|Photo by: takingbacksunday.com|
After reuniting with the lineup from their debut album, Tell All Your Friends, Taking Back Sunday is proving to fans that after seven years, the group can still produce strong records and perform amazing shows. With an appropriately self-titled album released in June and a tour featuring The Maine and Bad Rabbits, TBS is showing the world how the time apart strengthened and saved the band.
ACRN spoke to Taking Back Sunday bassist Shaun Cooper about the new album, touring and Voltron.
ACRN: With the band’s reunion you guys had a lot of expectations built up. Were there any nerves about living up to them?
Shaun Cooper: Um, no because we’re just really happy doing what we’re doing. So I mean, we want people to be happy, and we thought we had recorded a really strong record. So, it’s more of the writing and stuff that was hard.
It seems that people are pretty happy with the record, and I think people are very happy about the live show, because I think it translates really well that we’re so happy to be on stage with each other again. So, I feel like those people just getting to see that again makes it very easy for us.
ACRN: How do you deal with fans that were expecting Tell All Your Friends Part 2?
SC: Well, I think that they were kind of few and far between, and I think that the band kind of lost those fans as it went along anyway, since it was so long ago. It’s just a shame if people were looking for that. I don’t know why, we’re ten years older, ten years wiser, just musically, we’ve all evolved so much. That just to that would be a disservice to the band.
SC: Yeah, we got some plans for another single. We’re still trying to decide what it is. I think we’re in the process of figuring it out. Hopefully in the next month or so, we’ll have it out there. We’ve had a couple of videos shot. We’re going to pick the best one and go with that as the single.
ACRN: What tracks were those for?
SC: I don’t want to say anything just yet in case we change our minds. I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up or something you know?
ACRN: Yeah, definitely. You’re currently touring with The Maine and Bad Rabbits. How has it been so far?
SC: It’s been great. I think it makes for a very diverse bill. They’re both great bands and really cool people that have been really fun to just hang out with as well as watch live every night. So, we’re really lucky that those guys agreed to do the tour with us.
ACRN: You’re known for having really high energy shows while touring. How do you keep it up after touring for over six months?
SC: Well, it’s just what we do; we’re professionals. We’ve been doing this for a long time. And the thing is, too, we’re really genuinely happy to be playing every night. We realize how lucky we are that we get to do this for a job. And, that’s what our whole focus is: putting on the best live show we can possibly give people. So we try and get as much rest as we can every night after the show. We try and stay fit and eat right. And get up there and kill it. We’re very fortunate that our fans who are out there who are so crazy that it gives us some much energy to give every night. Seeing that, it makes our job very easy.
ACRN: A unique feature of the tour is that you guys are selling packages with meet and greets and Q&As. Where did you guys get the idea?
SC: I think our manager came up with it, or we’d seen a couple other bands doing it, and we thought it’d be cool. And the thing is, while we’re on tour, the five of us, it’s hard to keep us all in the same room at the same time. So, a lot of kids if they’re hanging outside the show, they see us all at different times, so it gives them that chance to ask us some questions, hang out for a while, get a poster, take some pictures, where otherwise it’s really hard to do.
We all have wives, we’re all on the phone constantly every day, calling back home or we have other press and other obligations, sound checking or writing other songs. So, it can be pretty hectic to get us all together all at the same time. We just thought it was a really cool thing to give people that access to us.
ACRN: Did you have any awkward questions or creepy fan encounters?
SC: Not particularly, there was one girl who kept asking questions in Sauget, Illinois. It was just really just kind of funny because she wasn’t allowing anyone else a chance to speak. So it was a pretty silly thing, after we’d be on the last couple words of answering each question she’s chime right in with another one. That was the only definitely odd experience, but everyone was kind of laughing about it. At one point we had to be like, “Hey anybody else have a question?” And there were like eight of people trying to jump in because she had used up so much of the time. It was pretty comical.
ACRN: Not only are you having meet and greets, but also when you were in the UK you had a lot of signings and even with the album released some b-sides and a commentary with it. When a lot of bands reach the level of popularity you guys are at, there’s not as much reaching out towards the fans. Why have you made the conscious effort to continue that relationship?
