Coheed and Cambria has fans from here to Mars.
The New York progressive rock act has built a large and dedicated following from a series of conceptual albums based on The Amory Wars, a science-fiction series initially dreamed up by Coheed vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist Claudio Sanchez as a metaphoric mask that made confessional songwriting and storytelling more comfortable.
Coheed plays with Saves the Day and Polyphia 7 p.m. Sept. 24 at Diamond Ballroom, 8001 S. Eastern Ave.
The bands last album, The Color Before the Sun, was released in October. It is Coheeds first departure from the Amory Wars concept and has a brighter tone compared to much of the acts previous work.
Josh Eppard, Coheeds drummer on all but two studio albums, told Oklahoma Gazette that while the new project is not necessarily indicative of what Coheeds music will sound like in the future, it was a refreshing change of pace for a unit that has performed together for several decades.
Eppard left Coheed in 2006 to deal with his own drug addiction and rejoined the group in 2011.
In a recent Gazette phone interview, the drummer discussed fans, new music and what Coheed means to him.
Oklahoma Gazette: Coheed and Cambria recently returned from a tour in Europe. Do you still get excited when you leave the country for tour?
Josh Eppard: Its an extremely exciting opportunity. Weve done it so many times now, but its certainly not old hat. Every time, its new and exciting. ... Its life-altering humbleness that comes from it. Youre humbled by the fact that youre so far away from home and there are these people here who appreciate what you do. Its incredibly gratifying and amazing.
OKG: Coheed and Cambria is known for having a very passionate fan base. Why do you think that is?
JE: In a perfect world, Id like to think that its because Coheed and Cambria has struck a chord and spoke to people in a way that was special to them. Thats the greatest honor that any artist or any band could ever have. When we were kids living in a van ... we were like, Get in the van, were going to go see the world! ... We felt like what we were doing was really special and it spoke to us, but theres not a band out there that doesnt feel like what theyre doing is really special.
OKG: Does making the Coheed music speak to you in any way? Youve had experience in and out of the band.
JE: I dont know if I ever would have gotten sober if it wasnt for [2007s Good Apollo, Im Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow]. I think Claudio, in a lot of ways, was speaking to me through that record, and it forced me almost to look at my life. To say the songs spoke to me is the understatement of the year because they spoke to me in such a powerful way. Not only did I love the songs and I love that record, but a lot of the times, hes speaking about me directly, so it forced me to look at things from his perspective. Those songs are extremely important to me, whether I played on them or not.
OKG: Do you remember when you realized The Color Before the Sun was going to have a different approach for the band, or did you realize that all along?
JE: I dont know if I can pinpoint the exact time, but before we recorded that record, we all got together in Claudios basement in his house ... where hes got tons of demo recordings and written a lot of stuff. Its this beautiful house not in the middle of nowhere, but its pretty secluded. ... We got together just as a band and started playing the tunes, and I was like, OK, this is Coheed, but this is definitely not nearly as dark. There are dark elements there, but its definitely not quite as dark. ... I think its amazing if, on your eighth record, you can kind of turn the page and do something that feels fresh and not make the same record.
OKG: Does it feel different to you in any way to play the new stuff?
JE: Any time you have a band, they love playing their new stuff. You know why? Because they havent played it 10 gazillion times, so its fun again and its fresh. You have to pay attention. ... Any time you have a new record, theres like a youthfulness in the performance that, dare I say, you dont always get with some of the older songs. I love A Favor House Atlantic I love playing Welcome Home, but the fact is weve played those songs a gazillion times. Songs like Island or Eraser or The Audience or Peace to the Mountain off the new record are still fresh and exciting, and I think that translates to the crowd.
This record was a curveball. I think its safe to say at this point and this juncture in Coheed and Cambrias lineage, Expect the unexpected. If you think were about to do something, were probably going to do the opposite.
OKG: Does it feel different being in the band now than it did back in the early 2000s? There have been a number of changes.
JE: Yeah. Im not on cocaine and heroin, so it is quite a bit different. Its so much better now than it was then. I didnt know how to enjoy this. I didnt know how to not take this for granted. I dont mean to paint myself like this snot-nosed kid that didnt give a shit about anything; I just didnt know how to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that wed been gifted.
Somebody said to me once, Its up to you whether this sucks and is a total drag or if its amazing. At some point, thank God, it registered with me and I understood that its up to me.
Print headline: Changing course, Coheed and Cambrias Josh Eppard confronted addiction to return to the band and find peace.