Coheed and Cambria’s ride the second wave of prog rock
By Andy Argyrakis
From the pages of Hear/Say Magazine
The idea of “progressive rock” is a term often confined to the 70s stone ages when iconic dinosaurs like Rush and Yes would deliver grandiose themes, over the top arrangements and storybook songs that often stretched beyond 20 minutes. Though the material in Coheed and Cambria’s cannon is often epic in nature and progressive by genre, being associated with that title makes the members of Coheed and Cambria a bit uncomfortable. After all, the four members don’t consider themselves to be pretentious (and for the most part they aren’t) nor do they noodle on their instruments with incredibly complex arrangements just for the sake of complication. (Can anyone say Mars Volta?) Instead the gang would rather be seen as carrying the torch of more gentle giants like Genesis merged with the more heavy handed staples of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin.
“My dad’s turned me on to Zeppelin, early Genesis, Floyd and the Police and a lot of that has played into our influences,” notes drummer Joshua Eppard phoning in from New Jersey on the third day of a tour with Avenged Sevenfold. “We’re just a bunch of players who do this for us, never writing long songs just to be long or being epic just to be challenging. I was never a big Dream Theater or Rush fan, but I can still appreciate it. The older classic rock influences like Pink Floyd fall more in line with what we love, especially the conceptual and visual aspects.”
It’s obvious both those elements are at the forefront of Coheed and Cambria’s cause, as evidenced by its latest tongue twister of a CD title Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness. The Columbia Records release may not have accessibility or radio readiness written all over it, but it has connected with the masses on such a serious level that the band’s been selling out 10,000 seat arenas on this double bill of sorts.
“We’ve been sold out many nights and I’ve been blown away, not just by the people coming out, but by the production of both bands,” he reiterates. “The visual thing is huge, which is why we both work together. We try to have a big rock show with stage props and it’s the perfect match. Plus I’m a huge fan of [Avenged Sevenfold’s] Cities of Evil (Warner Brothers)and it’s seriously a smokin’ tour.”
As for specifics on the spectacles, Eppard hesitates at first to give away too much, but eventually concedes, adding the attractions need to be seen to be believed. Without spoiling the plot, he explains how the concert screens and live action will correspond with the concept behind the recent disc (part of an eventual five album saga), which revolves around a married couple who believe they must kill their kids to save the world from a virus. Images will be lifted straight off singer/guitarist’s Claudio Sanchez’s graphic novel (based off the lyrics and key character Good Apollo) while a 14-foot functional guillotine inspired by the album cover serves as one of the many props.
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