#1


Born on August 19, 1980, in Kingston New York, Michael Robert 'Mic' Todd has been playing with the various incarnations of Coheed and Cambria for over half his life.

He was introduced to guitarists Claudio Sanchez and Travis Stever but drummer Nate Kelley upon the departure of Shabutie's original bassist Jon Carleo. He picked up bass to join this new band who achieved some local success but decided to start afresh after Sanchez's life-changing trip to Paris. Kelley left the group; Josh Eppard replaced him, and the quartet was complete. Coheed and Cambria was born!

Since then, the band has released four studio albums, five EPs and three live DVDs. Signed to Columbia Records, with single 'Welcome Home' featured on Rock Band, and with their music videos bombarding the airwaves, there is no way that anyone could avoid Coheed, or their awe-inspiring bassist Mic. This made his departure from the band in 2006 even more shocking. With his heroin addiction making touring nearly impossible, his departure allowed him to check into rehab and 'sort his life out'. Luckily, he recovered in time to rejoin the band (and new drummer Chris Pennie) to record their latest album 'Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV: Volume Two: No World For Tomorrow' and rock out on the career-spanning live set: 'Neverender'.



Mic's role in Coheed and Cambria is vital as the foil for Eppard and then Pennie's intense drumming styles and Sanchez and Stever's intricate and progressive guitar lines. He provides the groove within the prog and some backing vocals - he's got a mean scream on him, but also a powerful falsetto (notably on 'The Suffering' - using a falsetto voice as the original lines were sung by a female friend of the band - until the band hired its two female session backing singers to handle such vocal lines).

So what's next for Mic? He's revealed in this interview that in some Coheed downtime he'll be working on a solo project, planned to be more folky and simplistic that The Prize Fighter Inferno or The Davenport Cabinet, Sanchez and Stever's side-projects. Those of us at the Neverender shows were given a preview when he sang Carmelita with Sanchez on 'soulful harmonies and backing vocals' and it appears that Mic is the only member of the band with a deep singing voice, and his is indeed sonorous and citing such infleunces as Ani DiFranco and Ingrid Michaelson, it seems like an exciting project.



Mic's playing style is varied and ballsy, but also subtle. He's a fingerstyle bassist, generally using two fingers for most basslines, although since 2007 has been known to play with three and four fingers during fills and improvisations. He will slap, double thump, and flick his bass strings in a curious way while using his thumb to provide a percussive attack but with more speed than merely slapping can often provide.

He has never been afraid to bust out the root notes on recordings (eg 'Blood Red Summer') but will augment them with complex fills (eg 'The Hound (Of Blood and Rank)', 'Welcome Home') and lots of 5ths, 3rds and octaves. He will often arpeggiate chords played by Sanchez and Stever and during riffwork, will sometimes play a counter melody that either provides harmony ('Good Apollo I: The Writing Writer', 'The Willing Well II: Fear Through The Eyes of Madness') or emphasises the drums ('No World For Tomorrow, 'The Running Free').

Live, Mic tends to deviate from his recorded basslines and will improvise heavily, especially during guitar soloes or during other jamfests such as 'The Willing Well IV: The Final Cut'. These improvisations are where he'll bring out more advanced techniques, the double-thumping, eight-finger tapping and tapped harmonics (this video is an excellent example or this, and Jaco Pastorius' heavy influence upon his playing style).

Mic appears to like a very ballsy, percussive tone that also brings plenty of warmth through the mix. His playing style contribute greatly to this.

Throughout the years, Mic has played a variety of basses, preferring Spectors up until his 2006 departure from Coheed.

* Rebop4: fretted four-string bass guitar, orange in color. Called "Amber" by Spector.


It is of the bolt-on construction, with two passive EMG-HZ bass humbuckers and a Spector "Tone Pump" active preamp and EQ. It was made in the Czech Republic and has black hardware with a phenolic nut (a black nut). This bass was used mainly during the Second Stage Turbine Blade and most of the In Keeping Secrets era. This bass can be seen on the Live at the Starland Ballroom DVD.

* Euro 4 LX: A fretted four-string bass guitar with a natural maple oil finish.

It is of the neck-thru construction, with two EMG pickups, one P style and one J style pickup (the P at the neck position and the J at the bridge position). It has the same Tone Pump circuitry as the ReBop. Its hardware is finished in gold and has a brass nut. This was Mic's bass of choice in the Good Apollo Volume 1 era. This bass has been used since the 'Good Apollo...' era and can be seen in the videos 'Welcome Home' and 'The Suffering.' He is also known to own a Black Cherry EuroLX 4. It can be seen in the 'Ten Speed (Of God's Blood And Burial)' video.

* Q4: A fretless four-string bass guitar in a black stain finish. It is the same bolt-on construction as the Rebop, and has the same pickups, hardware, nut, and electronics. The Q4 is the prequel series of basses to the current "Legend" Spector series. It is used mainly for recording, very rarely showing up at live performances.

