Courtesy of Natalie Escobedo
Within the past two years Taking Back Sunday has gone through many changes — from the birth of lead singer Adam Lazzara’s son to the shuffle of new and old band mates. Now, the band stands united with its original lineup for their latest album “Happiness Is.” Bassist Shaun Cooper talked to us about what’s next for the band and how they’ve kept the chemistry alive.
Twelve years since the band’s debut album “Tell All Your Friends” was released, “Happiness Is” is their latest record and features the original band members: Adam Larraza, John Nolan, Eddie Reyes, Shaun Cooper and Mark O’Connell.
In 2011, the group reunited to release their self-titled album. In October 2013 the band hit the road for a nationwide tour with Polar Bear Club and Transit. During the tour, Larraza’s wife unexpectedly went into labor, leaving him absent for the remainder of the tour.
Within a few days, the band frantically went on a search to temporarily replace Larrazza while he tended to personal matters. Fortunately, former Underoath lead singer Spencer Chamberlain was ready to take the challenge.
Cooper said, “Adam’s son was born a month early. It was a big scare for us. We spent a few days to regroup; we didn’t know if the tour could continue.” Cooper added that the group caught a lucky break in Florida while the tour was on hiatus. “Spencer was from Florida and he agreed to do it; we then rehearsed 13 or 14 songs in two days. It was a really scary and trying time for us.”
The band completed the tour with Chamberlain and received rave reviews on their performance. While on tour, the band started work on their latest album.
“Happiness Is” marks a new chapter for the band with a more mature sound that still channels the angsty, emotional tone of “TAYF,” which gained widespread popularity in 2002. In “Flicker, Fade,” the first single off the record, Larraza still belts out catchy tunes that are reminiscent of earlier hits such as “A Decade Under the Influence” and “MakeDamnSure.”
Taking Back Sunday completed the album in a span of two years while they were touring. Cooper says that writing the album was very therapeutic for the band and in many ways brought them back together.
Cooper recounts the initial meeting that sparked the band’s reunion. “First we all got in a room together in El Paso, Texas, we realized we still had great chemistry.”
He continues, “There wasn’t just one key factor; we were all at a place in our lives to make things happen again.”
Since reuniting, Cooper says that the experience has been “rewarding — we were apart for seven years and together for the last four.”
In the span of 12 years since the release of “TAYF” the band has gained a following from new fans and old. Much of the band’s fan base are now in their mid to late twenties but a new generation of fans has developed as well.
Cooper explains, “We have a legacy, we make albums people can get behind and relate to.”
Cooper says, “We’ve all gotten significantly better as players.” He continues, “We were all just young kids when the first record came out; it all comes with age.”
Taking Back Sunday will be kick-starting another headlining tour with fellow rock veterans The Used on March 14, for the release of the new album. Special guests for the tour include Tonight Alive and Sleepwave.
The reason for naming the record “Happiness Is” is simple: “We’re a bunch of happy guys,” says Cooper.
“Happiness Is” will be released on March 18.
Taking Back Sunday will be performing at Backstage Live on March 15. Admission is $30 to $32. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit backstagelivesa.com.