Taking Back Sunday's Adam Lazzara & John Nolan On Long Island & More
There is no shortage of great music venues on Long Island, nor is there a shortage of great concerts to attend this summer. Live Nation -- the largest concert promoter in the United States -- is responsible for thousands of major concerts across the country this summer, including many of those at the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater, the Theatre at Westbury, and Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk. Live Nation is currently in the midst of National Concert Week, which promised 1.5 million tickets at an all-in price of $20 to attendees of its concerts nationwide.
Last week, Live Nation held an event at its New York headquarters which included many headlining artists. Among the attendees were Taking Back Sunday's Adam Lazzara and John Nolan. One of the more successful bands to have come out of Long Island, Taking Back Sunday will be on a national co-headlining tour with Coheed & Cambria this summer. I had the pleasure of getting in a few questions with Lazzara and Nolan during this event. Highlights of the Q&A are below, while more information on the group -- which also includes drummer Mark O'Connell and bassist Shaun Cooper -- can be found at www.takingbacksunday.com.
Your band was considered at the top of the heap of the Long Island emo scene of the early 2000s, yet you certainly outgrew the "emo" tag. When did it feel like you graduated into being a big band, not just a big "emo" band?
Adam Lazzara: I think it depends on who you talk to. We'll talk to somebody and they'll be like, "You've been categorized as this, so is that what you guys are?" You'll be so nice to say that we've outgrown it. We consider ourselves a rock & roll band because we've got big, loud drums and big, loud guitars. Whatever anyone else has called us along the way, it doesn't matter so long as they listen to us. As far as outgrowing it, I would like to think we've grown as a band as far as how we play with one another and how the songs are. But I suppose that depends on who you ask. If you ask one of us, we'll say that we've outgrown it at an exponential rate.
When did this start to feel like a career, instead of just chasing hit singles or hoping an album lands?
Adam Lazzara: It feels that way every record we put out. I've been saying it, but we're some of the luckiest guys I know, because we're still able to do it. We're sitting here right now, and anytime we go in and write something new, there's always the fear like, "This could it, this could be the last one, so let's make it count." (laughs) We've just been so fortunate because it's working. We're just lucky guys.
What was your first concert?
Adam Lazzara: It makes me proud that we can be someone's first concert. That's just something you don't forget. That's my whole life. To be able to be part of that experience for someone is really awesome. Me, the first show I ever went to was a smaller show, it was Codeseven, back when they had two singers. After that I saw [The] Pharcyde and Korn in Winston-Salem. Then I went with a friend and his parents, Jimmy Buffett was the first outdoor amphitheater show I ever went to. He had this cardboard cut-out car that went across the stage, it was pretty cool.
John Nolan: The first actual concert that I went was a Christian music festival when I was five or six, and Amy Grant was the headliner. I became an Amy Grant fan for a long time after that. I still like a lot of her music, I don't put it on too often but I do like it.
Is there anything you miss about living on Long Island?
John Nolan: I still have a lot of family on Long Island, tons of cousins and my parents still live there. For a little while I lived in Long Beach, that's one of those places that every time I visit, I miss it. I get a little nostalgic for it.