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Taking Back Sunday

For over two decades Taking Back Sunday have maintained a consistent chart presence, moving beyond their emo and post-hardcore roots into a more versatile brand of hard melodic rock. After paying their dues amid the East Coast punk scene, they became one of the more visible groups of the early-2000s emo boom and released their much-loved 2002 debut, Tell All Your Friends. They soon vaulted into the mainstream with a trio of Top Ten albums including 2006's Louder Now. Despite a handful of significant lineup shifts, Taking Back Sunday endured into the next decade when they reconvened their classic lineup for an eponymous 2012 set. As their songwriting continued to mature, their fans followed, helping later releases like 2014's Happiness Is and 2016's Tidal Wave succeed on both sides of the Atlantic. They celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2019 with the compilation Twenty, then returned with their eighth album, 152, in 2023. Taking Back Sunday formed in late 1999, taking their name from a song by fellow Long Island band the Waiting Process. The group's original lineup, which included future Brand New frontman Jesse Lacey, was short-lived. After self-releasing a pair of EPs in 2000, Lacey, singer Antonio Longo, and drummer Steven DeJoseph all left the band. Remaining guitarist Eddie Reyes and guitarist/co-singer John Nolan brought in frontman Adam Lazzara, drummer Mark O'Connell, and bassist Shaun Cooper to complete Taking Back Sunday's new lineup. They quickly signed to Victory Records and entered New Jersey's Big Blue Meanie Recording Studios alongside producer Sal Villanueva and engineer Tim Gilles. The resulting debut album, 2002's Tell All Your Friends, layered Adam Lazzara's emotional vocals and the dual-guitar assault of Reyes and Nolan, creating a classic hardcore sound with pop songwriting components. The album fared well both critically and commercially (it eventually reached platinum status), entering the Billboard 200 and number 183 and yielding one of the band's most enduring songs "Cute Without the 'E' (Cut from the Team)." They spent the rest of that year and much of the next touring, but when Nolan and bassist Shaun Cooper left the band, Taking Back Sunday's future was left in doubt. Guitarist/vocalist Fred Mascherino (ex-Breaking Pangaea) and bassist Matt Rubano (ex-Schleigho) filled out the lineup in time for the band's fall 2003 tour and subsequent recording sessions. The band's sophomore effort, Where You Want to Be, arrived in mid-2004 and debuted at number three on Billboard's Top 200, establishing Taking Back Sunday as forerunners among the new wave of commercial emo bands. It also introduced the vocal interplay of Lazzara and Mascherino, a combination that would briefly become one of the band's sonic calling cards. Taking Back Sunday toured steadily behind the album, headlining a sold-out North American tour and hitting the usual Warped Tour stops as well. In the wake of Where You Want to Be's success, Taking Back Sunday signed with Warner Bros. in June 2005 and co-headlined several shows with Jimmy Eat World. They returned to the studio in August to commence work on their third full-length and major label debut. Produced by Eric Valentine (Third Eye Blind, Queens of the Stone Age), Louder Now debuted at number two upon its release in April 2006 and yielded a hit single in "MakeDamnSure," which made three U.S. charts and was a number one in the U.K. The album was a darker, more aggressive effort that tapped into the band's live energy, which was further displayed on the concert CD/DVD package Louder Now: Pt. Two. Despite the band's mounting profile, however, Fred Mascherino exited the lineup in October 2007 and launched a solo career. Several months later, former Facing New York member Matt Fazzi was announced as Mascherino's replacement, and the revised band spent the bulk of 2008 writing new material and playing sporadic shows. Bearing an increasingly pop-driven sound, Taking Back Sunday issued New Again in June 2009. The first album to feature Fazzi's contributions, it sent the band back into the Top Ten, peaking at number seven. The concert album Live from Orensanz followed in 2010, after which another lineup shift occurred. Reconvening the lineup from their debut album, Tell All Your Friends, Taking Back Sunday entered the studio to record their fifth album. Released in June 2011, the eponymous album bore the sound of a re-invigorated band and helped set the stage for an anniversary celebration. Marking ten years since the release of the group's debut album, the revived Taking Back Sunday lineup embarked on a tour in 2012, playing Tell All Your Friends in its entirety. A live acoustic version of the tour was released for download in mid-2012, after which the band started to record their sixth album. Having completed their Warner Bros. contract, they joined the Hopeless Records roster and teamed up with producers Marc Jacob Hudson and Mike Sapone for Happiness Is. Released in March 2014, it continued the group's successful run debuting at number ten on the Billboard 200 and topping three other U.S. charts. Heading to North Carolina to record their next release, Taking Back Sunday again brought Sapone with them to produce 2016's Tidal Wave, their seventh studio album, had a more mature sound with a greater range of styles; it was a moderate success at home, peaking at number 36 in the U.S. while reaching number two in the U.K. In 2019, after the departure of founding guitarist Eddie Reyes, Taking Back Sunday undertook a major 20th anniversary tour, and released the career retrospective compilation Twenty, which also included two brand-new songs, including the single "All Ready to Go." Three years later a deluxe anniversary reissue of Tell All Your Friends was released, featuring demos from the original sessions. Inking a new deal with Fantasy Records, Taking Back Sunday worked with pop producer Tushar Apte to record their next full-length. Named after an oft-referenced stretch of North Carolina highway and led by the bright, anthemic single, "The One," the group's eighth album, 152, was released in October 2023.
© Charles Spano & Timothy Monger /TiVo


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