Taking Back Sunday At House of Blues June 24 – Interview with Shaun Cooper

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This Friday, the American Rock band, Taking Back Sunday, will be performing live at The House Blues. The House of Blues is located off Fifth Avenue in Downtown San Diego. San Diego is just one of their many stops they are performing at to promote their new album, “Taking Back Sunday,” that is to be released on June 28th.

The group has released four previous albums that have reached the charts, “New Again” (2009), “Louder Now” (2006), “Where You Want to Be” (2004) and “Tell All Your Friends” (2002). They formed in 1999 in the New York city of Amityville. Their founder was Eddie Reyes and is currently consisted of band members Adam Lazzara (vocalist), John Nolan (guitarist / vocalist), Eddie Reyes (guitarist), Mark O’Connell (drummer) and Shaun Cooper (bassist).

To promote their music, they spent a year touring with their five-song release demo. Their shows included a variety of bands including At the Drive-In and Alkaline Trio. After their tour, Victory records signed them up and led them to the release of their first album, “Tell All Your Friends.”

They have gone through a variety of changes in the group’s line up over the years. However, the group’s original line-up was reunited in 2010 after seven years of the seperation of members such as Cooper and Nolan, who left to join another band. This led to the creation of whole new songs for their upcoming reunion album, “Taking Back Sunday.” Their single, “MakeDamnSure” made No. 48 at the Billboard Hot 100 list music.

SD Entertainer had the great opportunity to interview  Cooper about the group’s past, interests, and the upcoming concert. It was a very rewarding and enlightening experiencing interviewing the friendly bassist. Cooper represented the voice of Taking Back Sunday as he gave us insight of his experience with the band of friends. We give you his voice:

Entertainer: What are your thoughts on the upcoming concert that you guys are going to have here in San Diego in a few weeks?

SC: It’s been a really long time since we have been out on the road so we are really looking forward to it, and we have a new record coming out on June 28th. We just can’t wait to play all these new songs for people and we are also going to be playing a lot of the older songs that we know people love. So uh we are just really excited. Been kind of holed up working on our scripts for the past year. So its gonna be great to get out and play shows again.

Entertainer: Have you performed here in San Diego before?

SC: We haven’t played in San Diego yet. The closest we got was…No actually we did. We played a college show. But not sure if it was public. It was a real cool club show. Pick the genre. Back in the band.

Entertainer: For all the past tours you guys have done what has been your favorite location?

SC: Home has always been amazing. New York. New Jersey that area. Those have been phenomenal. Los Angeles last time we played there was pretty great. We just played London. We did a show at this legendary venue called the Roundhouse. That’s the most recent show we’ve played. And that really stands out in my mind too. But then now with this tour we’ll finally get to play kind of everywhere. We got a whole new lot of places to pick some I’m sure.

Entertainer: What do you enjoy the most when it comes to being up on stage? What thoughts go on through your mind before you up there?

SC: Nothing. We are just excited, you know? Because we are all so happy to be up on stage together. The five of us have so much fun being up that it’s great.  And to get to interact with the audience. Seeing how they’re feeling the songs we’re playing and how they are reacting to the newer songs too. That is always great. A lot of interaction between us and the crowd too. That is what Taking Back Sunday so special.

Entertainer: What bands do you usually try to model after?

SC: I don’t know. I mean there are so many we are all into. But I mean we all kind of grew up with kind of punk rock and hard core kid. Like mine are Shred. And Rancid. And bands like Lifetime and stuff. So the intimacy I think of those shows. Plus we have look up to the bigger bands. There’s Tom Petty Stewart. Just Timeless. The Beatles. John is a big Radiohead fan. Plus the Gamit. Those are our musical inspirations.

Entertainer: What inspired you all to perform? What do you enjoy the most about being in a band?

SC: Well this is really the only thing we know how to do and we love it. It’s our dream job. We get to travel the world with friends and we get to play music for a living. And just you know feeding off the energy that the crowd has, that’s something that, you know, none of us can, ever imagine having in any other kind of job we can possibly do. Because they are not very good at anything else. Yeah it’s really just a dream job to get tour the world with your friends and play songs you love every night. And have people really react to them and really respond.

Entertainer: If you had to illustrate your music in only a few words, what would you call it?

SC: Just good old American Rock and Roll.

Entertainer: What is your biggest challenge both for you and the group?

SC: Biggest challenge? I don’t know. I think we are always trying to top ourselves. We are always trying to write better songs. We are always trying to play better a lot. So I think that’s the hardest thing when it comes to writing. We want our best days ahead of us, not behind us. We never want to look back. We written the best record of our careers and we want to do that for the next. We want to stay ahead of ourselves. That’s the hardest thing to keep doing better in everything that we do.

