Interview: Taking Back Sunday
Tue, 05 Jul 2011 13:00:03
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You can go home again. That's the lesson that the members of emo rock titans Taking Back Sunday have learned as of late. After a seven-year split, the core, fan-favorite, Tell All Your Friends lineup is back in action, and that includes guitarist John Nolan and bassist Shaun Cooper who split from the band in 2003, crushing diehard fans' hopes and devastating their dreams. The pair went on to form Straylight Run, but TBS legion always wished that he and Cooper would return to the band...
...which they did in 2010. While TBD soldiered on just fine without Nolan and Cooper, signing to a major label, releasing critically praised records and satiating fan appetites, there were always the hope, in the back of the fans' minds, that the prodigal sons Nolan and Cooper would find their way back to the TBD flock.
The band just released the eponymous Taking Back Sunday -their fifth- which reminds us why the band catapulted to such massive success in the early part of the previous decade.
ARTISTdirect.com News Editor Amy Sciarretto grabbed some time with Nolan, who was candid and forthright about his exit and his return, Long Island accents and about going home again.
What was the impetus for your return to the band?
Our drummer Mark [O'Connell] had been formulating this idea in his head for a while. I had kept in touch with him. He was really into it and though it was going to be so much fun. That really hit me. I had been in touch with him for a long time.
Ah, so Mark was the architect. Take us back to the time when you were contemplating leaving the band.
When I had left the band, Eddie [Reyes], Adam [Lazzara] and Mark were not very close. They were kind of at each other's throats. At some point, something happened, and they became this tight-knit unit and the three of them were like brothers. That made me optimistic and excited.
Why did you leave, since it was nearly a decade ago when you split?
There was a lot of reasons. It's like a long-term relationship. When that ends, and someone asks you why it ended, there is not just one answer. There is also the fact that it is a long-term relationship with four separate individuals. The big thing for me when I left had to do with Adam and I, who at the start of the band were as close as could be and a lot of it felt like our creative process, lyrically and melodically, came out of the friendship. By the time I was leaving he band, we had gone in different directions in our lives and things deteriorated. I thought about how I could try to push forward with the band and continue to write, but not be close and have that connection with him? It didn't seem like something that would work.
That was probably a hard realization to come to. How does it feel to be back together?
It's surreal. It was cool and crazy. The first time we got together was at the Sonic Ranch, in Texas, which is outside of El Paso. It was a strange setting, but oddly appropriate for that to be where we reunited.
How did the conversations about returning unfold with your former partner-in-crime, Adam?
The first conservation I had with Adam was after I had the conversation was with Mark. After seven years of not speaking, it was definitely a little awkward, but at the same time, it felt weirdly normal. We talked about things that happened in our lives and began catching up.
What's the best thing about returning to Taking Back Sunday?
That we reunited as friends. There is such a feeling of family that I have with these guys. It is a positive thing. Everyone is looking out for each other.
What's the status of your post-TBS band, Straylight Run?
Before Mark started talking to me about this, we had decided to have an extended hiatus. We kept open to the possibility for the future, but for now, there won't be anything happening.
You guys don't live in Long Island anymore, is that correct?
Adam lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. My wife and I are in Kansas and we're going to move there at the end of summer. I like to have a place where we can have a permanent set up to rehearse and write, and not fly to a location to meet up. I don't know if we'll get Shaun [Cooper] and Mark [O'Connell] off Long Island.
You don't sound like you have a Long Island accent, by the way.
When I was younger, I almost decided that I didn't want a Long Island accent. I never thought it was a nice sounding. It's not pleasant to listen to.