Caroline Jones

16:20 1st September 2006

Taking Back Sunday

Taking Back Sunday are tired. Not in a rude, don’t want to do an interview way. But just in an exhausted too tired to talk kind of a way. And it’s no surprise they’ve been working flat out. “Had Taste Of Chaos started next week I’d probably kill myself,” says Matt Rubano, Taking Back Sunday’s bassist. “We’re extremely burnt out right now but in a good way. Like we’ve been doing so much lately, by lately I mean the last six months, and the last two years.”

The band started the year touring the UK, they played Give It A Name in April, released their third album, toured Australia and continued to tour Europe, played two intimate shows before the Kerrang! Awards last week, played Leeds and Reading going to Paris for Rock En Seine in-between. Next week they play MTV’s Video Music Awards, an AIDS benefit the night before, and two shows in north east America with My Chemical Romance after. Then they’ll finally get a few weeks off before heading to New Zealand on October 4th for Taste Of Chaos where they’ll be headlining the seven-week tour which will take them all over the world, reaching the UK in November, along with Alexisonfire, Underoath, Anti-Flag, Senses Fail and Saosin.

“We keep a real breakneck pace,’ says Rubano. ‘I think it seems to people that in-between records and tours bands are just relaxing and at home but they’re not. Every band I know has had maybe a month off in-between what people perceive as the end of a record and the beginning of the recording of the next record, and then you start touring right away but I mean it’s the life, it’s a great life.” 

TBS formed in 1999 with singer Antonio Longo and drummer Stevie D, but it took a drastic line-up change (the band became: Lazarra, Reyes, O’Connell, bassist Shaun Cooper and guitarist John Nolan) before they were signed to Victory in 2002. Their debut album Tell All Your Friends was a huge success with its biting lyrics and hardcore tendencies and the band gained a reputation for frenetic live shows. They toured relentlessly during 2002 and 2003, this put a strain on the band and forced Cooper and Nolan to leave the band in the middle of a tour.  Old friends of the band Fred Mascherino and Matt Rubano were drafted in and this line-up went on to record and release Where You Want To Be in 2004. Endless touring again followed and the band earnt an amazingly dedicated fan base and a deal with Warner Records which brings us to now, their third album Louder Now, relentless touring once more and Taste Of Chaos in the autumn.

“I’m looking forward to Taste Of Chaos,” says Rubano. “Especially because it’ll give us a chance to go to some countries we haven’t been to yet. There’s some Italy dates and Switzerland, Austria, mostly mainland Europe shows and New Zealand, we’ve not played New Zealand yet but Australia will be a return visit and obviously the UK. Japan we’ll be playing in Nagoya in addition to Osaka and Tokyo which we’ve already played. So some exciting new stuff, some second time and some - like the UK - will just sort of be like homecoming.”

Taking Back Sunday

TBS played their first ever UK gig to a packed London Astoria and given that all their UK memories start at the Astoria they’re clearly disappointed with recent rumours that the venue is to be demolished and replaced with shops and offices. “It’s a total drag,” says Rubano. “I mean that was our first London show ever, it was one of the milestones over here. It was our first show and it was sold out and for such a large venue for never having been here before it was impressive. It’s sad when a place that has so many memories for you is going to be turned into something so blah and meaningless. But I think it sort of reminds us of CBGBs in New York which also has been seemingly under the knife for a long time. It’s really unfortunate but you can only hope that another place will sprout up elsewhere and start up a line of history. But it sucks when there’s one less place to play in a city.”

TBS has always been a band to remember where they started out, something which is demonstrated by the presence of he number 152 on the cover of all their three albums. “The significance of the number 152 is it’s an exit number off a highway in North Carolina where Adam and his friends used to sort of hang out and gather before going to shows typically,” says Rubano. “It’s sort of a way of letting people who have been with the band a long time know… It’s kind of keeping a foot in your roots.”

And their roots (whether they like to admit it or not) are emo. “As far as emo is concerned we don’t fancy ourselves an emo band,” says Rubano. “I don’t think anyone does. I mean it’s great, it’s a genre, it’s a description, it’s a box. But we’ve never thought of our band as being in a box, even though it’s evident where we come from. But punk, hardcore, rock, we have influences of all those things. I think our goals are to write good music and whoever perceives it as good music if it’s emo fans or rock fans or pop music fans, so be it, who cares?

“I was thinking to myself, cos I was just flipping through a magazine and I don’t know, I unfortunately have to point the finger at journalists for anything like that, for metal versus grunge, rap versus rock or hip hop. Genre wars are ridiculous. I mean you never hear classical musicians being like ‘Oh those punk musicians are so…’ You’re like who gives a shit? It’s like scientists arguing with football players, they don’t have to coexist, there’s no reason for Slayer to worry about Taking Back Sunday or vice versa. I’m not one to pay attention to genre classification or scrutinise your audience, because I feel like as a performer that’s a faux pas. You just should be grateful that you have an audience.”

Although there’s one thing Rubano has noticed. “There’s definitely a different feeling everywhere you go, we’ve just played in Japan for the first time and it was really bizarre,” he says. “Not that I didn’t like it but it just took some getting used to, the silent audience. They applaud immediately after a song and then they go to an immediate hush. I mean I think, they do it for everyone, they just wanna hear what you’re saying. They may not even speak English but I guess, it’s a respect thing which is kinda cool.

“But I don’t know, like I said scrutinising an audience is not something I’m into, I just sort of observer them and see how people are different. But we’ve always looked forward to coming over here to the UK, it’s been like a place where we’ve had tonnes of milestones for our band: from opening for Green Day to 65,000 people at Milton Keynes Bowl, to playing festivals like Leeds and Reading, our first Astoria gig, and being knocked out on stage at Give It A Name. Something big and chaotic always seems to happen to us over here, so who knows what going to happen in November.”

Well, you’ve been warned. TBS are heading our way and there’s going to be chaos.