Music & Nightlife

Coheed and Cambria opts for reality in new album

Coheed and Cambria. Claudio Sanchez is the one with the crazy hair.
Coheed and Cambria. Claudio Sanchez is the one with the crazy hair.

After 20 years working within an alternate universe that exists inside its songs and frontman Claudio Sanchez’s comic books, Coheed and Cambria dropped the bomb its fans probably always expected was coming. Its new album, “The Color Before the Sun,” steps outside of Coheed’s fictional world and into Sanchez’s.

“A lot of the music I write is very much about me. Even the ones that have the concept involved. I just have this shy, apprehensive way of being a frontman, where I took my life and I decided to construct a piece of fiction around it to hide and use a mask,” says Sanchez, calling from his Brooklyn apartment. “Because of the things I’d gone through before writing ‘The Color Before the Sun,’ I’m definitely more comfortable who I am. Less insecure than maybe I was when I started the concept.”

The band was more than happy to step out of the world of fantasy.

“For a long time some of the guys didn’t truly understand the concept. They knew where the songs were coming from. They lived with me. It was a little perplexing and jarring for them to grasp the concept when they knew where the songs were coming from,” Sanchez explains. “When I came up with this idea of pulling the veil, everyone was excited.”

The idea to draw from his own life more literally was sparked by a move to the city.

He and his wife and frequent collaborator Chondra Echert were living in rural upstate New York, where Sanchez didn’t have to worry about disturbing his neighbors.

“For creativity, it’s amazing. In terms of stimulation and culture, there’s not a lot. You have to drive to the nearest Walmart or Target. Here, you step outside and you got it,” he says. Yet the change in setting altered the way he worked.

“I had a loss of identity because I couldn’t see what kind of record I was making. It didn’t fall within the lines as a typical Coheed record, so much so that I started to consider it a solo record. A lot of it had to do with the apartment. It wasn’t until we found out we were going to have Atlas (his now 19-month-old son) that everything came into focus.”

Two songs directly address his family. “Here to Mars” was written about Echert. “Atlas” followed before his son was born.

“It’s just a song about the inevitability of having to leave him. I wanted something that mirrored whatever that was going to be. I knew it would be tough, and it is now that he’s here,” he says.

When he’s not touring, recording, writing or guesting at comic conventions, he’s home with Atlas, who is discovering music.

“Any time the guitar gets picked up, he’s interested,” he says. “We have a nice weighted-key electric piano. It has a few demo songs inside it. ‘Nocturne No. 9’ – that famous piano solo – happens to be his jam at the moment. He loves the Coheed record. We’ll put it on for him as he eats dinner. When the ‘ahs’ come up, he’ll stop eating.”

Coheed and Cambria

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Where: The Fillmore, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd.

Tickets: $29.50.

Details: 704-916-8970; www.fillmorecharlottenc.com.

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