Concert Reviews

Coheed and Cambria's Josh Eppard On Matt Pinfield, Iron Maiden and the Mets

Coheed and Cambria comes back to Dallas on Friday, previewing material from their forthcoming double album, The Afterman, and supporting metal legends Iron Maiden. Drummer Josh Eppard took some time to share his love of the New York Mets, his experience as an Iron Maiden fan, and what it was like to play with Coheed again.

Since you talk about them quite a bit on Twitter, can you remember the first time you saw the New York Mets play? I don't know if it was officially the first time, but I do remember the '86 World Series. I was five years old, and I remember my father saying that the streets shook. The actual concrete shook when it was game six, when the ball went through [Boston Red Sox's Bill] Buckner's legs and he said he heard screaming from every house on the street. For some reason, that stuck with me. I remember watching some of the games. I was just a kid, so I didn't stay up late enough to see that play. I probably wouldn't have understood what that play meant. You know, I was only five years old. But I remember thinking that was the beginning of my love for the Mets. Maybe it was something about the energy. They just won the World Series. Or maybe it was that I thought their uniforms were cool. I'm not really sure.

Since you're on tour with Iron Maiden, do you remember how you got into the band? Well, I don't own an Iron Maiden record, to be completely honest. My experience with Iron Maiden was basically through Travis [Stever] and Claudio [Sanchez]. They were huge Iron Maiden fans. I go back through all the things that have influenced me, from age 19 to now, and Travis and Claudio are at the heart of it. I like some Iron Maiden stuff and my uncle has some Iron Maiden records. When I say I don't have records, I didn't go out and buy them. It wasn't my favorite band. We were touring in a van and they would put on a record they made. They'd sing every word and they'd be head-banging the whole time. I'm not the fan Travis is. I'm certainly a fan.

Being out of tour with them is really a surreal experience. Like any red-blooded American male, I know about a hundred Iron Maiden songs. This tour, for Claudio and Travis, is seriously a dream come true. People say that a lot. They kind of throw that around, but they are just besides themselves with excitement. They grew up going to Maiden shows; seeing them at the Garden. They've probably been to ten Maiden shows apiece before this.

I know that after a while, touring becomes a big blur, but what can you remember about previous times you've played Dallas? Of course! What is it, the Gypsy Tea Room? That's in Dallas, right?

Yeah! That closed a few years ago, but on one side of the building, it's known as The Door and the other side is The Prophet Bar. I remember a lot about Dallas. I remember when we would roll through in a van. We'd play this little coffee house type thing. But I always remember looking forward getting to Dallas. You'd play Houston. When you're in a band and you're just starting out, you hit a bunch of weird places on the way and you'd look forward to hitting Dallas because it wasn't just a real vibrant city, but the shows were always good. Dallas has always been really great to us. That carries over onto the bigger tours. I always look forward to playing in Dallas. I have a bunch of friends in Dallas. It's like you say, a lot of the shows become a blur, but I know we always look forward to playing Dallas. I didn't know the Gypsy Tea Room closed. Was that the place where they used to paint those murals on the side of building for the shows coming up?

Yes! That was fucking awesome. I remember they did this one. I think it was on a headlining tour with my brother's band called 3 and a band called Underoath. The poster they painted was so awesome. To this day, the keyboard player at the time, he took a picture with a disposable camera and he got it blown up and it's framed in his house. It will live on forever. I get to see it any time I'm over at my friend Dave's house.

This is a pure inside baseball question, but do you remember the first time you met Matt Pinfield? Yeah, of course. Matt leaves a pretty lasting memory, I must say. I was excited. I remember seeing him on TV growing up. He was totally cool. We just talked rock and roll. Nothing really to write home about, but it was exciting to meet him. We had some drinks and talked rock and roll. He was trying to get us to sign to Sony, which we were into and ultimately, we did that. Matt was a big part of that.

I can imagine this is still pretty fresh in your memory: How did the first Coheed show go with you back on drums and Zach [Cooper] playing bass? It played great. There was a lot of nerves. It was really something that I could have never imagined, and I really mean that. I know a lot of people say that. But really, I was in Coheed from the beginning and when I left, things were really bad. I just never in a million years thought that I would play with those guys again. There was an overwhelming sense of - not to sound corny - there was a bit of destiny at work. Hard work does pay off. Once I got back onstage, it felt like going back home. It was really a beautiful night. It's something I'll never forget. I kinda feel like that every day. These guys were my best friends for years. We learned how to play together. None of us had ever been on tour or any of that stuff. I only have two guys like Claudio and Travis in my life. There's no one else that knows me like those guys know me or vice versa.

Me and Zach were totally nervous. There's no doubt about it. It was crazy. Once we started playing, it felt like going home. It felt beyond good. Hopefully, we capture something like that every time we play. I think we do. Not only is everybody having a good time, the band sounds great. Zach is kind of the perfect piece of the puzzle for this new stage of the band. I'm the new guy, but I'm the old guy. It was a great night and one I will remember for the rest of my life.

Coheed and Cambria play with Iron Maiden on Friday, August 17, at Gexa Energy Pavilion.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Eric Grubbs is a Dallas-based writer who has published two books, Post: A Look at the Influence of Post-Hardcore 1985-2007 and When We Were the Kids. His writing has been featured in Punk Planet, Popdose, Fort Worth Weekly, The Dentonite and LA Weekly. He supports Manchester City and will never root for Manchester United.
Contact: Eric Grubbs