Q&A: Coheed and Cambria

A chat with the rockers as they prepare for their upcoming show at Radio City this weekend.

Coheed and Cambria played a 15-song set on Saturday night. A new track off of Descension “Sentry: The Defiant” opened the show and they closed the show with a Coheed mainstay — “Welcome Home.” Photo by: Sophia Rosenbaum

Coheed and Cambria’s song “Welcome Home” takes on new meaning this Saturday when the band performs for the first time at Radio City Music Hall.

“New York has always been the hometown show,” said lead Singer Claudio Sanchez. Sanchez and guitarist Travis Stever grew up just up the river in Nyack, N.Y.  The two other band members — drummer Josh Eppard and bassist Zach Cooper – are originally from further upstate.

Coheed and Cambria’s spent more than a decade creating an intricate science fiction storyline told through seven studio albums – one of which got them to #5 on the Billboard 200 charts.

Saturday’s performance is at the tail end of their North American tour to promote their double album “The Afterman.”

The band continues to create musically complex songs that push the boundaries of progressive rock ranging from the contemporary feel of “Evagria the Faithful” to the snappy pop rhythms of “Number City.”

Sanchez and Cooper had a moment in between performances to talk with reporter Sophia Rosenbaum about life on tour, Saturday’s show and their first double album.


SR: All of you are from the New York area. What’s special about playing in New York City?

ZC: New York will be a special show because all of our families will be there. I’ll go out to dinner with my wife, hang out with friends who will be in town. Those kinds of shows are a lot different than the every day touring shows.

SR: Radio City’s got a lot of history. How does it feel to get to perform there?

CS: I’ve definitely gone to the Christmas Spectacular. To get to perform on that stage is a real thrill and a big win for Coheed.

ZC: For headlining, this is the biggest crowd I’ve ever played. It’s such a cool venue. It’s really exciting for me to be playing there.

SR: Radio City is a seated venue and Coheed is very much a band that feeds off of the crowd’s energy. How do you think this will impact your performance?

ZC: We’ve played a couple of fully seated venues and you couldn’t even tell because the crowd had so much energy. But sometimes, in the seated venues, people feel constrained or it’s a little more tame. Hopefully, the crowd is just as excited as we are. It should be a high-energy, really fun time.

SR: Is there something you do every time you come to NYC?

CS: I’ll visit Midtown Comics or I’ll go down to the East Side and visit Tokyo Seven.

ZC: When I’m in New York, I like to walk.  That’s the one thing I like to look forward to.  No agenda, just walk. For a while, my wife and I were living in the Village and I’d find myself walking all the way uptown to Central Park and just going. It’s very inspiring – all the people and all the things you can see.

SR: As a progressive rock band, you’re always experimenting with your sound. Have you noticed if it’s had an influence on your fan base?

CS: For some reason, people find these two albums a bit more accessible. There’s something in it for everyone. It covers a lot of ground musically.

SR: What is your favorite track off the second part of the double album, “The Afterman: Descension”?

CS: It would have to be a tie between Number City and Gravity’s Union.

ZC: It’s a toss up between two songs. I’m really having a strange attachment to “2’s My Favorite 1” mainly because it’s the first song I recorded with them and it’s the song I auditioned on. “Number City” because it’s quirky and funky and weird. It’s a melting pot of all these musical styles. I love the horns section.


Coheed and Cambria takes the “Great Stage” Saturday at 7 p.m. with Between the Buried Me and Russian Circles. Four days later, they head to Toronto to kick off their international tour.


[Published in Our Town Downtown on March 14, 2013.]