Of comic books and rock groups

By Darren Young

No matter what the comic books say, it is no easy feat to kill Coheed and Cambria. After suffering through an immensely rocky period in their history, the band has found new life in their latest concept album installment Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World For Tomorrow. The band has also added ex-Dillinger Escape Plan drummer Chris Pennie. Though the protagonists of Claudio Sanchez’s pseudo-biblical, musical science fiction saga The Amory Wars were pronounced dead long ago, the band of the same name is alive, well and ready to take over the universe.

“There are a lot of things that excite me about this band right now,” says Pennie. “This is probably the happiest time of my life. We have a lot of fun when we’re playing, we’re relaxed and there’s no drama. Things are never so sweet without the bitter.”

Coheed first ran into trouble while on tour in 2006 when drummer Josh Eppard and bassist Michael Todd suddenly left the band. Todd eventually rejoined the group just in time to record No World For Tomorrow, but, due to management and contractual issues, Pennie was unable to play on the album. He was forced to sit on the sidelines while the band recorded, handing his drumsticks over to resident Foo Fighters beat-dropper Taylor Hawkins.

“The way that I look at it, you have to make certain sacrifices to get to where you want to be,” says Pennie. “To me it was very important to be a part of this band. You want to get along with the people you are with, and with Dillinger it just wasn’t happening. It became bitter and that was the climactic point of the way everything went, but they got a new drummer and now I’m able to play and tour with Coheed.”

Pennie is not the only new face in the band. Coheed and Cambria has also expanded its touring roster from four to seven, with the addition of a full-time keyboardist and two backup vocalists. This significantly impacted their most recent performances, leaving some fans dejected and skeptical towards the presence of the new musicians. The band, however, is thrilled to have more support on stage with their new layer of sound.

“They really fatten up the sound,” says Pennie. “The girls are really adding to the harmonies of what Claudio is doing and the keyboardist is really playing a lot of parts. [The fans] will see how sonically big it is.”

With their lineup solidified, Coheed and Cambria are in the preliminary stages of writing material for their next record. The new offering is set to be the final chapter in The Amory Wars and a prequel to the four albums already released by the band. Having already penned the quintessential soundtrack to their comic book version of Revelations and the end of all life on No World For Tomorrow, it is now time for the band to channel their inner Phil Collins to create the soundtrack for the Coheed and Cambria universe’s Genesis.

Coheed and Cambria hit Mac Hall Ballroom on May 24. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.

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