* Mic also played an acoustic bass for some shows. I am unable to personally identify it (some help would be nice) but I think it's a Tacoma Thunderchief.

Since rejoining the band, Mic fully endorses Fender basses, favouring a cherry red P-Bass (white pickguard) for the 2007 Vans Warped Tour although this hasn't been since in action since.

* Geddy Lee Jazz Bass: A fretted four-string bass guitar in a black finish.

It has two Vintage Jazz Bass Single-Coil Pickups (stock). In the 'Live at the Starland Ballroom' DVD, Todd is seen using this bass to play 'A Favor House Atlantic-. He just recently removed the pickguard to give it an all black look.

* American Jazz Bass in alpine white, kept stock pickups ('The Running Free' music video)

Mic also owns (and now plays almost exclusively) three Highway 1 Jazz Basses - two in black (red tortoiseshell pickguards).



Mic has replaced all the bridges on his Fender basses and replaced them with BadAssII bridges. During acoustic sets, he uses his electric Fenders.

Since 'Good Apollo... I', Coheed have played in Eb standard tuning live (although they recorded 'Good Apollo... II' in E standard), and all Mic's basses are tuned as such, although he will downtune to drop-C# for songs recorded in drop-D ('Everything Evil', 'Gravemakers and Gunslingers', 'Time Consumer' etc.).

I don't know much about Mic's gear, only that he owns some kind of pedal tuner and that he plays through Ampeg stacks. I don't know what head he uses but he plays out of two 8x10 cabs.

So this is the great and influential bassist that is Mic Todd. Please check out all the Coheed and Cambria song's I've mentioned - they all provide great examples of Mic's playing. If you want more, please take a listen to:

'21:13'
'The End Complete: V: On The Brink'
'Neverender'
and indeed, all the live footage from the 'Neverender' DVD.

Thanks for reading.
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#3
This article makes me happy.

I've been a huge Coheed fan since like 2004, and this article taught me a few things. You rock, Felkara.
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#4
i love mic todds playing, ten speed was the first full song on bass that i learnt, and he's been a great example to me for what a bassist should be ever since.

great thread man
#5
Quote by Deliriumbassist
The Neverender boxset, whilst costing me a sh*tload, is fantastic.


Children Of The Fence Edition: Best birthday present ever - it's one of my most favourite things that I own that doesn't produce muic when you cause bits of it to vibrate.

Should I update this with some Mic trivia?
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#6
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I'm sorry.

I love that picture.


Mic Todd is a great bass player, very melodically groovy.

didn't know he improvised live, that's totally awesome.
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#7
Quote by Felkara
Children Of The Fence Edition: Best birthday present ever - it's one of my most favourite things that I own that doesn't produce muic when you cause bits of it to vibrate.

Should I update this with some Mic trivia?


I use the Dragonfly as a Dragonflymarang.

Aye, throw in some Mic trivia, or we could do a quiz thing- your BOTM, your call.

Anyways, Mic was a big influence on me, especially during my previous band Siren City. Even with two guitarists, it's still possible to make yourself known, whilst serving the song and not muddy the thing up. I also took his cue of improvising lines live- that way, the music becomes very personal, and every gig is different. Mic is a huge testament to that way of playing, and a very understated modern bass hero.
#8
I've never really gotten into Coheed and Cambria, and after reading that, I realised it's about time I did. Thanks!
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#10
You know I've never been a big fan of Coheed, but Mic Todd has good taste in basses, and is a good bassist in general from what I've heard of him.
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#12
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very well done Felkara. Mic Todd now has a new fan. thank you!


Everyone should be his fa - the man is a funky funky genius. And he plays flipcup!!
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#13
I wanna be like him, minus the facial hair.
I don't know what I'm doing, but I still do it anyway...


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#14
I love this band and would die to see them live tbh missed my chance of seeing em on the Kerrang Tour 2008 as i didnt have cash which sucked to no end.

His playing is just in a world of its own to be totally honest and its just amazing to listen to Coheed albums as the bass really kicks through i love it on Welcome home even though its root note it really shines.

Also this topics put me in a mighty bad mood to listen to Coheed and break out the live DVD i have aint watched it in ages and its badass xD.
Guitar Gear
Guitar: Ibanez GRG140 (black)
Amp:Peavey Vypyr 75


Bass Gear
Bass: Fender P-bass MIM,Peavey Millenium 5 BXP (x2),Epiphone Thunderbird
Amp:Ampeg PF500 w PF210 cab
Pedals: ODB-3,Big Muff.
#15
Nice one mate, very enjoyable read.

I'm a big Mic Todd fan and he is a massive influence on my playing style and sound.
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#16
Yes! I love Mic Todd! Hes not only an influence on my playing but the reason I took off my pickguard on my Geddy Lee Jazz Bass.
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#17
Some random Mic trivia:

He, along with his other band members, like to play Flipcup (the most awesome drinking game ever!).
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#19
Awesome article man. Mic is definitely one of the more exciting bass players round today, he's a big influence on me.
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