Making the transition from a few kids with a buttload of angst and a high-energy live show to a household name has been a gradual process for Taking Back Sunday. TBS burst onto the scene with their 2002 release Tell All Your Friends, before they crossed the fence in 2004 to earn ‘sell-out’ status from some fans with Where You Want To Be. It wasn’t until 2006’s Louder Now, however, that Taking Back Sunday moved to a major label.
“There’s sort of this scene issue where you’re supposed to live in a van and eat Ramen forever,” says bassist Matt Rubano. “I think that anybody who’d use the success of a band as the thermometer with which to judge their interest in that band is a fool, and it’s unfortunate how often people get blinded by the little name of the record label on the side of the CD packaging.”
Rubano claims that every step the band has taken has been carefully planned, with Louder Now epitomizing the sound the band has been trying to capture from the start. As the band has aged, the sound they’ve been trying to produce has shifted from the explosively emotional vocal tracks over power-chords heard on Tell All Your Friends to a more pop-sensible branch of music which the band hopes will stay relevant beyond contemporary trends.
Age has also brought the band a newfound appreciation for environmental awareness. TBS has latched onto the global warming issue as a cause to rally behind, posting a link to Stopglobalwarming.org on the main page of their website as well as attempting to leave a smaller environmental footprint when on tour.
“This was something that [guitarist and backup vocalist] Fred Mascherino brought to the band,” says Rubano. “His home runs on green energy and he just bought himself a vegetable-oil car. Fred was making all of these changes in his personal life and then we figured it would be easy enough to bring it to the band. We hope by summer to have our tour buses running on bio-diesel, and be bringing silverware on tour instead of plastic ware, cloth napkins instead of paper ones, things like that.”
Fans shouldn’t expect to see TBS lyrics begin to reflect this enviro-consciousness, as Rubano is quick to reassure that the band won’t be recording any of what he refers to as “tree-hugging anthems” any time soon. Still, one more band in the limelight coming to a critical epiphany about the sore state of the world can’t be a bad thing.
As far as limelight is concerned, the fashionable fivesome has seen their share of major media appearances in recent years. Aside from their songs appearing in the soundtrack to a slough of superhero movies (Fantastic Four, Spider-Man 2, Elektra), the band has made several appearances on MTV, and recently crossed over to syndicated Canadian television with roles in a recent Degrassi: the Next Generation episode.
“I think those other shows like The OC have a cheese tinge to them, but Degrassi tends to keep it on real issues,” says Rubano. “Adam [Lazzara, vocalist for TBS] and his roommate had been fans for a long time. I think they watched the Kevin Smith episode, and went, ‘Man, Kevin Smith’s on Degrassi… I wonder if we could be on Degrassi?’ So a couple of phone calls later, and we were on the set and making our acting debut.”
The call has gone out to the Gemini Awards. In the meantime, with three albums under their belts, Taking Back Sunday is heading across North America with tour mates Armor for Sleep and Underoath. For an eco-friendly microphone-swinging mixture of pop sensibility and angsty sardonicism, Taking Back Sunday still fits the bill, despite varied opinions on their success.