An enthusiastic Shaun Cooper remembers when his band Taking Back Sunday came through Dallas last summer on July 24.
“The last time we were there, I think it was National Tequila Day, so I may have imbibed a little bit,” the bassist says of the show at Gas Monkey Bar 'N' Grill.
This year, they’re coming back to Dallas at The Pavilion at the Toyota Music Factory, and not on a national day of imbibing.
“I usually wait until after the show for that,” Cooper says. “I like to play with a clear head. With the songs, you want to play your best. People are paying good money, so you don’t want to be hammered onstage, behaving like an idiot. I know I would not play at my best with a few drinks in me.”
Currently on a joint-headlining tour with Coheed and Cambria, Taking Back Sunday is happy to be on tour with their contemporaries, both of which started around the same time and in an area near New York City. Both bands have been in North Texas many times, either as a headliner, supporter or with a festival. Cooper can’t recall a bad show here so far.
“The people are always great,” he says. “They always come out en masse, which I always appreciate.”
Doing a tour like this, where Coheed and Cambria has fans who worship and devote a lot of energy into what that band does with their music and comic books, Taking Back Sunday is welcome to do their thing, too. The challenge is good.
“There’s a handful of people that just want to see them, and that’s cool,” Cooper says. “We’re excited to get out in front of new faces.”
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So far, the tour has been well-received by fans of both bands. Cooper’s band, which he shares with guitarist/vocalist John Nolan, vocalist Adam Lazzara and Mark O'Connell on drums, and Coheed and Cambria appeal in large part to each others' audiences. There's definitely some crossover. Cooper understands how fans feel.
“When I go to shows, I’m not in the pit,” Cooper says. “I’m 37 years old. I did that. I like watching the band. I like taking it in and listening. They’re at least attentive to what we’re doing, so that’s really fun to see.”
Taking Back Sunday has had major lineup changes over the years, including recently. The band is now a four-piece, as co-founding guitarist Eddie Reyes left the band for personal reasons. The music has been consistently good, and they always put on an intense and enjoyable show.
Though the band doesn’t have definite plans for recording a follow-up to 2016’s Tidal Wave yet, they’re playing more new material rather than older albums live, like two Cooper and Nolan were not on, Where You Want to Be and Louder Now. But they're not against doing that someday.
“We never had the pressure,” Cooper says. “Everything we do is self-imposed. If we were to play [Where You Want to Be] front to back, we would just do it for the fun of it and not really think too much about it. We like doing the set list we’re doing now, where we try to include everything because we want everyone to go home happy.”
Cooper doesn’t mind playing those older songs, knowing Lazzara as a vocalist and lyricist.
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“It’s bigger than the four of us,” he says. “It would be doing a disservice to not play those songs because I love those songs and I believe in them.”
Wherever the band goes next, Cooper is grateful for everything that has led to now.
“To me, what we have is the dream come true,” he says. “What I thought of as a kid watching Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Live at the Ritz’ when I was 6 or 7. This is where I wanted to be. Seeing it come from nothing to developing into this big touring entity that’s sold millions of records worldwide is beyond my belief and my comprehension.”
Taking Back Sunday, Coheed and Cambria and The Story So Far play Saturday, Aug. 4, at The Pavilion at the Toyota Music Factory. Tickets start at $22.