ASK any alternative music loving millennial about Taking Back Sunday and they’re bound to know at least one of their songs, be it hit single MakeDamnSure from 2006 or 2002’s Cute Without The ‘E’ (Cut From The Team).
Yet despite playing countless shows to adoring audiences over the past 20 years, the American band’s frontman, Adam Lazzara, is surprisingly nervous about his solo live-stream gig this weekend.
‘I’ve been so fortunate with Taking Back Sunday that we can go all over the world and count on people being there,’ he says. ‘I typically have the other guys there with me, so doing this just by myself, I feel a little bit naked. The only other solo show I’ve done was years ago in London, I was terribly nervous about that, too. I think I’ve grown a lot, both as a player and a writer in that time.’
During the pandemic, Adam has been productive, working on new music for the band as well as solo material.
‘All these ideas, it’s just stuff that I’ve had kind of half-finished for years or months or weeks, and then with being at home, being a full-time dad, any extra time I had, I was like, “I’ll just work on this idea” because I’ve never had the chance to finish it.’
He says that the last few months have proved challenging for him, too. ‘There’s times where I feel like I’m handling things very well, and other times where, honestly, I couldn’t be handling things worse,’ he says. ‘Working on songs and streaming something for people to watch has given me something to put that energy into.
‘When things feel like they’re starting to get bad, or I’m overwhelmed, I have something to focus that energy on: this needs a bridge, or this needs another verse, or wondering what pedal could I run this through, that kind of thing.’
He’ll be performing some of the new songs along with what he’s calling Taking Back Sunday ‘deep cuts’.
‘I didn’t want it to be a purely Taking Back Sunday stream because I just don’t feel right playing those songs. Which I also realise is like, “Hey, everybody, here’s a stream, and it’s all songs you’ve probably never heard before!’’ he laughs.
‘In making the setlist, I took a handful of songs that are my own and added some stuff that we’ve either never played live or only played live once or twice’.
Practising songs that Taking Back Sunday don’t normally play live has only increased his respect for his bandmates.
‘I’m not typically playing a guitar and messing with pedals for a whole set. There has been a learning curve for me, there’s a lot more going through my mind of what to do and when. It makes me appreciate the other guys so much more, everyone really holds their weight in the band, it’s an amazing thing to have.’
He’s also keen to try and avoid any awkward moments, having watched several other live-streams.
‘It’s that moment of silence when the song ends, and they’re just like “Ermmm, well, here’s another song I guess,”’ he laughs. ‘That’s something I’ve been thinking about. Hopefully it won’t be too much of my nervous babbling on and on.
‘How can I make these two songs segue so there’s not just dead space, or without me saying “Hey, have you ever heard anybody tune an A string? Here it comes!”’ We can’t wait.