The last time Coheed and Cambria played Madison Square Garden, they shared a bill with Linkin Park. And the crowd was, well, sedated in comparison to what the band has encountered on their new tour — with Slipknot. The kids in the audience on this tour wear Jason masks. They death growl at each other in the halls. And frankly, they don't all like Coheed. "There's nights where we stick out like a sore thumb," says frontman Claudio Sanchez, relaxing in his tour bus before their show at New York's famous venue last week. One particularly challenging night, Sanchez recalls "a lot of middle fingers."
The prog-rock band, which hails from Nyack, New York, have built a loyal following over the last 14 years that includes Allman Brother Warren Haynes, Foo Fighter Taylor Hawkins and Howard Stern's Richard Christy, who on-air, admitted to peeing his pants during their May 2008 Bamboozle set so he wouldn't have to miss "even one minute of the show." It was the same day that Bret Michaels asked Coheed if they'd join him onstage for a collabo.
Now, as Coheed prepares to release their fifth concept album, Sanchez is brimming with details."One of my favorite songs that we've recorded so far is called 'In the Flame of Error'," he says. "It's a longer, more aggressive tune." Another cut, "When Skeletons Live," is more uptempo and melodic. Sanchez reveals that 11 song ideas have been conceived so far, and the band expects to release the "very melodic" record in Spring 2010. They're currently shopping for a producer.
"Pearl of the Stars" was originally considered for Sanchez's side project the Prize fighter Inferno. "It's a slower tempo song that I actually sing with a deeper voice (rather) than a high falsetto," Sanchez explains. "The more I fleshed out the lyrics, the more I realized it made sense for the concept of this album."
So what exactly is the concept of this album? The answer's a bit tricky. Sanchez decided to make this record the prequel to the saga of the last four records, describing it as "the origin tale of Coheed and Cambria." "It's a love story of sacrifice," he goes on. "Like all of the Coheed records, our main character, the Creator, is put in a position where he has to do something he doesn't want to for the safety of his wife. I got engaged last year, so I've tried to put myself into the character's perspective, wondering what it would be like for me if I were to lose my significant other. And how that would destroy me."
"A lot of the Coheed records are very dark at the end," he adds. Speaking of darkness, is there any chance of a Coheed collaboration with their current tourmates? "We're actually toying around with the idea of having Clown do a remix of a song," Sanchez says.