Concept is God

If concept-album connoisseurs Coheed & Cambria want to believe that geeks don’t dominate their fan base, they should stay away from Google. Click on the first link returned from searching “Coheed & Cambria interview” and you’re taken not to Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, or even the band’s own website, but to a site called And the interview starts with a Star Wars quote.

While the band is constantly on the run from the curse of sub-genre categorization, the one bio-sheet bullet point that positively hounds members from interview to interview (and also places like, you know, Comic-Con), threatening to overshadow its music even more than the semantic baggage of words like “emo,” “prog-metal,” and “post-hardcore,” is the fact that the band was conceptualized around – and continues to draw inspiration from — a comic book. Specifically, frontman Claudio Sanchez’s series The Amory Wars.

Is Coheed & Cambria a legitimate rock band, or just the soundtrack to Claudio Kilgannon’s quest to avenge his murdered family through the 78 planets of Heaven’s Fence and their interconnecting beams of energy?

Sanchez managed to beam me a few answers through the intertubes during the band’s recent tour of Japan — no geeks there.

So, is it actually accurate to say that Coheed & Cambria is based on a comic book? Do you describe it that way to people unfamiliar with the band? Have you ever made it through an interview without being asked about the concept behind the music?

I’ve never made it though an interview without being asked, no! The songs aren’t necessarily based on the comics. They’re based on my life and things I’ve experienced. When I first started writing songs, I had a hard time confessing — so I figured why not create a story and hide the life stuff behind that.

Do you think the band would be as popular without the sci-fi-fantasy mystique?

I’d like to think so. All the songs, to me, are personal, and I don’t think that 100 percent of the people into our music are into it for the sci-fi element.

I’m sure there are plenty of people into your music that aren’t into The Amory Wars back-story or even comics in general, but does it go both ways? Do you encounter people who are just into Coheed & Cambria, the murdered parents of Claudio Kilgannon, and not that into Coheed & Cambria, the misunderstood prog-rockers?

Sure. Actually I meet a lot of them at Comic-Con events. They’re usually comic-book reviewers who tell me that they first got into the comic series and didn’t even realize there was a relationship between the books and music. Some of them discover they love the music, and some don’t.

How would you like Coheed & Cambria to be remembered, say, 25 years from now?

I’d like us to be remembered as a good band! Sometimes we’re misinterpreted due to the comic books. People will be quick to judge because they feel that comics are childish, etc. I hope people will learn to embrace what we do and recognize that we’re a really hard-working band. •

Coheed and Cambria
7 pm Thurs., Aug. 18
Lonestar Pavillion at Sunset Station
1174 E. Commerce St.
(210) 222-9481

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