Coheed & Cambria: Neverender Shows 'Celebrate' Armory Wars' Album Series

Claudio Sanchez recently gave us more insight into the planning behind the Neverender Tour and what we can expect from the prequel album.

Coheed & Cambria: Neverender Shows 'Celebrate' Armory Wars' Album Series
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As the frontman of Coheed & Cambria, Claudio Sanchez has proven himself to be as much of a science fiction guru as your run-of-the-mill musician. It's true that he may have originally caught fans attention for seeming a bit of a dichotomy (that impressive mane of hair, imposing stature, and hauntingly high vocals are quite the combo), but it's his unceasing creativity that has earned him consistent critical and fan praise. For the past 10 years he's been the crafting The Armory Wars, a series that is the driving force and storyline behind Coheed & Cambria's last 4 albums. There's a long-awaited prequel to the series that will be recorded in 2009, but Sanchez and the band decided to take a few more opportunities to celebrate the work they've created so far. Back in October fans from New York and Chicago were lucky enough to see Coheed & Cambria play a 4-night concert series called Neverender, in which the band would play one album for each night. Upset you missed it? Take heart. The band has a few more dates lined up, with shows in London (12/1-12-4) on the calendar. When Sanchez recently spoke with Ultimate-Guitar, he gave us more insight into the planning behind the Neverender Tour and what we can expect from the prequel album. UG: Neverender seems like it would be quite the live spectacle. How did the idea of doing a 4-night concert series originally develop? Claudio: With having to plan all the albums in chronological order, it kind of came with the territory. It was always somewhere in the back of my mind, how to approach it. Then we were thinking of doing a festival that would take place in New York for the 5th anniversary of the first album. Anyway, the idea was to celebrate that album. There were some rough areas last year, and it wasn't the right time. When this year came about, we came to the end of the cycle and we were trying to figure out what to do next. Obviously, the prequel album is the next thing, but we thought, Why not try to do revisit all of our work before we dive into telling the story that came before all of this. The last record was kind of the closure album, so why not kind of celebrate that end?
"These shows are geared more towards the diehard Coheed fans."
I know that you've added a keyboard player and background vocals to the live show. Can we expect any other new aspects to the show? No. These shows are geared more towards the diehard Coheed fans. It's just bringing out the dimensions of what we do. There are visuals that will complement the story line. They may not necessarily be literal interpretations of the comic book, but there will be visuals for the story line for those fans who really get the idea and the concept. So yeah, we're incorporating the keyboard into all 4 nights. The backing vocals will be in the last 2. We had a percussionist who worked on the 3rd album, so he'll be performing on the 3rd night. It certainly gave that album a different texture. It's a weird thing. There is certainly a lot of planning on it. Did you alter the guitar arrangements in any particular way in order to bring the keyboards or percussion to the forefront? Nothing has been altered. We wanted the songs to be as true to the original as possible for the fans. I mean, they're coming to see the album as they've heard it. Sure, we've incorporated new things and that was just for us, to keep it fresh. But for the most part, all the arrangements are pretty much the same. Can you give us an idea of what you use for your standard setup during the live show? For me, I switch back and forth between a Bogner and a Vox AC30. I've also decided to incorporate a Fender Twin for a more crystal clear kind of sound. There are a lot of songs that call for a less dirty sound. Most of the time, I don't really rely on effects so much. I have a pedalboard, but I don't really use it all that much. Every once in a while I'll throw on a reverb and I have this little Ibanez analog delay. Sometimes I'll use the Line 6 modulation pedal, but that's not really to add to a song. They're just sound effects, really. They can create a mood or just act as a segueway between songs. Do you have one or two primary guitars that will be used for the Neverender shows? Yeah, definitely the Explorer. I've also brought out my old brown E2 that I used as my main guitar for a long time. I kind of put it aside and I had used it less over the past few years. So I kind of put in retirement. Now it's out of retirement. Did you just miss the overall tone? Yeah, and I feel it's important for her to be part of this event. For so long I played that guitar, and I wanted to bring that out.
"This time around we went through things that we hadn't experienced on our previous records."
