April 18, 2006

Between the Glass: Mic Todd from Coheed and Cambria

Bassist Michael Todd gave TBL a few minutes on the bus pre-show to chat about the new album outside the Sonar Lounge in Baltimore on November 5th.

Mike Todd: Mind if I smoke?

Jeremy Bruno: Not at all. How are you?

MT: Good. Chillin’.

JB: How’s the tour going?

Tour’s going great, man. It’s almost winding down. Then we go to Hawaii then Europe, then Europe again, and then I don’t know… yeah.

Where in Europe are you guys playing?

I think we’re just doing a couple of dates in the U.K. for like a week, week and a half in December, then we’re going to do a bunch of radio shows in the States again. And then we’re doing all of Europe with Thrice for six weeks at the beginning of January.

You are playing with a bunch of diverse bands (Mewithoutyou, The Blood Brothers, Dredg), is that affecting your fan base? Are there fans coming out that wouldn’t ordinarily listen to Coheed and Cambria?

Perhaps. We like to tour with an eclectic mix of bands, and also big bands that we love and try to get them some new fans if we can. So, who knows? Maybe somebody came out to see Dredg because they were a long time fan, and said, I never heard Coheed, maybe I’ll stick around and check them out. We like to make a good show, a good mix of different shit.

If you were to introduce the band to people who hadn’t heard of you, how would you describe Coheed and Cambria?

It’s rock music. We try to emphasize songwriting and musicianship a lot and less on more superficial things that are so prevalent in rock and roll today. Its rock and roll. Its progressive.

“Progressive” seems to be the most popular term used to describe Coheed and Cambria. Is that something that you are comfortable being?

Yeah, I think it makes sense. I mean, I consider Led Zeppelin a progressive rock band. I think its anything that sits outside the standard mold of a pop rock song: verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, out.

Good Apollo is split in two parts: the first 11 tracks and then the four tracks at the end called “The Willing Well.” What was the intent in splitting the album in distinct sections?

It has a lot to do with the track of the story that Claudio’s writing, so it chronologically works, and also when we sit down and think about how the songs go in order we vibe it through and through and it seemed like the right way to go with this one. There’s definitely a separation. It reminds me of old cassettes where you had an A-side and a B-side, like Ritual de lo Habitual from Jane’s Addiction, where you have all the ten-minute songs like “Three Days.”

Speaking of the story, when you guys get down to writing songs together how much impact does Claudio’s story have on the music?



For me and the rest of the band. When we sit down to structure songs, we take the music as it is. We don’t take the story into mind too much when we’re tracking or orchestrating our parts around whatever Claudio’s has, whatever anyone has. Yeah, the story doesn’t really affect the outcome of the music. We write the same way we did before the story.

How about the whole Rush thing?

I’m not much a Rush fan. None of us really are, really. I started listening to Rush when people started calling us Rush. I was like, well, I guess I should check this shit out.

Is it just Claudio’s voice?

A lot of it is the voice and the fact that its progressive and a concept. Its very easy to someone to pigeonhole us and say, “Oh, high voice – Rush!”

That has to get irritating for a while.

It almost did (laughs). I was like, f*ck it, yeah we sound like Rush, whatever. They obviously don’t listen to music very much.

How do you think your playing has changed over the course of the last three albums?

Well, I know for a fact that we’ve gotten way better. And more importantly, we’ve learned how to play off each other as a band. Josh and I are almost telepathic now. It translates perfectly whether we’re on stage or writing a song in the studio. Little kicks come up here and there and everyone’s like, “Oh shit, that’s hot, let’s do it.” But without going overboard,we try to keep it classy. I think out playing together is more… musical. I don’t really know how else to describe it.

Do you feel that musicality is something lacking in popular music?

Yeah. It has its high points with a certain band or certain song, but for the most part its just like, Jesus Christ, man. There’s never going to be rock gods again, so we can just forget about that right now. We’re just going to keep getting better and play the best we can and hopefully have a career for as long as we can.

What is the next album? Have you started any work while you’re touring?

No, just jammin’ out during sound check once in a while, nothing solid. Good Apollo just came out so we’re still getting comfy with the new songs and playing them out live. A lot of songs from the new album we haven’t even taken out of the box yet on stage. Hopefully in a year we’ll go back in the studio and do another one.

That will be Volume 2?

Yeah, that’ll be Volume 2 of part 4.

And after Volume 2? Any plans that far ahead?

That’s when we go to part one, which conceptually takes place when [the characters] Coheed and Cambria are adolescents. And that will be the end of the story. After that, there’s no answer to what will happen next. Who knows? We might get tired and go home, we might do another story, we might start a new band; we’ll hopefully keep playing.

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