Coheed and Cambria are touring in support of their concept album, In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth, 3. But the prog-rockers are more of a concept band, built around sci-fi narratives, guitar solos and Claudio Vargas' old-school range. And by old school, I mean the Castrati.
Drummer Josh Eppard called in from the middle of the tour with Underoath to talk about the band's success, radio's problems and his new hip-hop record.
Wildcat: It seems like the "A Favor House Atlantic" single was fairly huge for you guys, are there plans to do another video before the next album?
Eppard: I just saw it on Fuse today actually. It's for a song called "Blood Red Summer" and we're all zombies in it and zombies fucking rock. Horror movies remain an inspiration to us. So this is sort of an ode to that. That Favor House video, no one ever thought it was going to get played anywhere. We took a day, got fucking drunk in a bar and shot the video. No one liked it, Equal Vision didn't like it, Sony didn't like it, but they started playing it, and it caught on for some reason.
Wildcat: How seriously does everybody take the sci-fi mythology of your albums?
Eppard: Honestly, it's just cool. We like to have fun and it is serious, but I wanted to make music and make art because it was fun. We take everything with a grain of salt.
Wildcat: What's the wildest rumor you've heard about your band?
Eppard: It has nothing to do with science fiction, but some kid came up to us and was like, 'I heard you guys got caught with 10 kilos of cocaine. That sucks.' That we got arrested and we were going to jail. Our friends in other bands even heard about it, and it's completely not true. We only sell crack on tour, not cocaine.
Wildcat: Is a lot of the material for the new album already written?
Eppard: During sound checks, we've stopped playing the songs we're tired of and started playing new stuff. We've even talked about playing some stuff at our shows. I was always a fan of bands that put out records all the time, like every year. I wish we had another album out already. We all really like making and putting out records, so everyone's really excited to get into the studio.
Wildcat: I've heard you just finished a hip-hop CD. How are you as a rapper?
Eppard: It seems like everybody that hears it likes it. I think I'm awesome, I think I'm top 10 in the world. Underoath just heard it the other day, and they don't really believe it's me. People said it's scary good. It's something I've been doing since I was 13. I rap about being a white boy, being broke, girls.
Wildcat: Do you feel like the radio is getting a bit better, with bands like Coheed and then indie rock getting more airtime?
Eppard: No. I don't think it is getting better. From what I understand, in the '70s, radio was truly a format for music. And you could have a 7-minute song on the radio, and people would dig it. Radio is important and we are fans of pop music. But I'm not even a huge fan of "A Favor House Atlantic." I wish we could put something like "In Keeping Secrets" on the radio. There could be a happy marriage that didn't become a formula. It's become stale and it's been like this for 20 years.
Wildcat: Maybe someday you could release a 7-minute song?
Eppard: I think, to get to that point, we'd have to sell a couple million records. Like the Beatles, in the middle of their career, they could do whatever they wanted.
Wildcat: Do you feel it's important that you don't get grouped into pop-punk?
Eppard: I really do. It baffles us that people think that's what we are. Have you heard our songs?
Wildcat: Yes, but I think it's probably because Claudio's voice is so high.
Eppard: The high vocal thing is the same reason we get compared to Rush. I never liked pop-punk. I couldn't believe it the first time I heard someone say it about us. We used to be called a hardcore band, prog, emo, metal, prog-emo-rock. We're rock bands. If there's guitar and drums, you're a rock band. As far as pop-punk, I don't want to be in that category.