15 years since the release of their major-label debut Louder Now, Long Island, New York's Taking Back Sunday have plenty of reason to celebrate with that incredible milestone alone.
But for a band that has seen numerous line-up changes throughout their 22-year career spanning seven studio albums -- getting back on the road after being forced to pause due to COVID restrictions is the real cause to commend.
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Taking Back Sunday singer Adam Lazzara and drummer Mark O'Connell joined Audacy host Kevan Kenney this week to get into the weeds regarding their 2006 Warner Bros. Records debut Louder Now and how the album has impacted not only the band members but their legions of fans over the years. "I think after this last year that we had, it's been really nice to kind of take that stroll down Memory Lane," Adam says. "I feel like I'm already kind of a sentimental guy, but there's something about feeling so isolated from everyone. This is the longest time Mark and I haven't seen one another in person... since the band started. So, it's been nice to revisit; there's things that Mark remembers that I didn't at first, and vice-versa. Normally we don't like to spend too much time being nostalgic, but right now it just feels nice."
"I think the coolest part of being able to go back," O'ConnellMark says, "is that we're in that situation anyway. That's not a normal thing for a band to be able to [have] people talk about their album that they put out once. That's the coolest thing about it, if you break it down... we're lucky."
As a fan, for Kevan in 2006 to see his favorite band "getting famous" when signing to a major label was exhilarating. No more home movies; it's big budgets and late-night shows from here on out. For the band members, "it felt not real. At the time I didn't process it at all," says Mark. "We were young, and then we were there doing that stuff, and I didn't realize what we were doing at the time until I was in my thirties. And then in my thirties, I was like, 'wow, that was cool that we did that.' But it was just happening quickly at that time, and it just didn't seem real." The sudden step up was similarly shocking for Adam. "All of a sudden, like our live shows," he says, "these wacky production ideas that we had, we could do now." Seconding what Mark said earlier, Adam agrees "things were moving so quickly at the time, that we were just riding the wave. It wasn't until later that we were able to really understand and process, like, 'holy s***! That was a wild ride.'"
"When we went into 'Louder Now,'" Adam admits, "we were all really aware that we were on a major label now; we're working with Eric Valentine who's the best, so we have to show the people everything we can do. We threw everything at the wall, and put everything we had into it. On the record and in the live performances, you know, that was the only thing at that time that mattered to us."
Making their move from the indie Victory Records to Warner was as smooth as they could have hoped, with no input from their new employer to change their sound for a wider audience. "They let us do our thing." says Mark. "If anything they were really supportive of what we were doing," adds Adam. "You hear all these horror stories of a band signing to a major and A&R getting too involved... at that time we didn't experience any of that. They left us to do our thing, and I'm really grateful for that."
Along their travels, TBS have been included in numerous soundtracks and video games -- the not-so-equivalent in some respect to today's viral and "TikTok-able" hits. But in the early days of music discovery on the Internet, the places to be were services like Limewire, Kazaa, and Napster. Aside from Mark remembering when one of his friends uploading a demo of their Tell All Your Friends album to Napster, without vocal tracks, the band never really played into the hype of new machines. "For us," Adam says, "it was more just playing shows and writing. With the gift of hindsight you can really see how the music industry in general just really crumbled."
"There too, it was kind of like the start of Facebook -- MySpace into Facebook -- so, I'm almost positive that that helped us a whole lot," Adam continues, "because people were sharing our music that way. Then, hopefully, that would get the folks to shows so that they could see what we do." It's almost inverted completely with today's model of marketing first with live shows being an afterthought. "I think that we're lucky," Mark says, "because that side, I don't know if we have that. We lucked out." Adam agrees, pointing out, "like Bob Dylan said, 'you change with the times or you sink like a stone.' But there's so much that feels so temporary now and that's not something that we've ever wanted to be. Hopefully, we can keep doing what we're doing without having to do that stuff."
The band is currently drafting up a vinyl re-pressing of 2006's fan-favorite Louder Now, for all of those itching to scoop up some new wax from TBS. "We had an email thread about it just the other day," Adam revealed. "So, we're working on it -- stay tuned." Because of the pandemic, it's a trickier project than you would expect. "All the supply chains for everything got all squirrelly," Adam says. "It's just hard to get certain things in a timely manner just because everything is finding its feet."
Although live concerts are still mostly up in the air, at this point there have been some positive moves being made on the tour front. Dashboard Confessional, Glass Animals, Deftones, and Rise Against are just a few of the bands who have announced brand new tour dates for 2021. We know Taking Back Sunday have been announced to perform at this year's Riot Fest in Chicago this September and without getting any hopes up, their plan is to "see everyone in their respective cities very soon," says Adam. "Just so long as everybody keeps doing the right thing... and then we're just working on new music. We're about to get back into it, and I'm really excited."
During their chat, Adam and Mark also shared with Kevan a special moment they had as a band -- which happened at the side of the stage with Green Day (who just dropped a brand new single and are hitting the road in the U.S. this summer on the Hella Mega Tour.) Adam says while Billie Joe, Tré, and Mike were waiting to take the stage, Tré looked out into the clear blue sky and said to them, "See that? Look at that!" As they turned to look, Tré confirmed... "That's 'cuz God wants to watch his favorite band!" Rock star status, complete.
Watch Kevan Kenney's full interview with Adam and Mark of Taking Back Sunday above, and stay tuned for more conversations with your favorite artists right here on Audacy!