You have some amazing acoustic work within both Coheed's material, as well as the Prize Fighter Inferno. Do you find yourself writing most of the songs on an acoustic? Yeah, for the most part in the past. A lot of the parts were definitely written on the acoustic. We will be doing an acoustic set on the last night for the VIP guests. I know the videographer has something special in mind for those guests. It will be something that's just not you're coming to see a band play and you're just sitting there. It will be more like an interactive kind of thing. We were kind of thinking about how to do things because we'll also film there. You'll be covering an album per night during the Neverender dates, but have you decided what you'll be playing during the acoustic set? I think it will be kind of a mish mesh of everything. A new producer (Nick Raskulinecz) was brought in for the album No World For Tomorrow. How much did that change the recording process? It definitely changed it a lot because we had only worked with one producer before. So it was a new experience for us. And it was certainly a big change because during the writing of the record, we had basically lost half of the band. So we basically broke out of that turmoil and moved forward with a new producer. Nick was a lot of fun because he had a very positive outlook on things. We had been through the ringer. Has it been a smooth transition with Chris Pennie (drums) joining the band? Chris is a true professional and he learned all of the parts. When he joined the band, he learned all the material. His style adds a little flavor to it, but it doesn't really alter it to where it's awkward. It feels very natural. From the blog posted on the Prize Fighter Inferno's MySpace page, I learned that the side project is indeed on hold for now. It was interesting to read that you not only wrote the newly posted song From China With Love in Paris, but you also developed the initial idea for Coheed & Cambria in France as well. Yeah. The song's sections were first developed in Paris when I was over there with my girlfriend at the time. She was studying there, so I was just kind of recording things and I eventually came up with this type of science fiction story. But that moment in time when I was recording it, that was when I kind of created the ideas behind the Coheed & Cambria saga. I actually wrote Time Consumer there as well. So yeah, that was like 10 years ago. I had all this time, so I went out and bought a guitar and starting working on songs. Your Paris days must have been a very creative time in your life. Yeah. I loved living in Paris.
"For the most part, I was just a guy with a guitar."
Has anything changed since the blog? Is the Prize Fighter Inferno still on hold indefinitely? Yeah, I mean right now I'm writing a lot for Coheed, and I've started to work out the prequel album. There have been songs that I come across that don't necessarily fit as a Coheed song. I just started compiling them and putting them aside for possible Prize Fighter songs. Can you give us an idea of what we'll hear on the Coheed & Cambria prequel album? Will it have a pretty similar style to the material on your latest album? I don't know. This time around we went through things that we hadn't experienced on our previous records. The first two albums, when I wrote those albums, I was living at my parents' house and I was kind of just working from 9 to 5. Well, by the time they were released, we had steady touring. For the most part, I was just a guy with a guitar. Really there was no drama in my life and it wasn't that complex. The next 2 records, there was a breakup and it kind of just destroyed my existence. That's how I went into making the album No World For Tomorrow. This time around, it's pretty settled personally. I have a feeling that it will definitely change the album and make it different. And knock on wood, my life can remain grounded. Do you have an estimated time that you'll be entering the studio again? I think possibly by spring or summer of next year. We're not too sure right now. We have a pretty big work load. As we've been preparing for Neverender, we're demoing material. We probably have about half an album's worth of material. We're just kind of taking our time with this one. On the side, you also came out with a toy to go along with your Kill Audio comic series. Is it pretty surreal to develop your own toy? Yeah. I'm a big fan of collector vinyl toys, and I wanted to make one. Originally we were going to go for something that didn't relate to me. But then I started thinking about the story, and it just worked. So it's all kind of fallen into place. We have the toy and the online comics. It's all kind of coming together. You mentioned earlier that there would be a videographer at the Neverender acoustic VIP sets. Will there be a DVD released soon after? Yeah, that's what we're planning on. We're documenting the rehearsals and the other parts of the show. That's the hope. I guess it all depends on how well we play! Interview by Amy Kelly Ultimate-Guitar.Com 2008

60 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    SpockTheRock
    Alright. Love Coheed. Cannot wait for this new album. Haven't seen 'em in concert yet, but I hope I will if they tour for their new album.
    slashfan414
    Higgs : Gelatinous wrote: Coheed should come to Britain more. And do a Neverender there, they'd get such a huge crowd! They are doing neverender in London. It says in the article.
    Dude, London is in Britain.
    Flying Afros
    I wasn't a fan until I saw them last year at Voodoo fest. They blew every other band out of the water. Fucking amazing. I don't like all their stuff, but they are so original and progressive.
    Mortsde
    Great Band. I like that they release the DVDs for those that are interested in picking them up. I saw them when they were on the Zumiez (spelling?) Couch Tour in Spokane WA right before they released Good Apollo and I was impressed, but that was before I really got into their music...I'd really like to see them again at some point! I wonder if he's ever going to leave the confines of his epic story or if they're kind of a one-trick-pony...Although, it's a damn impressive trick they're riding
    Bunyip
    I've heard a bit of coheed but reluctant to get into until i actually start with the first album. I love the whole concept this dvd sounds good too
    Gelatinous
    Coheed should come to Britain more. And do a Neverender there, it would bring in so many people.
    bombsquadjunky
    PedophilePriest wrote: Claudio mentions his old main guitar is an E2. Anyone know what that is?
    I'm pretty sure it's a Gibson Explorer. It's pretty much all he plays, so I imagine that's what it is
    Higgs
    Gelatinous wrote: Coheed should come to Britain more. And do a Neverender there, they'd get such a huge crowd!
