When thinking of accomplishments, having 20 years of anything is an incredible feat worth celebrating. For American rock band Taking Back Sunday, they are doing just that with their 20th-anniversary tour, but this showcase is set up a bit differently. On this tour, Taking Back Sunday will be performing their debut album “Tell All Your Friends” in its entirety, plus a selection of fan favorites from their colorful catalog, giving lifelong fans a nostalgic look into the band’s origin and new fans a chance to fall in love with TBS from the very beginning. To add to the inventive concept, in cities where they are playing two nights, Taking Back Sunday will flip a coin to play either “Where You Want to Be” or “Louder Now,” in addition to “Tell All Your Friends.” It’s this sort of set-up that has helped cement the beloved band into such a highly ranked category, and the secret to their success isn’t as complicated as you would think: it all comes down to their pure love of making music. Taking Back Sunday’s lead vocalist Adam Lazzara sat down with Metro to discuss the band’s tour, the recent release of a 21-song career-spanning compilation (“Twenty”) and overall why TBS in his mind still has more milestones to achieve.
This calls for a celebration: Lead Singer Adam Lazzara on 20 years of Taking Back Sunday
What does it mean for you personally to celebrate such a milestone of 20 years with Taking Back Sunday?
It’s kind of the wildest thing — as time goes by and you’re living it, you don’t really realize that so much time has passed. So to be able to sit down and really just kind of let that sink in, it’s a pretty huge accomplishment. Every night on the tour we are just reminded of how lucky we are to be doing this in the first place. We’ve seen a lot of folks come and go, so it’s special for us and we definitely don’t take that for granted.
You have seen members come and go, but ultimately, what has kept Taking Back Sunday together for the past two decades?
I think it just comes down to that this is the only thing any of us have really ever wanted to do. Even through all of the ups and downs and highs and lows, that has always been at the forefront of all of our minds. I think with that comes this kind of sense that we can get through anything as long as we are able to continue to [make music].
Now jumping to your 20th-anniversary tour, you’ve set it up very uniquely. What was the inspiration behind setting the tour up that way?
You know, it kind of started out as a joke, and then we followed through with it. We knew we wanted to do some kind of celebration tour, I think if you reach 20 years of anything it should be celebrated. But we figured the best way to do it would be to go to the people that made it possible and these three records were the three that completely changed the course of our lives — so we want to make sure everybody that has been there for so long can experience that as well. That was part of the inspiration behind setting it up that way.
What do you think this nostalgic element will bring for fans who have been around since the beginning, but also maybe even for newer fans? Is this a way for them to see the band’s earlier days and fall in love with TBS from the beginning?
I would hope so. One of the last tours we had done was playing one of our records “Tidal Wave” from start to finish, because we wanted to introduce it to people the way we had envisioned it being heard. So with this, our newer fans get to come back and see in real-time the evolution of our band. Hopefully, that will broaden their view of where we have been and how we got here.
Your album “Twenty” features some of your greatest hits and also two new songs. How did you choose which songs from your catalog to feature on that album?
We do everything as a band very democratically. So basically, we each made a list of what we thought should go on there. When we came back to compare it, they were really similar, very few differences. So from there, it was a couple of discussions of why did you pick this? We were all a little bit wary about doing it that way because we weren’t sure if it would cause arguments, but it just worked out. We talked a lot so we could all feel like we were doing the right thing at that moment.
Are there any highlights that stand out to you from your career in the past 20 years?
There are so many —- but I do remember we played a show in Long Island, and for the first time there were people singing along to our songs who weren’t just our friends. I remember after that show John [Nolan] and I just sat in his car in silence, we just didn’t know what to say. We were so excited. From there, I feel like with each record we’ve been able to hit so many different milestones. I feel like I could write a book about all of that stuff, we are fortunate to have so many. Really the main thing now is being able to go out on stage and having the connection to do what you love with the audience to where there’s not a great divide with what is happening on stage and what’s happening with the crowd. That’s the thing we are most proud of.
Now looking to the future, what does it hold for Taking Back Sunday?
We have been taking this year to celebrate this thing that we were all a part of building, it’s a pretty incredible feat to do that, so we have all been reveling in that. But we are looking forward to getting back into the studio, that’s what we really all enjoy doing. Plus after touring it will be a nice change of pace to get back to only working on the creative. To be honest though, I feel like we have a ways to go and there’s still a lot to say.
For a full list of tour dates visit takingbacksunday.com