Monday Motivation: Coheed And Cambria


If you’re anything like me, you probably started the day by recognizing that the start of a new work week had indeed arrived and then immediately began shaking your fists at the sky in anger. Monday is rarely anyone’s favorite day, and from what I have seen firsthand it feels safe to say it’s the one day of the week some people outright hate. I guess to them the arrival of the work week symbolizes the end of their quote/unquote freedom, and as a result they head into the office/factory/restaurant/store with a negative outlook already on their mind. This leads to bad attitudes, which only makes the experience of being at work worse, and for some reason it also seems to make time slow to a crawl. We’re not about that life, and we hope this post can do the same you that the song contained within it did for us.

The problem with finding something you’re passionate about at a young age is that you rarely, if ever, find a way to disassociate yourself from that passion. You might pull it off for awhile, if you’re lucky, but once you establish yourself in one arena it can be incredibly hard for the world to see you as anything else. I’ve seen it happen many times in my own life, both from friends and acquaintances. Even Michael Jordan struggled with it. After several years as the biggest athlete in the world Jordan decided he wanted to leave basketball to pursue a career in baseball. People were behind him for a minute or two, but once he hit the field and it was clear his skills were better applied on the court people began to cry foul. It no longer mattered what Michael wanted, or at least it didn’t seem to matter to the general public. They wanted the basketball star they loved to return, and in time that is exactly what they got.

I cannot speak for Michael Jordan, but I have spent many nights of my adult life wondering if he regrets not further pursuing his career in baseball. It’s true that he was never all that impressive of a player, but if baseball is where his passion lied then that is where he should have kept his focus. The minute you let the world dictate what you can and cannot do, or who you are and are not, is the minute you lose control of yourself. If you live your life trying to be the person you think the world sees you as you will never find your true self, and as a result you may never be truly happy. You have to do what is best for you, always, and sometimes that means going against everything you’ve done before, which is why I chose Coheed And Cambria for this week’s Motivation Monday post.

On Friday, October 16, Coheed and Cambria will release a new album titled The Color Before The Sun. The album is the eight studio release for the band, but only the first to exist outside their popular high concept recording series known as The Armory Wars. That conceptual saga has been one of the main forces propelling Coheed And Cambria into the public eye since their debut album, The Second Stage Turbine Blade, arrived in 2002. In fact, until the band decided to step outside the saga with their new release many fans expected The Armory Wars to continue as long as the band does, and while that may still happen it seems – at least for the time being – the group is ready to try something new.

The idea of doing something new or different is a scary proposal for any adult, especially if those changes relate to how that adult does their job. Coheed And Cambria have been a band for two decades at this point, but it wasn’t until the last year or so that frontman Claudio Sanchez decided to turn his storytelling talent inward to share his own perspectives on life, love, and the general chaos of existence. Think about that for a second. Two decades of shows, fan adoration, and critical-acclaim told Claudio he was good at writing a very particular style of music. A style he pretty much ushered into existence, truth be told, but at some point along the way his passion for that style of songwriting began to change. He found new ideas that lived outside his comfort zone, and for whatever reason he eventually hit a wall where he felt the only option was to pursue those interests to the fullest extent. He knew that in order to be happy he had to make a change, and instead of hiding behind another stage name or side project Claudio is sharing his newfound passion on the same stage where his previous work found its success. That is a bold move for anyone, let alone someone two decades into their career, but when you hear the music being created you know it was the right move to make.

When I listen to The Color Before The Sun I know there is life after doing something for yourself. I think all too often we get the idea in our heads that the world only accepts us for being one thing, and that thing is usually whatever we are at that particular moment. We fear meaningful change because it removes us from our comfort zone, exposing our insecurities to the world in a way that hasn’t happened since our current way of life was established some years back. But heed my words, dear friends, because longterm comfort is the cousin of death. To be comfortable as a creative type is to relax in a sea of sharks, making yourself vulnerable to the numerous predators of happiness through inaction. The only way to be who you are meant to be and find your way in this wacky world of ours is to be bold and take risks even when doing nothing seems like a safe bet. If your heart is calling you have to listen, and when The Color Before The Sun plays you know the band behind it is doing exactly what they feel they must in order to maintain their own sanity and happiness. That kind of sound inspires me to take my own life by the reigns, and I hope it will now do the same for you.

James Shotwell is the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. He is also a professional entertainment critic, covering both film and music, as well as the co-founder of Antique Records. Feel free to tell him you love or hate the article above by connecting with him on Twitter. Bonus points if you introduce yourself by sharing your favorite Simpsons character.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.