The Untold Truth Of Coheed And Cambria

Coheed and Cambria have been melting faces for a couple of decades now. The Nyack, New York-based band's core lineup of Claudio Sanchez on vocals, guitars, and keyboards as well as Travis Stever on guitars and vocals has remained largely unchanged since the 1990s, even as other members have come and gone, as Westword reported.

However, Coheed and Cambria are not like the Strokes, the Shins, or any of the multitude of other rock bands performing and recording these days. Indeed, the band is, by some measures, the lone standard-bearer of an artistic medium that came and went in the 1970s and 1980s. Further, their eclectic style draws on a wide variety of influences, from prog rock, to pop, to post-hardcore, according to Allmusic. And fans are less likely to meet them backstage — the traditional way fans could get close to their music idols — than they are at a comic book convention.

And finally, no one named "Coheed" or "Cambria" has ever performed in the band. Inasmuch as those names belong to fictional characters, there very likely never will be anyone by those names among the group's lineup.

This is the untold story of Coheed and Cambria.

Coheed and Cambria lean heavily into a decades-old art form

For a while in the 1970s (and, to a lesser extent, the 1980s), there was no escaping progressive (or prog) rock. The definition of the art form largely depends on whom you ask, but in general, as The Manual explains, progressive rock can be compared to high school.

"If rock music were high school, you'd likely find the prog-rock kids sketching on their binders in calculus," the website noted. Explained further, prog rock relies on complex instrumentation, incorporation of multiple influences, the blending of styles, and a host of other forms of artistry.

Along with prog rock came the so-called "concept album." Think of Styx's "Kilroy Was Here" album: Though the record produced hit singles, such as "Mr. Roboto," each song fit into a larger narrative, with the lyrics to any one track forming a snippet of a larger story.

What does this have to do with Coheed and Cambria? Everything, really. For starters, the band takes some of its influence from prog rock. And as for concept albums, every Coheed and Cambria album, with one exception, is not only itself a concept album, but all the albums (save for the exception) fit into an even larger narrative.

Coheed and Cambria's music tells a story that lead singer Claudio Sanchez wrote

As Westword reports, Coheed and Cambria lead vocalist Claudio Sanchez wrote "The Amory Wars," a series of science fiction stories, which have themselves been adapted into comic books and a novel. Coheed and Cambria, as a band, are an extension of those stories, and each of the band's albums tells a part of the overarching narrative in Sanchez's story.

Indeed, even the name of the band comes from the names of two characters in Sanchez's story.

"I loosely based the characters of Coheed and Cambria after myself and my significant other at that moment. But as I started to really write songs and flesh out the ideas of the story, Coheed and Cambria really started to take on the likenesses of my mother and father," Sanchez said, via

Further, some of Coheed and Cambria's iconography comes from the storyline in Sanchez's works. For example, a sketch of circles and a triangle known as "The Keywork," which adorns the band's memorabilia, is a reference to the planets in Sanchez's fictional universe.

Though "The Amory Wars" is fictional, there is a small bit of Sanchez himself in there, he told Twin Cities Geek.

"I play a character in the story. Kind of accidentally, because I ended up singing my name in a song ['Everything Evil'] and I guess I kind of had to make a character after," he said.

When Coheed and Cambria released a non-concept album, fan reaction was mixed

Back in 2015, Coheed and Cambria took a marked departure from "The Amory Wars" narrative and released their first (and, so far, last) record that wasn't a concept album. As Westword reported, not only did the band ditch its concept for "The Color Before the Sun," they also updated their sound, ditching elements of prog rock in favor of a more pop-friendly sound.

"The concept is just not there this time," Travis Stever said tersely of the album.

Fans weren't sure what to think, he noted.

"The decision to stray may have taken some of our heavy-duty, cult following fans by surprise, for sure," he said, adding that most of the group's core fans stuck by them during this departure from their signature sound. "Every Coheed record is very different, though, and with every record we try to throw a curveball at them. With this one, it's the lyrics, because it's coming from a real-life standpoint."

You might run into Coheed and Cambria members at a comic book convention

By and large, rock 'n' roll is associated more with face-melting guitar solos and backstage groupies and less with cosplay, geekdom, and Q&A panels. Not so for Coheed and Cambria, however. Since the group is effectively the musical extension of a science fiction story, it's not surprising that members of the band sometimes turn up at comic book conventions.

What's more, since Claudio Sanchez's wife, Chondra Echert, is herself a writer of comic books, it's not unlikely that one or the other or both of them may man a booth at a comic book convention.

As Chondra told Comics Verse in 2017, sometimes fans approach her and/or her husband wanting answers about characters and stories.

"We've had enough interaction with fans over the years that we kind of know what they're looking for, regarding things that were unanswered or characters that didn't get enough time," she said.

Claudio, for his part, said that he welcomes that chance to interact with fans in this setting.

"It's certainly rewarding ... I think the goal is to try to bridge out to as many fans as possible," he said.

The Amory Wars

Written by Coheed and Cambria lead singer Claudio Sanchez with art by Rags Morales and published by Evil Ink Comics (via Boom Studios), "The Amory Wars" comic series is the basis for the band's studio albums. In fact, each Coheed and Cambria studio record tells a chapter of "The Amory Wars."

Beginning with the band's 2002 debut, "The Second Stage Turbine Blades," "The Amory Wars" comic book is a science fiction tale that spans time and space (via Invisible Oranges). First published in 2004 and comprised of three volumes, "The Amory Wars" is set in a place called Heaven's Fence. A collection of 78 planets and seven stars, Heaven's Fence is held together by energy called "Keywork." The story of the Amory Wars relates the struggles of main characters Coheed and Cambria Kilgannon as they face off against the evil Wilhelm Ryan, known as the Supreme Tri-Mage, who declared war on Heaven's Fence.

