Key Entity Extraction III: Vic the Butcher

Album: The Afterman: Ascension (2012)

Songfacts®:

  • This song is part of a double concept album that follows the character Sirius Amory as he inhabits the souls of being who have passed on. When he enters the soul of Vic the Butcher, he occupies the spirit of a madman with no regard for life. "Vic the Butcher was, in his human life, a terrible person," guitarist Travis Stever explained. "He burned a bunch of people in an apartment building. He was evicting people, but they couldn't get out - just a really evil person. Started a fire to get the insurance money and did evil things. He works for evil people. But he was one of those people that once they went to this afterlife, they were unsettled and stuck there."
  • The science fiction elements in the story of this song and The Afterman album were based on real life events that happened to Coheed and Cambria frontman Claudio Sanchez. The line in this song, "184, let's burn it down," relates to a domestic conflict. "Claudio had gotten into a fight with a friend of ours one night, and I was actually there," Travis Stever told us. "A lot of the words are an almost therapeutic way for him to get out some of his anger for what he felt for this person. And he also got into a fight with his wife when he got home, and that fight was in the apartment they lived in, which was 184.

    The story comes after he's already made this song about something that really happened, and then he creates the words to tell the story. But at the same time being something that really happened to him. Like basically you're saying, '184, let's burn it down.' Like, 'F--k it, we don't have to live here anymore. I don't care about anything.' He's so upset that he has this fight, so he's like, 'F--k it, I don't care, burn this building down. I don't give a s--t.'"
  • Claudio Sanchez handles the bulk of the songwriting in the band and has the final cut when it comes to creative decisions. This can be tough for his bandmates, who have to develop a thick skin and a degree of trust. "You've got to separate yourself. So what I need to do is try and just let it happen and not get too protective of my own feelings," Travis Stever says. "'Vic the Butcher' is this great example of it, because it's my favorite song to play live now. It's funny how that works. When we recorded it, I was like, 'Aw, man, I would have played this part different' and 'I would have done that,' but that's how he heard it, and it's the way he wanted the song to be. And so when I played those parts, I put my heart and soul into it and it shows."

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