“I definitely remember my first records,” says Coheed and Cambria vocalist/guitarist Claudio Sanchez. “They were given to me for Christmas. One was Aerosmith’s Permanent Vacation and the other was Guns N’ Roses’ Lies.”
These days, Sanchez, 37, does most of his vinyl listening on a Crosley portable record player with his 16-month old son, Atlas Hendrix. “Although,” the singer clarifies, “I own a Stanton 150, which I use primarily to sample music and manipulate in a digital audio workstation. But the only records I have in the house at the moment are John Williams’s soundtracks, like Star Wars, and a couple Disney records for him.”
After moving to a (small-ish) Brooklyn apartment, Sanchez and his wife packed up about a dozen boxes of vinyl that now live in storage unit in Nanuet, New York. “Some of my favorite stuff is my vintage rare things, like the cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland with the ladies on it that I first saw at a friend’s house when I was a little kid. I don’t know if it’s the European cover or it was the original.” (The image of nineteen naked women was chosen without Hendrix’s approval by his U.K. label, Track Records.)
This year, one of Coheed and Cambria’s own will be added to the vinyl collection, a special release for Record Store Day’s Black Friday. “Last year we did the demo versions of The Afterman record, and I enjoyed that so much we decided to do it again this record,” Sanchez says of 2015’s 10-song The Color Before the Sun. “It’s all of the demo versions on vinyl… untweaked… Truly as-is demos. I don’t have a problem letting it go; I like the idea of sharing the process. What you hear on there is the bare bones of the creation of the song as I learn what it is, and I document it,” he explains. The cover art, befitting the “in-progress” state of demos, is a “blueprint” of the final cover image. “There’s a charm to that. I like sharing that experience with our fans, and they appreciate it.”
Here are some of Sanchez’s own favorite record stores and some fond memories of his time spent digging through their crates:
210 Thompson St, New York, NY
“As I got into adolescence, my friends and I — and even some of the guys in the band, Travis (Stever), the other guitar player — we started to get into the indie rock world and we’d take trips to Manhattan to follow the labels we liked, whether it was Revelation, Sub Pop [or] Jade Tree. I feel those were the preliminary roots of us molding what Coheed and Cambria would be. One time, I wanted to find some more B-sides of the Smiths, years ago. Our drummer at the time — it wasn’t Josh (Eppard, current drummer) you know, it wasn’t for everybody — was making fun of it. I was exploring. I remember getting beat down, because they didn’t like it. But Travis and I were on the same page, usually.”
15 E. 4th St, New York, NY
“Generation and Other were fairly close, so we’d make a day of it, and of course, at the time, Tower was across the street, so we’d hit the trinity of stores. I grew up in Nyack, so we came in for the day. I never subscribed to Other Music’s weekly newsletter, probably because that involved interaction with other people,” he says with a laugh. Sanchez’s job at the time — “I used to work on a dock — not like the Bon Jovi song! — at a small fishing station in Nyack” — helped fund his youthful vinyl purchases. And despite Other’s selection of posters and T-shirts, Sanchez stuck to albums, though he will admit to hanging a “blacklight Jimi Hendrix” poster on his bedroom wall back in the day.
Rough Trade NYC
64 N. 9th St, Brooklyn, NY
“I go to Rough Trade when I’m in the Williamsburg area, and I’m usually there for the music instrument shop Main Drag [at 330 Wythe Ave]. Rough Trade is a bigger, nice store and I just realized they hold shows in the store, and I didn’t know that. So I’ll try to frequent it more often. My apartment doesn’t allow for a big record collection,” he emphasizes, but of RSD releases other than his this year, he’s especially interested in acquiring the new Eazy E, Merry Muthaphuckin’ Xmas 7-inch (“I would definitely get that!”). The Bowie and Buckley RSD releases are also coveted.
Fifth Avenue Record & Tape
442 5th Ave., Brooklyn, New York
“This one is right near the corner of 5th Avenue near 9th street in Park Slope. It’s only open certain days of the week, maybe Wednesdays it’s closed?” he muses. “They keep really odd hours, it’s a small spot and an older gentleman runs it. It just has a vibe to me. I feel like I’m walking into history. It feels interesting. Right next door is Galaxy, the comics shop, which I don’t tend to frequent all that often, but they do have a lot of toys, and Atlas gets into that part of it.” So, does he scour record store shelves for Coheed albums? “Sometimes I look to see if they have my band in stock. I think I got that —- I have a comic book imprint (Evil Ink Comics, which is co-publisher to three graphic series; The Amory Wars, Kill Audio and Key of Z) — from that [business] side of what I do. But for the most part, I’m really looking for old odd stuff, not in the digital realm, so I might sample it.”