Entertainer: What is your favorite band you have had the opportunity to perform with?

SC: I mean there have been so many many years. I mean Thursday, who we were on the tour with. We’ve been friends for a really long time. And it’s great to be able to share the stage with those guys every night. The Alkaline Trio we’ve played with them before on all sorts of different things. Hey friends like Anberlin too. We love those guys. They are always great. So many years I’ve been trying to think back and who we’ve all played. Things like that. I remember during the time when I wasn’t in the band, Taking Back Sunday, they opened for Squire in the United Kingdom and so I think that was a big moment for those guys. It was when I wasn’t around but I think it was pretty cool thing too.

Entertainer: What is your dream tour? Who would you like to perform with?

SC: The Beatles and The Appetite For Destruction. Also Guns and Roses.

Entertainer: Along your tour what places are you definitely most looking forward to visiting?

SC: Every place. I mean this is all so so new to us. Kind of. You know the five us just getting it. We are just looking forward to every place. Nothing in particular stands out. I think we are just looking forward to getting on tour, you know, for the seven weeks straight playing shows every night.

Entertainer: Your guys album is coming out in a few weeks. What are your guys’ thoughts on the album?

SC: We worked really hard on it and we’re really really proud of it. I think that, you know, it’s the best work we’ve all done. The best songs any of us have written together or separately. And we had our producer, Eric Valentine, working very hard and very closely with it, with us on it all. And that guy is just a phenomenal, he is genius and it was really educating getting to work with him. So I can really say that this is the best thing that Sunday records has ever been. Yeah. We work so hard for so long in writing and reciting the songs. It was such a long period of time. And we just couldn’t be more proud of it and can’t wait for people to hear it.

Entertainer: What made you decide to name it after your guys’ group?

SC: We kind of felt like that with John and I rejoining the band and with the songs they’ve written just kind of redefined what Taking Back Sunday is. Taking Back Sunday is the five of us because we’re brothers. We’ve been through so much together. And even after seven years of doing different things, now that we’re all back together we feel like this is it. This is really who we are. This is what the band is. And this is us, at our best, right now. And we are just so happy to be back playing and for the five of us to be such great friends and creating music that we all respect. We really love what every individual member adds to the band. It’s such a cohesive unit that we all contribute to the writing. So I think that its really pinned down, this record, really pinned down what Taking Back Sunday is. You know it show where we’re going, where we’re trying to go. The future is the evolution of Taking Back Sunday starts here.

Entertainer: What is your favorite song to perform? What was your favorite album?

SC: Anything. Right. I mean, basically we like to play anything to every crowd’s reaction. We’ve been playing for over 10 years now. And they’re reaction is still so strong that it’s so much fun to play. And one of our newer songs “El Paso,” it’s got such great energy and the couple of shows we’ve played you can see the people start to really catch on and start to go nuts.  So that’s always fun. Another song, “Faith If I Let You Down,” has really started to catch on too. So that’s been great. The amount of the first song we wrote when we got back together was the first song we offered. That’s been going over great too. So especially the new ones have been a lot of fun. But there just so many. I mean, I really have the whole hour and a half. Those 90 minutes go by like 30 seconds. You know. I feel like I can play all night.

Entertainer: Do you guys do any prepping exercises right before a show?

SC: No. There’s no drills. Sometimes we’ll just have a couple of adult beverages until we are sent out. We don’t do any crazy warms ups or anything. We just get kind of excited and really enjoy ourselves.

Entertainer: Awesome. What gave you guys the idea to name the band Taking Back Sunday?

SC: Well. Our guitar player Eddie was really good friends with this band called The Waiting Process. And they had a song called “Taking Back Sunday.” So yeah, he was friends with those guys and was like, “Hey I would like to use that for a band name. I mean its a really cool use of words. Can I take that now?” And they were like, “Sure, go ahead.” So Eddie stole it, with permission. And the rest is history. The rest of the band felt “Oh OK. Cool. It goes together well. Let’s do it.”

Entertainer: What’s it like to play the bass guitar in the band?

SC: It’s something I’ve always been drawn to. I’ve played guitar a little bit since I was six or seven years old. And then ended up playing saxophone and piano and got away with many sorts of guitars. When I was twelve my friends started forming bands and they already had guitar players. I was like all right. You know what? I’ll buy a base. I’ll play the base as I go figure out what this thing does. I think it looks really cool. Figure it’s low and I don’t know what it really does. But it was something I was attracted to and started playing. And it just felt like a natural fit right away.

Want to see Taking Back Sunday live? Swing by the House of Blues and purchase tickets or go online for their upcoming performance happening on Friday, June 24th. Unavailable that day? Here is their tour schedule of their upcoming shows.

Photo courtesy of Taking Back Sunday and Warner Brother Records

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