Sanchez and Stever's early band Toxic Parents drew many similarites from Jane's Addiction and Misfits. Sanchez has stated that The Amory Wars, the story on which Coheed and Cambria base its lyrics, has similarities to other stories, especially to the Star Wars trilogy. For example, when the character Coheed returns home to his wife Cambria, she says, "Somehow I?ve always known," a line that Princess Leia said to Luke Skywalker in Return of the Jedi.
The band's style is described as progressive rock by Equal Vision, Spin, and Allmusic, but others have described the band as emo. The band themselves say they think being described as emo is "just a time-and-place thing". Despite arguments for or against either genre, the band displays elements of both musical styles. Songs such as "A Favor House Atlantic" and "Three Evils (Embodied in Love and Shadow)" have been described as "fairly straightforward slices of emo", while the likes of "In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3" and "Cuts Marked in the March of Men" display a more progressive approach, including complex time signatures. Some sources cite the band as new prog; Piero Scaruffi said the band "carried out a historical fusion of the progressive-rock tradition and the emo-core tradition on their debut album". Likewise, The Daily Cardinal notes that "No World For Tomorrow demonstrates it is possible to combine intelligence and musicality in a genre that often settles for tight jeans and whiny bitching".
Claudio Sanchez - lead vocals, lead and rhythm guitar, keyboards, synthesizer, Theramin, programming, lyrics (1995?present)
Travis Stever - lead and rhythm guitar, lap steel guitar, backing vocals, synthesizer (1995, 1999?present)
Michael Todd - bass, backing vocals (1996?2006, 2007?present)
Chris Pennie - drums, percussion (2007 - present)
Dave Parker - keyboards, guitar (2005?2006)
Matt Williams - bass (2006)
Michael Petrak - drums, backing vocals (2006)
Wes Styles - keyboards, backing vocals (2007?present)
Josh Eppard - drums, percussion, backing vocals, keyboards (2000?2006)
Nate Kelley - drums, percussion (1995?2000)
Jon Carleo - bass (1995?1996)
Taylor Hawkins - drums, percussion (Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow)
Danny Louis - keyboards (Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness, In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3)
Rami Jaffee - keyboards (Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow)
Dr.Know - guitar (The Second Stage Turbine Blade) on the song "Time Consumer"
Chondra Echert - backing vocals on "Gravemakers & Gunslingers"