So, when their latest departure — guitarist Fred Mascherino, who split in 2007 — had the detractors squealing once again, they decided it was time to try a new silencing strategy: They made T-shirts.
More specifically, they made yellow T-shirts, emblazoned with the slogan "I Used to Be in Taking Back Sunday." They've been sending them out with copies of their new album, New Again, due June 2, as a rather ingenious way of heading off haters at the pass. You gotta admit, it's sort of brilliant.
"We figured if you can't laugh at yourself, then you can't laugh at anything. We are from the school of not taking ourselves too seriously. So we've been sending out this shirt that says 'I Used to Be in Taking Back Sunday,' " TBS frontman Adam Lazarra laughed. "Because we've gone through some lineup changes, and you go on the Internet on blogs and things, and there's a lot of people who have a lot to say about that. So we figured that rather than sitting back, why don't we join the fun and also make fun of ourselves?"
There's a lot at stake with Again, which not only serves as the big unveiling of new guitarist Matt Fazzi, but pushes the musical boundaries into areas they've never explored. There are glockenspiels involved. And a flautist.
"When we went in to start writing for New Again, Matt joined the band and helped us out a lot with the writing process, and a lot of the things he brought to the table were a lot of the things that make the record so special, as far as it's clearly a growth to what we've done in the past," Lazarra said. "Experimenting ... a lot of different instruments, horns, glockenspiels, there's a flautist on the record. And it's stuff we never would've tried before. Him coming into the mix really helped us to grow as a band, both musically and personally."
That growth is evident on first single "Sink Into Me," for which the band shot a video earlier this week in New York with director Travis Kopach. It's immediate, fist-pumping and powerful, a song that — unlike some of TBS' earlier tunes — doesn't mess around when it comes to getting to the hook.
"I kind of like to equate it to a freight train. ... Like, if you were to stand in front of it, you would get pummeled. And that's what the chorus sounds like to me," Lazarra explained. "We wanted to come out of the gates swinging, and 'Sink' is one of the songs that sort of represents the direction that Taking Back Sunday is going. Plus, it has a little bit of flavor from where we've been. I think people will be pleasantly surprised. If not, they're a--holes."