Taking Back Sunday
Turning an Alabama born bass player, living in South Carolina, into a lead singer is a risky proposition. But that's what guitarist Ed Reyes did with Adam Lazzara when he began Taking Back Sunday in '99. Figuring two guitars are always better than one, Reyes also recruited guitarist John Nolan.
The Amityville, NY, group released a self-titled EP in '01 that didn't do much. So the following year they returned to the studio for another shot with "Tell All Your Friends."
This album got them opening slots with The Used, At the Drive-In and Alkaline Trio, among others, and a run on '03's Vans Warped Tour. But all was not well. Nolan and bassist Shaun Cooper bailed to start another group. The departure may have occurred as the result of a relationship ending badly - namely between Lazzara and Nolan's sister. Guitarist/vocalist Fred Mascherino and bassist Matt Rubano were tapped as replacements.
With the arrival of their second album, "Where You Want To Be," in '04, Taking Back Sunday found themselves opening for Blink-182 and landed a more prominent spot on that year's Warped Tour. Thanks to the single "A Decade Under The Influence," "Where You Want To Be" peaked at #3 on the Billboard Album Chart.
In '05, Taking Back Sunday moved from the indie Victory Records to Warner for their third album, "Louder Now." They then toured with Tom DeLonge's (Blink-182) band Angels & Airwaves.
Sometimes change can be beneficial or at least appear so. In May, '08, Taking Back Sunday announced that Matt Fazzi had replaced lead guitarist/vocalist Mascherino.
"(Fazzi) has brought new life to Taking Back Sunday," said Lazzara. "He continues to give us a new perspective on how we each write and listen to music, pushing both himself and us to cross new borders and venture into new territories with our music. He is the push we needed to break through some walls this time around."
"On this record ("New Again"), we challenged ourselves to write the best songs we possibly could while trying new things in an effort to push the envelope in terms of what it means to sound like Taking Back Sunday," added Rubano. "I think this record has an honesty and an urgency that we haven't achieved before."
"New Again" landed in June '09. For touring, the group added guitarist Isaac Bolivar.
2002 Tell All Your Friends
2004 Where You Want to Be
2006 Louder Now
2009 New Again
2011 Taking Back Sunday
2014 Happiness Is
One of the things that usually happens when an indie group signs with a major label is they are often assigned a top line producer. Somebody with a track record, like Eric Valentine, who has worked with Third Eye Blind and Queens Of The Stone Age.
The producer is there to enhance the elements that earned the group notice in the first place while reducing, if not eliminating, those affectations that have held them back. It's tricky business.
Major labels are interested in sales (so are indie labels but they seem a little less dogmatic or bottom-line about it). Anything that impedes revenues needs to be removed. Some groups emerge totally changed while others produce their best work. Most of the time, groups land in the middle, like Taking Back Sunday.