Originally posted by Tara Couper on 10th October 2012

Coheed and Cambria guitarist Travis Stever has been a part of the band since day one, he kindly took time out of his busy schedule to have a chat about all things Coheed.

R13:Thanks for talking to us, how are you today Travis?
TS:I'm good; I'm home and getting prepared for tour. I'm actually just home for the day. We just did a short intro run to the album being released. We played two and a half weeks of shows in the north east of America. Now, we're getting geared up to go to LA, then we'll come back and do some stuff closer to home during the album release week. Then when it's out we go on a full tour.

R13:Excellent. What can you tell us about 'The Afterman'?
TS:It's two records and that's not because we just wanted to put out a double record but we had so much good material that we didn't want to part with. It really works well with the concept that Claudio had. It almost makes it like a sonic cliffhanger, which I know our fans really love.
It's a very personal record for Claudio and the band musically with the return of Josh. There was a lot that led up to it; the band had been through so much. We survived and now it's all for the better, this is the best line-up that the band has had. That doesn't take away from anything that's happened in the past. Year Of The Black Rainbow is a great album, and that's how the band needed to be at that time. I think The Afterman fully represents what the band has become through all its years. The band has been a rolling ball that has collected all of its influences, all the emotions, that's what The Afterman is. For me, this album has a lot of depth and I'm sure other people will sense that.

R13:How did the idea of releasing concept albums come about?
TS:The idea of the concept has been there since very early on. Claudio had an idea for a concept and this side project called Coheed and Cambria while him and I were in a band that he had for years. Eventually that band became a line-up of me, him, Josh and Mike, the music had changed so much that we were desperately in need of a new name. At this point Claudio was still toying with the idea of the concept project, so we just adopted the name Coheed and Cambria.
I do know for a fact that it was also a way of not having to wear his heart on his sleeve despite a lot of the songs being very personal. It's a way for him to hide behind the storyline, which also makes it intriguing to see how certain realities will dictate what happens in this fantasy world. With The Afterman there are a lot of personal topics that are being dealt with; the loss of the loved one, the selfishness that becomes involved when you try to be the best you can be in your career, just everything is covered and they're all involved in The Afterman: Ascension and Descension.
It's my favourite chapter in this conceptual world that Claudio has built. I know there are things that we've both been through that come out lyrically in songs. It's kind of touching because we've had to go through all this shit. At least the music is some kind of reward.
R13:Every cloud has a sliver lining, right?

R13:I believe the album was recorded at Applehead studios, what was it like going back there?
TS:We went back to the place we recorded our first three albums. The original creative explosion happened at Applehead. Having Josh come back into the fold it made sense to go back there, we were also all in New York at that time. The past two records we've gone out and lived in LA or Pasadena, not that we didn't enjoy that but I think every body just wanted to stay in their comfort zones to create this record.
We also took our time with this record, there is a sense of not being able to take your time when you do to a distant place. You're only there for a certain amount of time so you have to hurry, whereas in your comfort zone you can take your time and create a lot easier. There's something to say for being in a scenario where you have to be creative, but for this particular record, the beauty of it is that we were able to take our time.

R13:How does it feel to have Josh back? Were there any teething problems or did it just work straight away?
TS:There was a part of healing in the beginning. Musically, it was like jumping right back on the horse but personally, we did some healing. We sat and we discussed things, it was good. I think it was beneficial to every one of us to have to go through that especially after what we'd been through a couple of months before with Mic. Each of us has the ability to make decisions whether or not there's a chemical involved at the end of the day it's our responsibility. Other people can try and help but you're brought into this world on your own and there's a certain responsibility to take care of yourself. We finally realised we did everything we could for Mic and in the end it was up to him. Josh got to relay what he went through and there was an understanding. There's a light at the end of the tunnel if you choose to see it.
I tend to put a positive light on things because that's how I deal with it, but having to deal with losing people that you care about otherwise is tough. With Mic and Chris it was tough, these are people we loved and cared about, but the band has become what its become because of it.

R13:As you've said, you're shortly going out on tour, what can fans expect to see at the shows?
TS:New material first and foremost. Right now, I feel like the band it at the top of its game in regards to putting on a show. I say that every tour, it was in it's top form on our last tour but since then we've lifted our game. The rhythm section is kicking ass, and Claudio and I are more excited than ever to be on the road with these guys because they're so excited. We are all feeding off of each other's excitement, and that's visible.

