Rock and Roll Cleveland Style

Allan Lamb

Photo Courtesy of Coheed

Credit: Ron Soltys

Forget Halloween. Skip downtown and head to Cleveland for a triple dose of rock assault.

On October 30 and 31, Coheed and Cambria will be headlining with rock veterans Clutch and prog-rock trio The Fall of Troy at the House of Blues Cleveland. The tour kicks off Monday in Toronto.

“I like Clutch. I’ve liked them for years,” said Travis Stever, lead guitarist of tour headliners Coheed and Cambria.

Why two dates? Stever explains it is to make up for the rain during their Warped Tour set in Cleveland during the summer.

“It was a rainy crazy day,” he said. “We just thought it was best because of what happened. We still played, but a lot of the fans had already left.”

For those unfamiliar with Coheed and Cambria, they are something of a mix of Iron Maiden, Rush, Pink Floyd, Queensr˜che, Dream Theater and Metallica.

“Between the four of us it’s such a wide range of music,” says Stever. “You name it, someone in the band probably listens to them.”

Although Stever did not mention any specific bands, they make several references to different bands in their song titles. “The Running Free,” the first single off of its new album Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume 2: No World for Tomorrow, is one word away from Iron Maiden’s “Running Free.” The hidden track on its second album In Keeping Secrets of the Silent Earth: 3 (2003) is titled “21:13,” a reference to Rush’s concept album 2112 (1976). Other than these titular references, the band’s lyrics are original.

Although Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins played drums in the recording of No World for Tomorrow, their new drummer, Chris Pennie, formerly of Dillinger Escape Plan, will play on the tour and in the studio from now on. Hawkins was made available by the album’s producer, Nick Raskulinecz, who also produced the Foo Fighter albums One by One and In Your Honor.

“Taylor worked with us very well,” Stever said. “He came in and played because Chris couldn’t because of label obligations [with his former label],” said Stever. “But the album was written with Chris.”

Like many other progressive rock groups, Coheed and Cambria’s albums are concept albums — they have a theme or tell a story. No World for Tomorrow, like their previous albums, is part of a single overarching story about Claudio Kilgannon (named after the band’s frontman Claudio Sanchez) who is called upon to save the universe from an evil mage. The band derives its name from the main character’s parents Coheed and Cambria Kilgannon. Parts of the story have been published as a series of comic books titled The Amory Wars (formerly The Bag Online Adventures).

“It’s the final chapter, end of the story,” Stever said. “This is volume two of chapter four. The next album is goes back to the beginning. It goes two, three, four, then one.”

The story is obviously fiction, but it is based on truth.

“There are numerous different personal things scattered in there from all of our lives,” says Stever, who has known Sanchez since they were 12 years old. “Especially on this album . things that have happened this past year came out in this album.”

Although its next album is intended to be the last pertaining to the storyline, the band will remain together and keep their name.

“If a fan wants to get involved, the story is the best way, but first and foremost we’re a rock band,” said Stever. “We could just write a rock record, or Claudio could have more lyrics about this story. It’s all up in the air.”

Contact all reporter Allan Lamb at [email protected].