COURTESY JAMES MINCHIN III / COLUMBIA
Travis Stever, left, Michael Todd, Claudio Sanchez and Josh Eppard make up Coheed and Cambria.
Songs and stories
Coheed and Cambria takes musical storytelling to the next level
Since the band Coheed and Cambria taps into the power of such classic groups as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Rush, it's no surprise that this generation's successor to those progressive rock giants is getting a major publicity push.
Coheed and Cambria
With guest band Swollen Members
When: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Pipeline Cafe, 805 Pohukaina St.
Tickets: $28, all ages (those under 18 must be accompanied by adult), available at Local Motion Waikiki and Ticketmaster outlets, and online at www.ticketmaster.com. Charge by phone: 877-750-4400
The band wraps up its first headlining tour in the United States with a date at the Pipeline Cafe on Thanksgiving eve.
In its two major-label albums -- with the rather portentous titles "In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3" and, the latest, "Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness" -- the upstate New York band has taken listeners on a musical journey rich in baroque imagery from the mind of its front man, singer-guitarist and conceptualist Claudio Sanchez.
The band's core college-age and Internet-savvy audience has seen the video for the singles, the Led Zep-inspired "Welcome Home" and "The Suffering," as well as six animated shorts inspired by some of the new album's songs.
On the day of the Honolulu concert, MTV will air a half-hour concert special on the band filmed at the Hard Rock Cafe in Orlando, Fla.
Speaking by phone from a tour stop in Tempe, Ariz., Sanchez said that Coheed and Cambia's appeal is both about the music and his developing story line.
"I found last night in talking to a bunch of fans that about 50 percent of them have no idea what my concept is ... not that it's forced down their throat. Some take something personal to their own lives from it; others are into the idea of the concept itself. But I like how all of them interact with one another."
COURTESY JAMES MINCHIN III / COLUMBIA
The cover art for "Good Apollo" was conceptualized by singer Claudio Sanchez and drawn by Christopher Shy.
Sanchez's saga began with the band's independent album of '02, "Second Stage Turbine Blade." His prog-rock/sci-fi tale tells of the rebel orphan Claudio Kilgannon, who is out to avenge the death of his three siblings and his parents, named Coheed and Cambria.
In a story to be stretched out over five albums, the doomed couple is convinced they must sacrifice their children to save the world from being infected by an apocalyptic virus imbedded in their genes.
The latest album, however, steps outside Sanchez's story to focus on himself the writer, and how the goings-on in his own life will affect the outcome of this detailed story he's in the midst of telling.
Sanchez plans to tell the full "Good Apollo" story in a graphic novel published by his graphic arts company, Evil Ink, by year's end. (A comic book loosely based on the "Second Stage" album has already been released, with the look of the parents based on Sanchez's own father and mother.)
He and the rest of the band -- lead guitarist Travis Stever, drummer Josh Eppard and bassets Michael Todd -- have been equally careful in mapping out their careers.
"Out of the bunch of labels who were interested in us, we chose Columbia, who we thought was the strongest of the group. We figured it was our time to make the move, and we did a lot of groundwork beforehand, building our reputation by word of mouth, before we took our chances in the major market. We're really, more so, from the hard-core punk scene."
In '98, Sanchez brought his concept, originally a side project, to the other three, "and while the story has changed a little bit since then, its roots are still there. They even adopted the parents' names for the band."
With the help of an auxiliary musician onstage, Coheed and Cambria will replicate the ornate and meticulous music that the four of them have crafted, which I hope will include "Good Apollo's" closing opus, "The Willing Well," which finishes up with a transcendent finale worthy of Pink Floyd.
And, through it all, Sanchez's enthusiasm for it all has not wavered. At interview's end, he says, "All right, brother! Peace!"