It’s Tuesday afternoon and Taking Back Sunday bassist, Matt Rubano calls The Salt Shaker from the road as his band drives through rural Pennsylvania, where its members will rehearse for the first concert of their spring tour. “We are really excited about this tour because we have three full-length albums to draw from. We want to bring back a lot of old songs that we don’t usually play so that old school fans get to hear them,” says Rubano, whose voice echoes with the sound of his bandmates doing phone interviews of their own on the tour bus. Rubino sounds happy and calm, and from the way he describes the band’s increasing success, it is easy to understand why.
Since its formation eight years ago, Taking Back Sunday has done more than switch out a couple of band members. The members have come to the realization that people are paying attention—they just left Victory Records to signed with major label Warner Brothers to produce their latest album, Louder Now. Though many people might think of signing onto the major label as a sellout move, the members of TBS look at it as a sign of growth and maturity, and don’t regret the decision one bit. “We have had incredible reception with our latest album. There has been this instantaneous reaction, people were very welcoming and all over the new songs right away. It’s been really exciting” says Rubano.
The band credits much of the album’s success to producer Eric Valentine, who has worked with bands like Third Eye Blind and Queens of the Stone Age. “We spent a lot of time writing and recording this record and working with Eric helped us come together and create what we were aiming for” says Rubano. Exactly what the band was aiming for is a bit unclear, but Rubano likes it that way, because what TBS really wants is the flexibility to grow up and mature together as a band. This means being unafraid to make changes. “We are a rock band and I like to leave it at that. We don’t want to be nailed down to one genre because then people will always associate us with that genre. Music is music and people like a lot of different things. We have the ability and chance to redefine ourselves. To be what we are and not what people call us” says Rubano, who says that though he has no particular feelings towards the emo genre, he does not wish to be tied down to it.
And so it is, Taking Back Sunday will spend the next six weeks proving that they are more than a bunch of black-haired boys who look pretty while screaming. Rubano and friends will be stopping in on Salt Lake City on March 9 when they will play at the SaltAir and let their fans know that despite their success, they are just five guys looking forward to continuing their evolution as a band while maintaining the angst that keeps their fans salivating for more.