In March of this year Taking Back Sunday lead singer Adam Lazzara, guitarist Eddie Reyes, and drummer Mark O’Connell met up with bassist Shaun Cooper and guitarist John Nolan in El Paso, Texas for a four-week jam session that resulted in 20 new songs.What’s so unusual about a band writing new material?These particular band members haven’t even been in the same room together for the past seven years, let alone written new music.Finally, after a reunion to the band’s original line-up, the Long Island rock group is coming to the House of Blues this Friday.
For drummer O’Connell, bringing back the original five has always been a goal for him, he told The MUSE in a phone interview from his home in Long Beach, Long Island.Though it was definitely a surreal experience when it finally happened.
“The first time we all met up the first thing we did was start laughing,” O’Connell said.But he insists that there is nothing strange about working again with two people who left in a blaze of drama and have gone on to pursue a noticeably different musical sound in the now-disbanded Straylight Run.
“[Our songs] are coming out naturally,” O’Connell said.”The special spark is definitely back.”
As for what the new material sounds like, there isn’t much to say.”The only answer I can give is that the energy that TBS once had and kind of lost is back.When it comes out people will say what they will about it,” O’Connell said.What he can say, however, is that writing it was been incredibly easy.When writing the previousWhere You Want to Be,Louder Now, andNew Again, he described it as an entirely arduous process, saying that the albums were more “forced.”
“Now it’s like, wham! Right off the bat you’re just feeling it and it’s there, no question about it,” O’Connell said.Sometimes it’s not about having the best guitarist or the best bassist, but rather having the right mind to mix with.
The latest demos that have appeared in some of the band’s goofy video updates validate O’Connell’s insistency that a new fire has been ignited in each member.The demos strongly resemble the original sound that came with their first release,Tell All Your Friends, with screeching urgency, and powerfully raw, overlapping vocal patterns.If that isn’t enough, they returned to O’Connell’s parents’ basement on the 13th to practice for their upcoming tour.
“I asked my mom would it be cool if she moved into my apartment for a week and let the band move into her place for a week,” O’Connell said.”It’s really funny “cause before John and Shaun got back in the band the other guys used to be so serious, saying “we have to practice in a big studio in New York City.’And then these guys were like, “yeah, let’s go back to your parents basement.’It worked before, why won’t it work now?”
Before some of the band’s first fans say that this is finally the “real” Taking Back Sunday, O’Connell insists that just because they’re back in the garage where they started doesn’t mean it’s the same old tune.
“We are a lot older and being a lot more understanding,” O’Connell said.Their maturity was demonstrated the night of their first jam session back in March.”It was kind of awesome because Adam was like, “alright, I think it’s time to let everything out.If you have something to say to one another just let it out,'” O’Connell said.Everyone was given the opportunity to put everything on the table, patch up wounds that by now were certainly hardened into scabs, and get over it.”Nobody got offended,” O’Connell said.”It was a real healing process.”
Though, if the reality of this reunion&-which at one time seemed next to impossible&-hasn’t set in for their fans, that’s ok; it hasn’t yet for the band either.”It’s weird, but it’s more exciting than anything,” O’Connell said, adding that he expects it to really kick in when they all walk on stage together for the first time.
As for their stage performance, O’Connell said that they will probably play between 16 and 18 songs, with only one from their latest album,New Again.However, anything is really possible and O’Connell insisted that there will be some surprises.
When the band first got back together they came up with a list of 23 songs that they agreed they would like to play together.No doubt it includes some of theTell All Your Friendsfavorites like “Cute Without the E (Cut From the Team),” and “Great Romances of the 20thCentury,” but there will be a handful of new songs as well.O’Connell wouldn’t specify on a certain “surprise,” and fans are left to speculate on whether this surprise is an unusual cover song, a pre-Tell All Your Friendsdemo song, or something even more unimaginable.No matter the outcome, O’Connell promises a memorable evening and is excited to be back in Boston.
As will surely be demonstrated this Friday, it seems nothing can stop Taking Back Sunday.The clips of their new music have all the power that started withTell All Your Friends, and despite a couple side tracks&-albeit, rather successful side tracks with widely selling albums&-they are back on track.
“We got the band back together,” O’Connell said.”I’m the happiest I’ve been in a long time.”