Coheed And Cambria’s Claudio Sanchez on the tracks that shaped his life, and the genius of Sting and Hendrix.
The first song I remember… Englishman In New York - Sting
“I’m telling you, that song was a big song for me growing up. It was one that my dad played all the time, and I would sing along to it. It always piqued my curiosity. It’s not like it made me want to pick up the guitar or anything like that but it really made me conscious of music. Every time I hear that song it takes me right back to the car and my dad playing it, and I feel like a kid again.”
The track that demonstrates the power of the guitar for me... All Along The Watchtower - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
“That was the one that drew me into the guitar, to the wah pedal, the way it was phrasing the melody almost as if it was talking to me. That was the one where the instrument is standing out. A lot of the seed, or the nucleus, of who I am is rooted in those two songs, in Sting’s Englishman In New York and Hendrix’s version of All Along The Watchtower.”
The first tune I learned on guitar... A Taste Of Honey - The Beatles
“The funny thing is, when I first started playing guitar I just tried to learn through writing music, just kinda coming up with things by looking at a chord book and putting things together. But I guess it would be A Taste Of Honey. It just happened to be in the book. I didn’t know the song at all. I just wanted to learn the chords; so to understand the chords and structure I played along and did my own version of the song.”
The song I wish I had written... Little Wing - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
“Just because of how intricate and beautiful the guitar playing is, coming from somebody who is normally wild and super-fuzzed out. When I listen to that song and I listen to the progressions on the guitar, it just feels like chaos controlled, and it’s very beautiful and melodic. That’s a really iconic and special song for me.”
My favourite road-trip track... Locomotive Breath - Jethro Tull
“That’s another band that I grew up with. There’s something about it that chugs along and feels like it’s emulating a train. My wife does not like Jethro Tull but . . . [Laughs]. It’s maybe one of those things, when we get the opportunity, I put it on and it really annoys her but it really excites me. I just love the way that whole song is put together - the production. It’s not really the most elaborate production but there’s something about it that just feels very raw and kinda primal.”
The best song to introduce people to prog… Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
“I love the fact that one of the biggest songs of all time is a progressive rock song. Bohemian Rhapsody is a great example of progressive rock. I mean, that song is long, it moves a lot. For me, the meaning of progressive is that ever-changing, growing attitude. Bohemian Rhapsody is a great example of a track to play to somebody who isn’t quite sure what progressive rock is.”
A song that reminds me of home... Faithfully - Journey
“Yeah, it would probably be my wife and I’s first dance song. I don’t listen to it often but it does remind me of my situation: being in a band and leaving home, and her at home with our son. As cheesy as it sounds, it feels totally real to me.”
Coheed And Cambria’s latest album Vaxis - Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures is out now on Roadrunner.