A prog rock band with a five album story line? Holy shit!
A long time ago, in New York State far away, the two future guitarists of Coheed and Cambria, Claudio Sanchez and Travis Stever, formed a new band called "Beautiful Loser". In case you don't know the ending from Rock Band, they broke up over gas money. Travis Stever left, prompting Claudio and other, unimportant people to form a new band, with blackjack and hookers. They named it "Shabutie", after a chant in the movie Naked Prey.
messing around experimenting for a year, and a bassist replacement, Shabutie released two EP's. The first one, called Plan To Take Over The World EP, was just recorded on burned CD's and handed out whenever they played a show. The second one, called The Penelope EP, was released with album art and actually charged for it. According to wikipedia, only 42 copies exist .
Shabutie changed when they brought Travis Stever back from the dead or something, and when their awesome drummer, Nate Kelley, left in the middle of a show. Shellshocked from this new change of events, Shabutie slowly fizzled out, and the band formally known as Shabutie (is that phrase copyrighted by Prince?) began to evolve into a new band.
Cue the Pokemon evolution music. DUN DUN DUN DAAAAA NUN...
Shabutie, now changed to Coheed and Cambria, was signed to Equal Vision Records in/around 2000, working on their first studio album as Coheed. Being un-orignal, they took their last two EP's released as Shabutie (Delirium Trigger EP and Coheed and Cambria EP) and made it into Second Stage Turbine Blade. Realizing that Everywhere Else, USA isn't going to like them as much as NYC, they toured their asses off, touring with Breaking Pangaea, Linkin Park, The Used, and Slipknot, and even partying on the Warped Tour that kids now-a-days like so much.
Pulling a one-album-a-year stunt, the next year Coheed released In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3, which has been called one of the kick starters for Coheed's fame, thanks to the high-pitched single, "A Favor House Atlantic". More touring ensued, touring with Thursday, Thrice, AFI, and some band that I would only know about thanks to Wikipedia. Eventually, Colombia records signed a contract with them too, making Coheed release two albums on Equal Vision and Colombia. Around this time, Claudio got snake bites and chugged a bottle of Jack Daniels, years before Ke$ha got the balls to brush her teeth with it. Pussy.
Claudio Sanchez, Circa Awesome
At this point, Coheed realized that they needed to write more material if they wanted to continue touring, so they released their next mouthfull of an album: Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through The Eyes Of Madness. At the time of this writing, Coheed and Cambria has sold over 1 Million copies of this album, thanks to the singles "Welcome Home" (which you heard in Rock Band) and "The Suffering" (which you heard on MTV).
After this release, Coheed decided to jump to the big dogs, with more touring, supporting Fall Out Boy, Avenged Sevenfold, Circa Survive, and other bands that I don't even know. Things were looking great for Coheed...
...until their drummer Josh Eppard and bassist Mic Todd left in 2006. For months, Claudio and Travis had their techies play the instruments that they needed for a handful of shows, including Lollapalooza. Mic Todd came back in April 2007, after chilling at rehab (with/without Linsey Lohan) for his heroin addiction. Josh Eppard, while not at the time saying that he did it too, quit and started a rap project and called it Weerd Science. I'm not kidding.
I'm really not kidding.
Without a drummer, Coheed went drum hunting and found Chris Pennie in free agency, so they snatched him. However, thanks to his contract with his past label, he couldn't record on the next album, but he could give his "creative insights". Basically, he could write but not play it., which means that Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins played drums instead.
So, with all this crap (and Claudio's aunt dying, who supported this band from day one), the band went on to release the sequel to Good Apollo, Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World For Tomorrow. Usually just shortened to No World For Tomorrow, This album debuted at #6 on the charts, compared to #7 of the last album (Oh, one whole spot! Good for them!), and featured "The Running Free" as the starting single.
This album was give many postive reviews, rating a 69% (heh.) on Metacritic, with Entertainment Weekly, Q Magazine, Rolling Stone, and Allmusic giving good reviews, while The A.V. Club and Alternative Press said it wasn't that great, but The A.V. Club geeks get beat up by the football team and no one loves the Alternative Press.
Yeah, hide in the bathroom with your tea, you A.V. Club pussies.
Their next album, Year Of The Black Rainbow, is slated for April 2010 release.
Many sources on Wikipedia cite Coheed and Cambria as "emo", but calling them emo is like calling Nickelback good; no one can take it seriously when you say it. However, many important people (like myself and Equal Vision Records) call Coheed Progressive Rock, with influences of heavy metal, punk rock, pop, funk, and post-hardcore. Entertainment Weekly even called them new-prog, which I guess is way better than emo.
Not Pictured: Coheed and Cambria, Musical Talent
Claudio Sanchez stated more than once (at least twice) that he was envious of his fathers era of music, citing influences like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Police, The Misfits, Queen, Thin Lizzy, and Rush. Aside from all that old stuff, the band is also influenced by At The Drive-In and Iron Maiden. They were even influenced by the Star Wars series (see below for the story).
The (pending) five albums released by Coheed and Cambria are all a central story, at first called Bag.On.Line Adventures (lame), but the name was changed somewhere around Coheed and Cambria, Part 1. The Amory Wars takes place in a universe with 78 planets arranged in a triangle, with seven stars holding it in place by an energy field called the Keywork (think of the image that just popped in your head, and compare it to the three images I have up top of this page). The main characters, named Coheed and Cambria Kilgannon, with their four children, Josephine, Claudio, Matthew and Maria, are all living on some planet. Later in the story, it turns out that Coheed and Cambria are androids with the ability to destroy the galaxy, which God (a major character) claims that he will do if you fuck with his shit.
"Don't you dare fuck with my shit"
The story only gets bigger and harder to explain as the series goes on. You may be asking, "Do I have to fucking interpret this myself in the CD's?" Oh hell no; Claudio teamed up with Evil Ink Comics to release The Amory Wars in comic form, with all ten issues of Second Stage Turbine Blade being out now. In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 is coming soon (no one knows when), while Good Apollo One has a graphic novel out right now (which will probably be released in comic book form).
Second Stage Turbine Blade, being the first album, starts off in the second part of the story, just to piss all of you off. Year Of The Black Rainbow is the prequel to all of these albums, with a 300+ page novel being release to describe it all. Holy shit!