Claudio Sanchez's "Kill Audio": Coheed and Cambria Leader on New Comic, Upcoming LP

Singer-guitarist talks wacky comic universe, the new song that makes him cry at Comic-Con

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Claudio Sanchez is probably best known as the singer-guitarist of the powerhouse prog-rock band Coheed and Cambria, but he's also a comic book writer. His first major comics project was The Amory Wars, an expansion of the band's sci-fi mythology; at this year's Comic-Con, he launched a new miniseries, the much goofier Kill Audio, inspired by a self-portrait toy (a little troll with knives sticking out of his body) that Sanchez designed. (His signing for a special preview issue was mobbed.) Sanchez talked to Rolling Stone about his comics and Coheed and Cambria's album in progress.

Kill Audio started with the vinyl figure of the same name. Where'd that come from?
Vinyl figures are just another thing that my fiancee and I like to collect. We'd always wanted to do one, and I always had this idea with the play on my name, and we decided to run with this. And when we actually completed the figure and got the prototype, we saw a potential for a story.

So what's the story about?
Basically, it's about this character trying to find his place within this fantasy land called Sight & Sound. Eventually he does — it's kind of a Wizard of Oz meets Ghostbusters thing. On his way to figuring this out, he acquires this posse of a bunch of wacky characters, and he ends up finding out that he's actually the Void of Creativity, the Void of Music. He's part of this team called the Void, and in his absence music has spiraled out of control, and these weird subgenres have started to come together and throw things out of whack. And when he starts to try to put things together and bring order back to creativity, he realizes it's not the natural progression of the art form — that there's somebody else behind it.

What should people who know you as a musician look for in the comic book?
A lot of the characters are based on real people — Kill Audio's posse is based on people that I grew up with and spent a lot of time with. And in a weird way, it's almost a tribute to that time in my life, and those people that I still remain very close with. There's a lot of encryption — little codes, I guess. But it's not like Amory Wars, where you need to know Coheed & Cambria to really understand it. It's a comedy — anyone can pick it up. It's a little off the wall.

Are there other comics you're excited about right now?
I just finished the last two issues of The Walking Dead. That's the one book that I try to follow in single issues. And I like The Goon — I like Eric Powell a lot.

What's going on with the band?
We're actually working on a record right now! We did a couple of songs out in Pasadena with Atticus Ross and Joe Barresi. It's been a lot of fun. I really feel inspired by the people I'm working with — I go home excited, and really want to write. In the past, I've written 12 to 15 songs for the record, then make the record and that's it. This time I'm hungry again.

Any song titles you can reveal?
One is called "In the Flame of Error," another is "When Skeletons Live," "For All the Stars" — that's a beautiful song. It makes me cry every time we listen to it. I had a big conversation with [C&C drummer] Chris Pennie — he's really excited about the song, and he said "it's my favorite song in the past 10 years." That really meant a lot to me. It was really unfortunate that he couldn't play on the last record, and now he gets to be on the record and put his stamp on something.

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