R13:You're also going to be playing an acoustic set as part of the show, how did that come about?
TS:That's right, and that will have some surprises in it. We've done it in the States a few times but there's always been an issue with travelling to the UK with all the addition gear. We figured we do have some great fans over there, they love us and they absolutely deserve to get the treatment as our US fans. We've had fans from the UK travel to the States to check out the acoustic stuff. The least we could do is bring it over.

R13:Last time you were here you got to play Reading and Leeds, how was that?
TS:Amazing, such a blast! I got to see The Cure for the first time in my life; I've always been a huge fan but have never had the opportunity to see them live. It was just a great show in general, you wish that you could stay for all three days but unfortunately when you play them you have to shot from one to another. Usually we leave on the night you play so I really didn't get to see any other bands, but I got to see The Cure, so I'm not complaining.

R13:You've recently supported Iron Maiden on tour, how was that experience?
TS:Another dream. It was one of those scenarios where I would have paid for the ticket, and I have numerous times before. It was like I got to go and see a show I would have paid for for free and low and behold I got to be onstage with my band before it. Claudio and I have literally seen Iron Maiden twice together so we couldn't believe our luck. It was an honour and they were really nice to us. Their crew was so welcoming and were great people to hang out with. It was a learning experience of a band that we strive to be, there's a band that have been doing it exactly as they want for over 25 years and they stay true to everything and still love their craft. They still enjoy themselves and to see that is a full on inspiration; it was really great in every way shape and form.
We got to play with a band that was called Heaven and Hell at that time because of name disputes and whatnot, but we've got to play with Black Sabbath. We've been very lucky to share a stage with bands that we looked up to growing up and then get to watch them at the end of the night. It's been an honour to work with a lot of the people we've had the chance to.

R13:Going back to when you were young, can you remember when you first picked up an instrument?
TS:Yes, I remember watching MTV when I was about 11 and I saw the Guns N' Roses Patience and they were all playing acoustic guitars and my father was a singer-songwriter growing up so I'd picked up a guitar before and just hit the strings, but for some reason that day I looked around and saw all these acoustic guitars and just had to learn to play. I was already a fan of Guns N' Roses and Metallica, I had started to become a fan of heavier music at that point too, so up until that point I thought if I was going to play a guitar it would be an electric guitar. I picked up one of my dad's guitars and I couldn't play shit, but that was the point where I decided I did want to play and be passionate about it. My father eventually bought me an electric guitar at a garage sale and from then on I played electric, but I definitely did start on the acoustic guitar. That's my story, that's how it began.
R13:Was Patience the first song you actually learnt to play?
TS:I didn't even learn to play it! The first record I bought myself funnily enough was Somewhere In Time by Iron Maiden. From then on I began to get into other things, for a while I hated music because I went through this fear that certain music led straight to the devil before getting intrigued by it again. I remember when I first got the Iron Maiden record my stepbrother said "You know, some guys by me were listening to this and their house just lit on fire because they were worshipping Satan." I was like "Great, I can't listen to this now!"
One of the first records that I got from my mom's record collection was the Black Sabbath album with the lady who looks like a witch on the cover. I get drawn in by cover art, that one looked evil.

R13:What else can we expect to see from you over the next 12 months?
TS:They'll be another Coheed record, a lot of touring. I also have a record from a solo project that I've spent a lot of time on other the last two years called Davenport Cabinet which will hopefully be out in January, which is very exciting. I'm very proud of it. I've been working with my cousin on it, we've been writing songs for the past couple of years. Apart from that project my life will be completely Coheed and The Afterman: Ascension and Descension.

R13:Are there tour plans for your solo project?
TS:I'm going to release the album, I'll be touring a lot with Coheed, but I'd love to be able to play that stuff live. I had an album from that project a few years ago and although I'm proud of some of the songs on there, this is leaps and bounds ahead. I'm very excited about it but Coheed is first and foremost, we're going to be very busy this year, so if it fits, it fits.
R13:Well, with things like StageIt as long as you have an internet connection you can put some kind of live show out there. .
TS:That's true, I didn't think of that. It could happen, I need to look into that. Thank you, that's a good idea!

R13:Perfect. Thanks for your time Travis, all the best with the album and tour.