About a decade ago, some members of the band became heavily involved in drugs. What are your memories of that period?
“It was both Josh [Eppard, drummer] and Mic [Todd, former bassist], Coheed And Cambria’s own Toxic Twins. That was a difficult time. We were young. If anything, we were too young to deal with the idea of chemical dependency. The band had just signed to a major label and it was a really trying moment. We were living our dream and we were already suffering from that rock’n’roll fate. So we were trying to keep everyone okay while basically living the dream. It was so sudden that we were scrambling to pick up the pieces. And all the while there was no floor, if that makes any sense. We were going to fall apart. Travis [Stever, guitarist] and I have been friends since we were 12 or 13 years old, and we knew that we were going to have to deal with this devastation. So we just kept going as best as we could. But it was hard, man, ‘cause there were packages of opioid pills being delivered. I remember one incident when our tour manager at the time, Chuck, called me in – I think we were on tour with Avenged Sevenfold at the time – to the production office and shows me this enormous box, out of which he pulled out this bottle. I’d never seen a bottle that big before. And it was full of that stuff. Now, I’ve grown up with chemical dependency in my family, but as bad as that was, people were still handling their shit. So I didn’t know what full collapse looked like. But I looked at this bottle and told the tour manager, ‘Man, you’ve got to flush this.’ And so we did; we flushed this whole bottle of pills down the toilet. I don’t know what it cost.”
What was the chemical dependency in your family?
“Oh, it was heroin. It was my dad, but my mother and father, despite the situation – and my mother never did any drugs – they endured. My dad would work every day, nine to five, and provide for his family. His dependency was never an impediment to him, or us; it was never something we knew about. Life felt regular. My parents stayed together – they’re still together, happily married – and he’s clean now. It’s quite amazing. Some people would say, ‘Oh, drugs are bad,’ and I guess they are, but he wasn’t a bad person. Once you hear certain things [about addicts] your mind leaps to one conclusion, but he was as good as good can get.”
Did you ever dabble in drugs?
“Yes. But because I knew of the control that certain drugs exert over the user, and things like that, I stayed away from those. There was no cocaine use, and no heroin. For me, I was mostly intrigued by smoking pot, and I was really intrigued by hallucinogenics.”