Cosmic rockers Coheed and Cambria are well-known for their out-of-this-world concept records, but they came back down to Earth for their last album, "Color Before the Sun." Yet they couldn't help but reach for the Red Planet anyway — and the song that resulted certainly piqued NASA's and Space.com's interest.
The band was invited to perform the song "Here to Mars" from that record with the National Symphony Orchestra Pops (NSO Pops) for a NASA 60th anniversary celebration at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., on June 1. The event was dubbed "NSO Pops: Space, the Next Frontier." The band-orchestra combination delivered an impassioned version of the song, which was highlighted by singer Claudio Sanchez's distinctive high-octane vocals.
"Honey, it's in the stars; you're my everything from here to Mars," Sanchez sang as the NSO Pops and the band reached the chorus's crescendo. You can watch the performance in its entirety above. [See Coheed and Cambria at JSC's Mission Control and more in photos]
The band performed acoustically, with guitarist Travis Stever coloring the song with well-placed notes, chords and riffs. Meanwhile, Zach Cooper rocked out his complex bass lines on a stand-up bass.
Drummer Josh Eppard put his clear passion for music into his unusual role — he played only a wooden box and a tambourine, and didn't miss a beat. Eppard was interviewed for the NASA highlight reel of the event, which you can see below. "To me, it sounds kind of obvious: Space exploration and science is something that deeply inspires everybody," Eppard says in the video.
That inspiration has played into Coheed and Cambria's concept records, which are sci-fi-heavy space operas conceived by Sanchez. The band members' enthusiasm for space and science even took them to NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston during their last tour.
The band is no stranger to Space.com, either. Prior to a show at Webster Hall in New York City in 2012, Sanchez talked to us about what it was like to write the band's sci-fi concept. The video became the first episode of our CosMix video series, which has also featured singer-songwriter Grace Potter and guitarist extraordinaire Joe Satriani.
Space.com also featured the song "Here to Mars" in a video about the inaugural launch of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket in February 2018.
As fate would have it, the NASA 60th anniversary celebration also featured performances by Potter, as well as Will.I.Am. It also included appearances by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, novelist and screenwriter Nick Sagan (son of the late astronomer Carl Sagan) and actor John Cho (who played "Sulu" in the latest "Star Trek" movie series).
Coheed and Cambria are back in sci-fi mode and have released "Dark Sentencer," the first single from an upcoming album set to be released this fall. They are also hitting the road this summer. Learn more at coheedandcambria.com.