I’ve written about musicians and artists that have inspired me and pushed me to create in the past, Mod Sun, Watsky, G-Eazy before he was a total knob, He is Legend + a handful of others but none of them stand out or have been more influential than Coheed & Cambria. They have propelled my creativity since I first found them back in the early 2000’s. I remember the day clearly. Back in 2003 I was ambling around my house cleaning or playing video games or something and I had a playlist running on YouTube, where I heard this crazy band that was doing shit I couldn’t comprehend musically. Their guitars felt out of sync with the vocals and it was all so technical and intricate. I fell in love immediately. They had fed me something that I would crave for the rest of my life.
Only problem was, shortly after this in a turn of events you’d think I would write into a novel, our computer powered down and I panicked because I thought it was my fault. When I finally got it up and running again I couldn’t remember the name of the band, or the song that was playing. I could only remember portions of the lyrics and a chanting sequence at the end of the song that was stuck in my head for months, I don’t actually think it ever left..
“Man your battlestations. We’ll have you dead pretty soon.”
I googled them over and over for the next couple of years, trying desperately to find the band again. It wasn’t until one year, 2005 I believe, that I found them once more and all of my dreams had come about. That first taste of Coheed had actually made me the music encyclopedia that I am today, because I ripped through hundreds of thousands of songs in an attempt to find them but was just never quite in the right place. Still, I found a ton of bands along the way that I still love to this day.
Then my parents gave me a PSP one year, it came with a couple demo games and a multimedia disk with music videos and clips from television shows on it. There was something by Nelly, a song that had Beyoncé in it, a damn good Nickelback jam and “Blood Red Summer” by Coheed and Cambria. I listened through the videos until I got to them and thought to myself.
“Damn, that is a cool name for a band.”
As soon as it started playing I was suddenly two years in the past jamming out to the song on my computer again. It had the same vibe as before, the same feelings and the vocalist was so unique he couldn’t be mistaken for someone else. I scrambled to tell my mom and dad and they just nodded at me. They might have understood my love of music and my passion, but they didn’t understand what Coheed & Cambria was doing to me. I didn’t even understand the feeling myself. I listened to that song on repeat until I drained the battery in my PSP.
It was a few months later that we were wandering around in Salt Lake City that we stopped into a Best Buy, I was thumbing around the albums and found the first piece of their music I had ever purchased. “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3” I ran up to my mom begging her to get it for me. Pleading with her, promising any manner of chores or work or repayment so that she would gift me the album. She agreed and there it was. I watched the clerk pick it up from my hands and he looked at me.
“Coheed and Cambria? I’ve never heard of them.”
I looked up at him and nodded, opening my mouth to speak, to enlighten him.
“They are everything. They are the best band in the world. Their music hits me in a way I can’t explain to anyone. They will change your life.”
But I didn’t say anything. No one yet had understood what that band had meant to me. Why would this random college kid care? He was just trying to make a paycheck.
So I walked out with my parents, my fingers twitching, begging to wrap themselves around the case and dig open the plastic. To feel the CD and read the lyric booklet.
Once we got on the road home I finally had the chance to do just that. I jammed the CD into my Walkman and closed my eyes listening to it on the drive home.
It was… incredible.
I was taken to a world I couldn’t describe as I listened. Within my mind stories and dreams were playing out because of the lyrics, all set to the sounds of the band. It was one of the times in my life I recognized immediately as pure, unbridled joy. I could not have been happier. Their music felt like coming home after a long day, before I even knew what leaving home in the first place would be like.
Years passed and I picked up all of their albums as they released. By the time I graduated high school I had all of their albums and memorized the lyrics to every one up to date, and had still never gone to one of their concerts despite how much I loved the band.
“Good Apollo I’m Burning Star IV Volume One, From Fear Through The Eyes of Madness” Was a gift from my parents one year for Christmas.
“Good Apollo I’m Burning Star IV Volume Two, No World For Tomorrow” was given to me by a friend’s girlfriend for Christmas.
“Year of the Black Rainbow” I had pre-ordered and waited for expectantly. When the album started with “One” I shivered. I can still feel the way my spine tingled in anticipation. When Claudio started singing “The Broken” I teared up.
“Second Stage Turbine Blade” was the final one I purchased, shortly after YotBR came out. Which was their first album. I had been a fan for so long and didn’t listen to their roots, not to mention Shabutie (save for the accent over the u cause lazy.) Which was a trip in and of itself.
I continued this way, listening to Coheed became one of my favorite things to do. I played through “The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess” to the tune of “No World For Tomorrow” and when I see either of them today, I think about the other and those memories of that winter in high school. Coheed & Cambria does something magical to me, I still can barely describe it. Their music inspires me in a way that no other can. It pushes my mind and gets me thinking. It is somehow horrifying, awe inspiring and hopeful all at the same time. A decade after I first heard them, they released the second part of their dual album “The Afterman” titled “Descension” which was the mood music for much of my first edition of The Darling Bones.
Coheed and Cambria had crafted so much of the way my creative mind thinks. They have been my number one inspiration for fourteen years now. I have a profound love for that band and those men that I cannot articulate to you in the way I feel that I need to. It is a strange love too, apparently, as all through my life I have met exactly one person out of the hundreds I know who can understand and appreciate Coheed on the same level that I do. (Not trying to gatekeep here, I’m just saying that I sort of live and die by this band and if you don’t that’s cool but they’re better than whatever lame shit you listen to.) (Just kidding. I hope you know that.)
So there I was, in January or something of 2017 + I was checking my email out of desperation because I was tired of having a notification for 2,437 emails on my phone and I came across a Coheed fan message announcing their Neverender tour for GAIBSIV Vol. One.
I promptly shit my pants.
Then, before cleaning that up I ordered tickets.
There was no way I was going to miss this show. It was my favorite band who I had never gotten to see because of dumb shit. No matter the scenario, I told myself, I WILL go see Coheed in 2017. Especially that tour in specific. I was so bitter about missing the Neverender for IKSSE:3 because I was sick that I promised nothing would stop me. If I broke both my legs on the way, I was still going to go and I was just going to grind the joints to dust in the crowd because that band helped shape me in so many ways.
Luckily, I did not break my legs and I did go see Coheed live for the first time since I found them so many years ago.
A lot of fans of artists like to give the “I’ve seen them XX times, if you haven’t you aren’t a real fan” talk, and that’s never been how I felt about music, but when it comes to Coheed, after seeing their show this year, I promise if it is within a day’s drive I will never miss another show of theirs again.
I cried. I actually cried.
I had been listening to them and following and supporting them for so long that Coheed had become as much a part of me as any of my personal inspirations.
I had come to the realization as they played their encore that the title track from “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3” was the song I had heard over a decade ago that I searched frantically for. Something about the show and how they ended their set clicked with me and I was ripped back to 2003, sitting in my living room with my jaw hanging open just listening to the computer play this crazy amazing band that inspired me so much.
Years later, in The Complex in SLC I looked at the people around me and saw that in some small way, many of them likely felt the same way that I did. Maybe not.
But either way, I screamed even louder than before.
I screamed along with them until I was sure that Heaven’s Fence could feel the vibrations.
I hope that one day, I can create something like what Coheed has, where people like myself are willing to dedicate their lives in support of it.
Coheed is the greatest band in the world, to me. But when it’s my world, that’s fine.
I am happy to be one among the fence.
Thank you, Coheed & Cambria. Your music and story inspired me to do so many things and here I am, doing them today. I blame you for that. I would not be writing if it weren’t for your influence. I wouldn’t have learned music. My life would not be the same today if not for you.