The story of Coheed and Cambria Kilgannon

Taking place over five story arcs, in this case five of Coheed and Cambria's studio albums, titled "The Second Stage Turbine Blade"; "In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3"; "Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness"; "Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow"; and "Vaxis – Act 1: The Unheavenly Creatures," each arc focuses on another part of Heaven's Fence. "The Second Stage Turbine Blade," for instance, focuses on the characters of Coheed and Cambria Kilgannon. It's three subsequent sequels, however, relate the tale of Claudio Kilgannon, the son of Coheed and Cambria. The story arc focuses on Claudio becoming "The Crowning," a savior who was fore-told would bring about peace in Heaven's Fence.

"Vaxis – Act 1: The Unheavenly Creatures," released in 2018, meanwhile returns the tale back to the original "Amory Wars" story. A planned five-episode arc, the new story focuses instead on the tale of "Creature" and "Sister Spider," both who have been sentenced to the prison planet located within Heaven's Fence called the Dark Sentence. In an interview with Metal Sucks in 2020, Claudio Sanchez revealed the band is hard at work on the follow-up to "Vaxis I," tentatively called "Vaxis II."

Enter Mark Walhberg and a potential screen production

Back in 2012, actor Mark Walhberg took an interest in Coheed and Cambria and The Amory Wars. Teaming up with fellow producer Stephen Levinson, Walhberg enlisted the help of Leverage Production company to bring the story to the screen. Claudio Sanchez described the story to The Hollywood Reporter. "I think the story is pretty universal in terms of the themes and the subplots. I think people can find a character they can connect to or find as their favorite," he said of the project. "And they can get behind the main character as well. It's a universal story and I think it's going to draw a bigger audience than just the band's. I think it has already."

Unfortunately, though, production stalled over the ensuing years with Wahlberg giving a brief update in a video for GQ on the project in 2017. Stating that he has "no news on the status yet" and has remained mum on the project ever since. However, according to CBR, fans of the band and the story have taken matters into their own hands, starting a petition on to have Netflix produce either a movie or a long form series based on the property. As of this writing, the petition has over 28,000 signatures of the 35,000 it is looking to garner.

Travis Stever side projects

"The Amory Wars" comic book isn't Claudio Sanchez's only other project. In October 2006, Sanchez released a solo album called "My Brother's Blood Machine." It was a concept album released using the moniker The Prize Fighter Inferno (also known as Jesse from "The Amory Wars") and takes place before the events in "The Amory Wars" saga. After releasing two follow-up EPs in 2011 ("Beaver Records") and 2012 ("Half Measures"), Sanchez took an eight-year break between chapters of The Prize Fighter Inferno arc, releasing the "Stray Bullets" EP in 2020 and a full album called "The City Introvert" in 2021, per NextMosh.

Claudio Sanchez isn't the only one in Coheed and Cambria working on solo projects on the side, however. Guitarist Travis Stever has had a number of projects cooking on the back burners while playing in Coheed and Cambria. In 2005, Stever formed a side band called Fire Deuce (via Evil Ink). An '80s style metal band, Fire Deuce featured Stever on lead vocals, as well as the guitar work he is known for in Coheed and Cambria. Releasing their debut EP "Children of the Deuce" in May 2005, the band would release a follow-up EP in 2007 titled "Deep Down and Dirty." After a decade-long break, Fire Deuce got back together in 2020, much like many other artists during the pandemic, and recorded a new EP called "Lords of Diesel."

The Davenport Cabinet

Just like Claudio Sanchez, one side project just is not enough for Travis Stever. In 2007, Stever formed the band Davenport Cabinet. Originally called The English Panther, after their first studio album, Stever changed the name of the band to Davenport Cabinet. Reportedly hating the fact that he named the project The English Panther, Stever later decided upon Davenport Cabinet. The name is purportedly based on the Davenport Brothers, a pair of 19th century magicians best known for the illusions they claimed to be supernatural in nature, according to Occult World.  

A departure from the hard rocking sound of Coheed and Cambria and Fire Deuce, Davenport Cabinet offers up an eclectic mix of indie rock, which can be described as folk with a generous shot of classic rock (via Equal Vision). From their debut album, "The English Panther" in 2007, Davenport Cabinet released five additional records through 2016, the last being an EP called "Selfish Angels."

Coheed and Cambria plan to join their fans on a Caribbean cruise in 2021

Following the mixed reaction to their non-concept album, Coheed and Cambria returned to their roots with the Neverender Tour, a nationwide concert tour in which the group would play all of their concept albums, beginning to end, at each concert.

As NextMosh reported, the band was able to pull off four concerts before the COVID-19 pandemic put the kibosh on the tour and, well, just about everything else.

However, as of May 3, 2021, it appears as if the band have come upon a way of delivering the tour to fans in a rather unusual way. Specifically, as the band reports on its website, with the hope that both international travel and travel on cruise ships will be a thing again come October 2021, the band will take over the Norwegian Cruise Lines vessel Norwegian Gem and temporarily re-brand it S.S. Neverender for a one-off Coheed and Cambria-themed cruise to The Bahamas.

"We'll be One Among the Ship for this fantastic four-day voyage featuring never-before and never-again performances (playing surprising songs from the Early Years and Deep Cuts), as well as interactive 'The Amory Wars' experiences, Coheed motif and cosplay, games and activities with band members, live Q&A sessions, and multiple performances from our curated lineup," the band said.