When Coheed and Cambria recorded their fourth album, Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume II: No World For Tomorrow, lead singer and guitarist Claudio Sanchez remembers it as a time when his popular Nyack, New York rock band was at a serious crossroads.
“Half of the band was falling apart and we weren’t certain there’d even be a tomorrow for us. And now, with what’s going on in the world, the title feels a little bit too coincidental,” he reflects with a hollow laugh. “It’s an interesting record because it just screams ‘perseverance’ to me because we didn’t know what we were going to do. Half the band had fallen ill with chemical dependencies and were no longer part of the equation, and Travis (Stever, lead guitarist) and I were sort of salvaging what was left. We created a record that sort of ended the concept of what Coheed and Cambria was all about through the ashes of what could have been the end of the band.”
“It was created in the face of adversity.”
The band is planning to play the album in its entirety as part of their popular Neverender tour series on May 21 at the Commodore Ballroom, which is sadly way, way up in the air for obvious reasons.
“What I love about the Neverender shows is that I get that revisitation of playing them front to back,” he says. “I get to look at who I was when I wrote that material. It’s a good reminder. And for the fans, it lets them hear the record in it its entirety live and hear songs we don’t play all that often. Together, during these shows, we kind of champion that moment in time.”
Looking back at those days when No World For Tomorrow was written, Sanchez says he was “confused” and “perplexed” at the state of the band, which had been signed to a major label and was experiencing growing success, becoming known around the world.
“It was all very uncertain,” he recalls. “When I listen to the music now, I really think about the themes inside them. They have their place in the (Amory Wars) concept, but they really stem from being angry. I felt like, here we are in a place where we worked so hard to get to and half of the band has abandoned it, compromising everything we worked towards.”
Listening to the album now, he hears “a lot of anger” in songs like “The Hound (of Blood and Rank)” and “Mother Superior.” There’s also sorrow in songs like “Justice in Murder” – a song he wrote about a dying aunt who was suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease at the time.
While intimate influences always find their way into his music, Coheed’s songs revolve around the Amory Wars, an epic series of science fiction comic books and graphic novels. With the exception of 2015’s The Color Before the Sun, every one of Coheed’s studio albums is based on an episode in the ambitious saga. Coheed’s latest release, 2018’s Vaxis – Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures, is the first record of a five-part pentalogy and a continuation of the narrative Sanchez has created – he’s currently working on Unheavenly Creatures’ anticipated follow-up. This new creative direction is heavily influenced by the lead singer’s profound revelations and insights as the father of a little boy.
“A lot of this concept is very much about this amazing journey through fatherhood,” he says. “Every day there’s something new and it’s me taking that discovery and translating it into this piece of fiction around a couple who have a child by the name of Vaxis. As a father, and all of the fantastic stuff that comes with it and the things that you learn, I thought my personal experiences were valuable fuel for a new concept within the Amory Wars. Everything has a very realistic feel…it’s very personal to me and I feed it into these characters who are experiencing it in a different time and a different world.”