Coheed & Cambria Enjoying Big 'Year'

The Top 5 debut for Coheed & Cambria's latest album, "Year of the Black Rainbow," left drummer Chris Pennie double-stoked.

First, Pennie tells, is the showing itself, the best of Coheed & Cambria's five albums on the Billboard 200 following Top 10 bows by the group's two "Gold Apollo..." albums in 2005 and 2007. "We don't technically really get into (chart positions) that much," Pennie says, "but it's nice to know that still, five albums deep, the band has such a great following."

And Pennie, a co-founder of Dillinger Escape Plan, is gratified to be a part of it this time, even though he's been part of the band since June of 2007 but was kept from being part of "Good Apollo...Volume Two" because of Dillinger's outstanding contractual obligations to Relapse Records at the time. (Foo Fighters' Taylor Hawkins did the drumming on that album.)

"It means a lot, man, to be three years into my life in the band and to finally have something tangible to hold in my hands and say, 'Wow, I'm a part of this," explains Pennie, who acknowledges that the period of recording purgatory was "really kind of a dark time...But I'm grateful (the band) really stuck with me and we got to this point where I'm free and clear and onward and upward. Now I can document it and say, 'Hey, this is something I was able to finally, 100 percent be a part of.' It's an amazing feeling, a really special feeling."

Pennie and the rest of Coheed & Cambria are now trying to convey that feeling to fans on the road. The group is in the midst of a North American headlining tour that stretches into early June, with stops at Rock on the Range in Columbus, Ohio, and Pointfest outside St. Louis. And although "Year of the Black Rainbow" is part of frontman Claudio Sanchez's continuing science fiction saga -- a prequel, actually, complete with a 352-page companion novel in deluxe editions -- Pennie says the group is currently just mixing the new songs with older material at the shows.

"We're just playing a lot of old stuff, a lot of new stuff, just the combination of everything," he says. "It pretty much spans all five records right now, nothing in its entirety. We did that with the Neverender shows (in 2008), and I guess at some point we'll end up doing another round of those shows somewhere in the future. But right now it's about an hour and 40 minutes' worth of music that spans everything from (2002's) 'Second Stage...' all the way to the new record."

Coheed & Cambria heads overseas in June for mostly festival dates and also will be part of Japan's Summer Sonic festivals in Tokyo and Osaka in August. Pennie expects Australian dates to be scheduled, too, as well as "possibly coming back (to North America) in the fall to do maybe another headlining run or support. There's nothing really definite yet, just little blips on the radar. It's all kind of tentative. It's a matter of what we're choosing to do and how to do it for the latter half of the year."