Taking Back Sunday's last album was titled New Again, a rather appropriate handle for several reasons, chiefly because they just had replaced singer/guitarist Fred Mascherino with new axeman Matt Fazzi (but also because, over the course of a decade, TBS had shed something like five different members).
So one has to wonder what their next album will be called, because — to the delight of many — they've mended fences with former members John Nolan and Shaun Cooper (and parted ways with Fazzi and bassist Matt Rubano), bringing the band back to their 2002 Tell All Your Friends heyday. Perhaps Old Again?
"Well, having John and Shaun back in the band has nothing to do with any of the old records — it has everything to do with being happy and what's good for the group dynamic," TBS frontman Adam Lazzara told MTV News. "Because if things kept going the way they were going, there wouldn't have been another record at all."
Lazzara wouldn't get into specifics about just what drove the band to split with Fazzi and Rubano, only saying that "it started to get to the point where the thing that used to work to our favor — the five totally different personalities — started to get to a point where it worked in the opposite way," and added that he holds no ill will toward either man. Quite the opposite, in fact.
"Every person you encounter in your life, you learn a little something different from them, and I think that's a cool thing. I had an opportunity to share this big part of me with these two guys, and they were both amazing," he said. "[Fazzi] turned me to a lot of different bands and he exposed me to a lot of new ideas. [Rubano] was one of the best bass players that I've ever seen. With him, a lot of times, I remember getting lost in what he was playing. Just thinking about the conversation we had, it makes my stomach knot up ... but it got to the point where the bad times started to outweigh the good."
What he would expound upon was the first meeting with Nolan and Cooper, who both left TBS under decidedly weird circumstances (chalk it up to "personal reasons") which were so heavy that Lazzara didn't speak with Nolan for more than seven years. Until January, when — at the insistence of drummer Mark O'Connell — the two got on the phone together and the drama of past disappeared almost instantly.
"Mark had some crazy ideas, and sometimes they're dead on. And one day he called me and was like, 'Hey, man, what do you think about us going back to our original lineup?' And I was like, 'Are you crazy? I haven't talked to John in, like, seven years. I don't know if he'd want to do it,' " Lazzara said. "But he kept bringing it up, and then I got a call from John, and when he called, it felt like no time had passed. It felt like we had just talked a few days ago. We didn't start off talking about making music together — we were getting reacquainted with what had been going on in our lives. Because for me, I genuinely missed his friendship, and same with Shaun.
"So when it started, it was more like I was happy to have this person back in my life. And then as those conversations went on, we started to send music back and forth ... and we were realistic about it. We both thought, 'There's a great chance this might not work,' " he continued. "But then it got to the point where we were like, 'Oh, man, I think this could work.' So we got together down in Texas, right near Juarez, Mexico, and right when we walked into that room and strapped instruments on, and the songs were just there. And what would typically take Taking Back Sunday six months to do we did in a week."
Inspired, TBS announced the reunion to the world, and they're already making plans to get back into the studio to flesh those songs out. The plan, according to Lazzara, is to record with Eric Valentine (who recorded their 2006 album Louder Now) and hopefully have an album out later this year. But just what will the new (old) Taking Back Sunday sound like? It's still too early to tell.
"With us it's all growth, all the time. The music is always trying to move forward," he laughed. "It's not the kind of thing where we went in and all sat around the table and were like, 'OK, this part has got to be like something from the first album.' All I know is that there's this excitement and urgency embedded in the songs now. You can't fake it."
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