One would be hard pressed to name another band that sounds like COHEED & CAMBRIA. Categorized as everything from emo to prog-rock, the New Yorkers have a sound that is as unique as it is difficult to label. Vocalist/guitarist Claudio Sanchez, guitarist Travis Stever, bassist Michael Todd and drummer Chris Pennie have created an entire universe for their fans, telling an elaborate story through their albums and a series of comic books, “The Amory Wars.”
In 2006, Sanchez and Stever weren’t sure if the band would survive when then drummer Josh Eppard and bassist Michael Todd left under less than amicable circumstances. After questioning their future, Sanchez and Stever decided that COHEED & CAMBRIA would go on, releasing their most elaborate offering yet, “No World For Tomorrow.” Guitarist Stever sat down with Max Ink to discuss the current tour, what’s on his Ipod and where the story goes from here.
Maximum Ink: Explain to me about the band’s name, the comic book and how it all ties together?
Travis Stever: Well, the band’s name is two characters names in a story that Claudio has developed. He’s developed comic books that go along with the storyline and the lyrics. We’ve released numerous comics and basically, each album follows the story, this album being the last part of it.
MAX INK: What was the inspiration for this story?
TS: It’s something he came up with years ago. He had an idea for this whole concept for years, and the band was a totally different band but due to line-up change and me joining, we were searching for a new name. He had the idea for this concept with the name Coheed and Cambria, and we all liked the name and adopted it. By adopting the name, we adopted the story.
MAX INK: So, as far as the story goes, does he have it all thought out already or does it just kind of come to him each installment?
TS: For the most part, he has it thought out. I know a lot of personal experience influences the story. But the story is always there and the ideas for that story were already there.
MAX INK: You said the story was almost finished?
TS: It is, this is the end of the story but then we’re going to go back and return to the first part of it.
MAX INK: How do you feel when people classify your band as “emo”?
TS: I think that a long time ago people didn’t know what to say about us. People who haven’t heard the band classify us as that. The truth is, we’re really not. I don’t have a problem with it, it’s just kind of funny to me that people come up with that label.
MAX INK: So what would you call the band’s sound?
TS: I think that we’re a heavy rock band with an alternative sound. The only reason I agree with that whole “prog” sound, because people have called us that too, in a certain way is because this band is constantly progressing musically and growing in the sense of being different.
MAX INK: What was the first artist or song that you heard that made you want to be a musician?
TS: My father I guess, he played. Both my father and my mother were musicians and hearing them sing and play really opened me up to the joys of music. Eventually I started listening to my own kind of music.
MAX INK: What’s the most unusual thing that’s ever happened to you on tour?
TS: I would have to say the most unusual thing was when everything fell apart on the last tour. I’m pretty boring! I don’t really have anything that interesting.
MAX INK: What kind of music do you not like?
TS: I don’t really have a least favorite type of music. I don’t really like techno music very much but there might be an industrial techno song that I’ll really like. There’s not type of music that I would say, “Oh, I absolutely fucking hate it!” It depends on the song I guess. Does that make sense?
MAX INK: Yes, it does. What’s the strangest thing a fan has ever done to meet you?
TS: Nothing really outlandish. A lot of fans seem pretty respectful. Sometimes they’ll come and knock on the van or bus or whatever. I understood as a kid that there might be a boundary line, but at the same time you can’t really be mad at them for doing it because they’re just doing their best to meet somebody they really admire.
MAX INK: What’s the best rumor that you’ve ever heard about yourself or about the band?
TS: For me, it was all the bullshit that was going on with our band and they said I was leaving too.
MAX INK: Wasn’t there a rumor that one of you killed the lead singer of AFI while playing football?
TS: I never heard that one! You just told me the best one, absolutely.
MAX INK: What one song or band do you like do you think would surprise your fans?
TS: I don’t think any hardcore fan of this band would be surprised by any of the crazy taste we have because of the band we are. People might look on my Ipod and be like, “I can’t believe you have this stuff!” Like Billy Ocean’s “Greatest Hits” or “Sailing” by Christopher Cross.
MAX INK: Concert DVDs are huge…are you going to come out with another DVD?
TS: Well, we’ve already put out two. I would think that in the future we would release more. The last two albums came with DVDs too. We probably will release another one in the future but I don’t know when.