    They are doing neverender in London. It says in the article.
    magnum1117
    sounds cool. im not big fan of coheed but good for them. (is this first??? for the first time?))
    AidanTDR
    i love Coheed & Cambria, especially how each album is a true progression. probably my favourite band
    Comeback Kiddd
    claudio reminds me of serj tankian back when he had the hair for mezmerize. :[ sad memories of soad
    tona_107
    kaosfire wrote: jwax wrote: yo that is going be one sick DVD concert!!! I thought the other two were amazing, but this is going to be FOUR concerts in one, with all of their songs, rehearsals and other bonus goodies (sometimes I think the "making of" bonuses are worth the price alone). =] cant wait.
    i don't even know/like coheed very much but that sounds awesome. i might buy it so i can check them out.
    evilonfire
    coheed is one of my biggest guitar influences, especially for my acoustic work. i saw them one time and it literally changed the way i play music. i so wish i had the money to go to even two of the shows. only problem is that even if i did, i have a hard as hell time deciding whether i'd go for SSTB and IKSSE3 or Good Apollo I and II
    Izzy_Bryce
    treflip wrote: It's Amory Wars, not Armory Wars.
    I KNEW somethin looked funny about that name!
    JamesxHetfield
    thefeedingend wrote: JamesxHetfield wrote: Favor house Alantic and Devil in Jersey City are pretty sick songs. other then that i havent heard much of these guys listen to their prog stuff, it's way better coheed rocks
    What would you consider their prg stuff (name some songs)
    wicked_hobbit
    Damn this is surely gonna heal the pain of not attending Neverender. Btw, nice to see their fan base growing. Back then Coheed news was filled with ignorant remarks about Claudio's hair and voice. Finally they get the recognition they deserve. My dad introduced me to Led Zeppelin and I would certainly introduce Coheed to my kids in the future.
    Tele Echoes
    I don't mind Claudio's hair, although I often find it hard to get passed his voice. I can't help but feel that his singing style is a bit too emo. I know you'll all disagree. That's just how I feel. Guns N Roses still kicked ass despite Axl having a shite voice, so don't worry. It's cool that the lead singer looks like a hairy gargoyle. Fudging tiz-ite!
    C&C Magik
    I haven't listened to Coheed in awhile, but I still think that they are my favorite band. The song writing is incredible, and I am def going to own this DVD when it comes out.
    kyshack
    Coheed and Cambria = Talent out the wazoo. Can't wait for the DVD
    supersolus666
    The_String_Man wrote: whats the guitar on the last pic??
    it's his custom minarik guitar he played it for the encore when i saw them
    lovinit056
    Yeah it's his custom made guitar, the Medusa as it's called I guess. I've been to 2 Coheed shows and haven't seen him use it . I'd kill to have seen Neverender in Chicago, Coheed is probably one of the best bands around when it comes to truly doing everything for the fans.
    Lion_Slicer
    I couldn't go see Neverender, so I've been listening to all the albums back-to-back and finding tons of new stuff to love about them. Coheed are a very in-depth musical experience, and I can't wait for the new album.
    jwax
    kaosfire wrote: I cannot wait for this DVD!
    yo that is going be one sick DVD concert!!!
    qotsa1998
    I was really hoping from the time it was announced that they would make a Neverender DVD. Hopefully they dont just include the acoustic sets, but also all the songs from the albums that they do live. Some songs that they rarely do live, like God Send Conspirator, and stuff that wasnt on the other 2 DVDs will be great to see live. His white Minarik is amazing, I wish there were more close-ups of the inlays, because there is sooo much put into them.
    SoftParade1967
    Awesome!! Neverender in NY was absolutly sick! I LOVE Coheed and Cambria! I also can't wait for the prequel album.
    kaosfire
    jwax wrote: yo that is going be one sick DVD concert!!!
    I thought the other two were amazing, but this is going to be FOUR concerts in one, with all of their songs, rehearsals and other bonus goodies (sometimes I think the "making of" bonuses are worth the price alone). =] cant wait.
    jayrock69
    After seeing CoCa at summerfest, then having them sign my cds, and then shaking claudio's hand... my life is complete you guys rock and I hope the next album goes well!!!!
    Viking_Swede666
    hmmmm....nto a huge fan of Coheed, but good for them although I really like the song The Suffering
    coheed1fan
    qotsa1998 wrote: I wish there were more close-ups of the inlays here's a youtube video of his Medusa. in part 2 you can see the inlays pretty good
    The_String_Man
    supersolus666 wrote: The_String_Man wrote: whats the guitar on the last pic?? it's his custom minarik guitar he played it for the encore when i saw them
    lovinit056 wrote: Yeah it's his custom made guitar, the Medusa as it's called I guess. I've been to 2 Coheed shows and haven't seen him use it . I'd kill to have seen Neverender in Chicago, Coheed is probably one of the best bands around when it comes to truly doing everything for the fans.
    thanks a lot!