Creating Coheed and Cambria’s Conceptual Adventures
Published: October 30, 2013
For someone whose band only releases conceptual albums (one of which is titled Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness), each taking place in a fictitious universe called Heaven’s Fence and involving the husband-and-wife team of Coheed and Cambria Kilgannon, guitarist Travis Stever turned out to be a pretty down-to-earth dude.
“You’re calling from San Antonio?!” he asked the Current last week, all excited. “Yeah! We’re playing there in a couple of weeks! The White Rabbit, right?”
Right. This Saturday. It’s a rare occasion when a touring act knows exactly where he’s going to play and who’s on the other line, and cares about it. “We always have fun going [to San Antonio],” said Stever. “There are a few places on our [tour schedule] that we don’t remember, but I always remember coming there. I’ve had great experiences in SA and we’re very excited to come back.”
The band is touring in support of The Afterman: Descension, which came out in February and is the companion to 2012’s The Afterman: Ascension. Stever spoke with the Current from a windy sidewalk in Rhode Island.
“The Amory Wars” concept was turned into a novel, the albums, and a series of comics books. How did you end up being a part of so many different worlds?
Claudio [Sanchez, lead singer and guitarist for Coheed and Cambria] led that incursion into the world of comics. That’s really a world he’s been in love with his whole life. I remember the first time he had the comic printed up, in 2002, [for] the first edition of The Second Stage Turbine Blade, our first record, it was really exciting for the band and for him. That was really his world and I’ve kind of been able to familiarize myself more [with] that world through him. That was really his dream that came true.
I suspect being a musician isn’t enough to be able to play in Coheed—you need to be able to fully grasp what the whole concept is all about.
Well, you don’t, honestly. The truth of the matter is, there are songs that are just based on real life experiences. Therefore, when it comes down to it, you can listen to Coheed and Cambria like you would any other band. In honesty, the real-life scenarios that Claudio is in, or even that the band is in, those are the things that dictate where the fiction goes. He’s writing it like a normal writer would. I think he’s always been more comfortable doing that lyrically ... he doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve as much because it’s masked by this story.