SC: Because it’s important, you know? Our job is very easy, we get to play music every night with our friends, so it’s just doing those little things we feel like is important to give that access to us. We’re a very personable band. We cheer at the people who come to those shows. They pay money for that ticket, they pay the money for that record.
And we want to give everything we can to try to give them their value. We just feel really good about it. And it’s a pleasure for us to meet people; it’s a pleasure for us to do those things like the commentary. You know I listen to it--what Adam [Lazzara, vocalist] and John [Nolan, lead guitar/co-vocalist] say--and I think it’s hysterical. We’re just so happy and grateful to have the job that we and especially for a decade. If we can give back in some little way, like those things, you know that it really feels like the least we could do.
ACRN: On the commentary, when John and Adam are discussing “Not Going Anywhere” they also mention a different version--which they refer to as “The Voltron Song”--and said there were some uncomfortable parts. What did they mean?
SC: [Laughs] Right, well do you know what Voltron is?
ACRN: It’s the uh, like the comic thing, with the giant...character I might be wrong.
SC: The thing was all the characters coming together to form one giant robot. I don’t know Voltron very well, either. Adam and John were fans; I’m more of a ThunderCats guy. The thing was they were having trouble coming up with lyrics and this one song, Adam had a really great melody for it and he was just like, “I can’t, I can’t find the right words.” So then he just started randomly writing about Voltron.
And it came together and the words fit it. It was absolutely ridiculous. And it made no sense, and it was a song that if we had included that version in the record, or anywhere else, no one would’ve understood what the hell was going on. It was really funny, it was just trying to get some words for the great melody he had.
ACRN: I’ve read a few comments that suggest you’re writing new material or at least plan on writing soon, how much truth is there to that?
SC: Yeah. It’s absolutely true. The day before yesterday [Monday, October 10] we actually drove to Mark Hudson’s studio in Michigan. We went out of our way to record a new song that we were just really excited about. We’re motivated now. We’ve been touring for a while and now we’re kind of getting creative again. We’ve had a little bit of time at home, a lot of time on the road. Think we’re just gearing up now to get some more songs written, because it’s fun for us, quite frankly.
ACRN: Do you plan on going right back into the studio when you’re done touring or are you going to take a little break?
SC: Well, we have a lot more touring through 2012. Basically we’re getting our schedule together for the entire year. So, it’s looking like 2012 will be a very, very busy one for us.
ACRN: Because this interview is for a college station at Ohio University, I’m not sure if you’re aware, but it was recently ranked the number one party school in the country and Halloween is our big celebration. What would you dress up as for the festivities?
SC: [Laughs] Uh, I don’t know. I’d probably just wear what I usually wear. I’m not really a snappy dresser. But, maybe I’d wear a tuxedo if it were that big of a celebration.
ACRN: Do you have anything you’d like to add to your fans?
SC: Just thanks for sticking with us, and I genuinely feel I’m so proud of the record we just put out, but I think the best is really yet to come with this band. We’re very motivated and we’re just getting this thing started again.
ACRN talks to The Girls! about female insecurity, dancing with Snat and rocking out minus pesky clothing.
With viral success and a spot at this year's 11 Fest, Watch the Duck talks about how they came to be, what their stage show is like and what "watch the duck" really means.
ACRN sits down with Sparks the Rescue to talk about the band's acoustic tour, working hard at Warped Tour, and when it's appropriate to lie to NYC paramedics.
ACRN speaks with Andrew Jackson Jihad about touring, recording and personal hygiene.
Mike Polk is the director of the upcoming documentary "Making Mail," which will feature music from many bands throughout Ohio.
ACRN got to sit down with Pusha T to discuss his tumultuous arrival in Athens, his new label, and his new "hardcore" album, which won't disappoint Pusha T fans.
ACRN got the chance to speak with Machine Gun Kelly about how he prepares before going on stage, life on the road, and why he prefers a tour bus.
Mike Watt is still busy touring and rocking out twenty-five years after the disbandment of The Minutemen.
ACRN caught up with At the Skylines vocalist Chris Shelley to talk about what the post-hardcore six-piece is all about.
New Difficult Dogs spin-off Sure Plus will open the Lobsterfest show Friday and set a new record for noise at the Dragon's Cup.