Taking Back Sunday
Taking Back Sunday
In 1999, Adam Lazzara and Eddie Reyes began a low-key musical group together in Amityville, New York. By 2001, their duo evolved into a four-piece band called Taking Back Sunday. With Lazzara on vocals, Reyes on guitar, John Nolan on guitar/second lead vocals, and Shaun Cooper on bass; the foursome took their favorite parts from preeminent emo bands like Sunny Day Real Estate and Fugazi to form their own hybrid of melancholic aggressive rock music that has been called everything from (mostly) emo, screamo, hardcore and even, at times, pop-punk. Taking Back Sunday's calling card was the combination of dual vocals—one, more singing like (Lazzara), and the other more screaming and throaty shouts (Nolan).
In 2001, Taking Back Sunday recorded a five-song demo, which put them on the roster of independent label Victory Records. They soon recorded their debut album at New Jersey's Big Blue Mean Recording Studios with producer Sal Villanueva. In the spring of 2002, Victory released Tell All Your Friends, which sold more than 2,300 copies in the first week alone. It went on to sell more than 350,000. Rolling Stone's Laura Sinagra called Tell All Your Friends, "… frenetic, hardcore pop."
After the triumphant release of their debut album, the band ushered off on tours, where they opened for bands like Rival Schools and The Used before they embarked on a headlining tour dubbed The Takeover Tour in the spring of 2003. The band was scheduled to spend their summer on the road with the Vans Warped Tour when suddenly both Cooper and Nolan quit the band (they later joined forces to start the band Stray-light Run). Tension had been high in the group after Lazzara broke up with his girlfriend, who happened to be Nolan's sister.
Plans for Taking Back Sunday's first trip to England as well as the Vans Warped Tour were cancelled while the remaining members thought about whether the group should even continue. They began to make a few calls to see about the possibility of bringing in new players. In came guitarist Fred Mascherino, whom Taking Back Sunday knew from touring with his previous band Breaking Pangea. Mascherino's guitar style and his from-the-gut vocals were a tight match for Lazzara and band mates. A new guitarist was found. Shortly after, New York session bassist Matt Rubano joined Taking Back Sunday and the refreshed outfit began to practice nonstop to try and make the last few days of the Vans Warped Tour.
Not only did they regroup in time to make the end of the tour, but they then went on tour with Saves The Day in the fall. While it seemed time to start a new record, the band wanted to make sure their new line up was working and working well before they jumped back into the studio. "We didn't want to put anything out, or do anything, until we were 110 percent positive that it was gonna work," Lazzara told Revolver. "We were practicing all day for like, five days a week," continued Mascherino. "Just writing, writing, until we couldn't do anymore. We did that for, like, a month and a half, and then the next thing we knew, we had all these songs. Being new to the band, I certainly wanted to prove something to the fans, and I think these guys wanted to prove that Taking Back Sunday would continue on as strong as ever. We wanted to make the best possible thing we could make, and it took a lot of work to get that."
In the spring of 2004, Taking Back Sunday recorded their sophomore album with producer Lou Giordano (Sunny Day Real Estate, Goo Goo Dolls). The new songs had a strong shape when the band entered the studio after Mascherino and Lazzara spent time writing alone. "There would always be all five of us there, steering the song in whatever direction we thought was best," Mascherino said to Alternative Press. "The last couple weeks before we recorded, I went to Adam's house and I didn't leave for several days. We were sitting there with guitars and a 4-track and piles of lyrics that we printed out, just figuring out what we were trying to say."
After a tour opening for Blink-182, Taking Back Sunday released their new single in the middle of the summer. The track, "A Decade Under the Influence," was a prime lead off for the summer release of their sophomore album, Where You Want To Be. Revolver called the album "… a powerful and inventive blast of modern hardcore." Lazzara told Alternative Press that for the new album, he found a larger cache of material to write about; "We don't whine about girls as much, which is real cool. For me, a lot of stuff was just … I feel like I've learned more in the last two years of my life than in my life as a whole, so it's really just grabbing stuff directly from that," he said. That didn't stop Rolling Stone's Sinagra from calling the band, "… poster boys for the serial trysts and breakups of the emo love life."
For the Record …
Members include Shaun Cooper (left group, 2003), bass; Adam Lazzara, vocals; Fred Mascherino (joined group, 2003), guitars, vocals; Mark O'Connell, drums; John Nolan (left group, 2003), guitar, vocals; Eddie Reyes, guitar; Matt Rubano (joined group, 2003), bass.
Group formed in Amityville, NY, 1999; signed to Victory Records, 2001; released debut album, Tell All Your Friends, 2002; members John Nolan and Shaun Cooper left group, 2003, replaced by Fred Mascherino and Matt Rubano; released Where You Want to Be, 2004; signed to major label Warner Bros, 2005; released Louder Now on Warner Bros., 2006.
Addresses: Record company—Warner Bros., 3300 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505-4694. Website—Taking Back Sunday Official Website: http://www.takingbacksunday.com.
After gracing the cover of both Alternative Press and Revolver in September of 2004, when spring of 2005 hit, the band toured with Jimmy Eat World just before they announced they had signed to major label Warner Bros. That coming fall, the band began to record their major-label debut in Los Angeles with producer Eric Valentine (Queens of the Stone Age, Good Charlotte). With Warner Bros. money, which meant better recording equipment and more time, Taking Back Sunday had to up their sound to match other major label artists. "We wanted to make a much more rock-oriented record," Matt Rubano told Billboard. "We did that not in changing our songwriting but maybe in the recording and the tones of the instruments. We also got a really unique character out of each song."
After a Stateside tour that began in March, in April, 2006, Warner Bros. released Louder Now. Lazzara said in an interview with Rolling Stone's Lauren Gitlin that they used everything Warner Bros. had at their disposal. "It's kind of like taking a seven-year-old kid and putting him in Toys 'R' Us," he said. "It gave us a chance to have more than two guitar sounds on a record. We took a painstakingly long time. I'd come by the studio, and some of the things coming out—I'm like, 'This is us? This is our band?' I love it."
Tell All Your Friends, Victory Records, 2002.
Where You Want to Be, Victory Records, 2004.
Louder Now, Warner Bros., 2006.
Alternative Press, September 2004.
Revolver, September 2004.
Rolling Stone, September 2, 2004.
Billboard, http://www.billboard.com (February 20, 2006).
Rolling Stone, http://www.rollingstone.com (February 20, 2006).
Additional information was provided by Victory Records publicity materials, 2004.
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