Coheed and Cambria on Why Their Nerdy Comic-Book Saga Had to End

Frontman Claudio Sanchez talks fatherhood, grow houses and why he ditched the sci-fi concept in the band’s latest LP

Coheed and Cambria frontman Claudio Sanchez says he was ready to get real with fans with the band's eighth album, 'The Color Before the Sun'
Coheed and Cambria on Why Their Nerdy Comic-Book Saga Had to End

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, the story behind Coheed and Cambria was born. Well, not quite. A combination of dystopic science fiction and old-school fantasy – as well as the basis of the band's intrepid first seven albums – frontman Claudio Sanchez conceived of the narrative in 1998, while spending a month in Paris, France. It would become The Amory Wars, an epic comic book series circling the lives (and descendants) of Coheed and Cambria, who Sanchez calls the "Adam and Eve" of his complex alternate universe. 

Yet, after almost 20 years since its creation, Sanchez told Rolling Stone why the saga needed a rest. "I always have a hard time confessing myself with lyrics," Sanchez says. "My real life was just dirty. I created the idea of The Amory Wars as a mask. I was very shy and introverted. It was a way to confess my [feelings] without giving myself to the listeners… Not letting the audience in."

Having already concluded the central narrative of The Amory Wars, Sanchez wrote the 2015 release of Coheed and Cambria's eighth album, The Color Before the Sun, ready to get real with his listeners. 

"I started to create songs that didn't fall within the lines of what I had created for Coheed and Cambria." Sanchez explains. "Then my wife [writer Chondra Echert] told me that we were pregnant. None of that mattered anymore. My love for her resonated in the record, the prospect of fatherhood started to resonate. Now, my wife and I, we also write comic books together, we collaborate on art, but there we were, on the top of world, about to collaborate on life."

Now, Sanchez's small Brooklyn apartment was neither longer suffice to write a record, nor to raise a family. Followed by the birth of his son Atlas, now 18 months old, Sanchez and his wife discovered their country home in Upstate New York had been ransacked by scheming marijuana tycoons. 

"It had been vandalized and turned into a $300,000-a-month grow house operation," Sanchez says.

It prompted the singer-songwriter into action — by taking back his house and writing his most personal, straightforward music yet. "I wanted the songs to speak for themselves," he says. "Now that I'm 37 years old, I don't need the mask at this point in my life."

Sanchez is currently working on a supplementary story to The Amory Wars, which will develop independently from Coheed and Cambria.

The Color Before the Sun is out now on 300 Entertainment. The band is currently touring the United States, with support from post-hardcore legends Glassjaw, as well as I The Mighty and Silver Snakes