Taking Back Sunday is a rock band from Long Island, New York. Formed in 1999, they have since released 7 studio albums, as well as a number of live albums from their many years of touring. Throughout the years, their lineup and overall vibe has shuffled around a bit. With each new member, something different was brought to the band, thus making them a very fluid and ever-changing group, up until 2019.
They are now back to their somewhat original lineup, (minus former bass player Jesse Lacey of Brand New) with Adam Lazzara (lead vocals), John Nolan (lead guitar, keyboards, vocals), Shaun Cooper (bass guitar), and Mark O'Connell (drums), as well as being joined by Nathan Cogan (guitar) for their live performances.
Most recently, the band announced the release of a compilation album and international tour to celebrate their 20th anniversary as a band. Despite their many changes as a band, they have always stayed true to the nature of where they began. They have always stood for being genuine and honest with their audience and music. This is a clear testament to their longevity and success as a band.
What are you excited about for this particular tour?
The thing that’s always exciting when you’re on tour is playing the show and then seeing how the crowd is reacting. They’re having fun, they’re having drinks, the whole thing. Pretty much on any tour, that’s the most fun and exciting thing for us.
What are some really memorable crowd moments that you’ve had throughout your career?
The very first time we had a kit, we were playing upstate New York and the kids were just going nuts. One time there was a circle pit that Adam [Lazzara - the lead vocalist] made happen, which was pretty insane to watch. We also opened for Green Day in front of 60,000 people, which was pretty great.
What contributed towards the point in your career where you managed to really capture the live energy of your performances on record?
I think maybe just getting older, knowing what you want and having a cohesive relationship with everybody in the band. The mix also has a lot to do with that. On the next album, we’ve talked about recording live, where everybody is in a room together like in a live show. Hopefully that will really get the feeling of a live show, throwing back to our first album
What are some of the biggest struggles that you’ve overcome throughout your career?
I’ve definitely learned how to deal with different people and personalities and how to react to them. That’s a big one. And being able to stay calm whenever you’re not in a calm moment. There have been a lot of different members of the band, but what I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is just be cool. Being a nice person is always the better way to go.
Taking Back Sunday has had incredible success. But what does success mean to you?
Success means longevity. The fact that we’re still here and still doing it, that’s the biggest thing by far. Every single day I think about how lucky we are to still be doing this and how people still care.
What inspires you?
My love for music, playing music, and for playing music that other people enjoy. It really hasn’t changed at all. Apart from everybody just keeps on getting better at their craft. If you don’t keep up, it means that you don’t love it. We’re getting better with age. If you don’t give a sh*t, you’re not trying to up the ante.
Do you have any habits that help you grow yourself and your band?
One thing that I do personally is the drumsticks that I play on my drum pad with before the show are the sticks I start the show with. Another thing is we high five. Everybody high fives, every single night, we’ve been doing that for years. I don’t really know how it started, one day it just started happening. We make sure that everybody gives every single person a high five before the show.
When connecting with your audience, are there any specific things that you do as a band to further that connection?
Loving what we’re doing, without a doubt. We give it our all every single night. We want to put on a good show, we want everybody to have a good time, we want to have fun. People can tell if you’re full of sh*t or if you’re not, and I think that’s one of the biggest reasons why we’re still here. We’re having fun and it’s all real.
Have you noticed a difference in your audience between when you started and now?
They’ve gotten older. They used to be young kids. A lot of times people have met at our shows and now they’re married for 10 years and they have two, three kids and they’re all at the show with their families. That’s the coolest sh*t to me, I love seeing that.
Have you had any hardcore fan moments that have stuck with you?
People bring us presents, nothing crazy has happened, but we get presents from people. This girl who’s a very big fan, I just had a daughter, and she knitted a blanket for my daughter. We have fans like that, real cool stuff.
How do you #getinthegroove?
Usually, everyday I’ll start playing music and practice on my drum pad. To start off the day, I’ll throw on some doo wop, some classic rock, this and that. When it gets about a half hour before the show, I’ll throw on some Pantera, some Metallica to just get you pumped, get you into that headspace of “let’s do this”. Metal is always a good thing to throw on before you play.
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