Eddie Reyes Recalls Forming Taking Back Sunday: ‘I Wanted to Play What I Wanted to Play’
When you think of Taking Back Sunday -- and almost any band for that matter -- you often think of their vocalists and frontmen. Although Taking Back Sunday have a live wire frontman, Adam Lazzara, and a dueling co-vocalist on almost every song (currently John Nolan), they rely on each and every member.
Guitarist Eddie Reyes, for example, really made it all happen. He's the man responsible for forming Taking Back Sunday and is an integral part in the band's creative process.
We had a chance to chat with Reyes about his reasons for forming the band, some of his power struggles along the way and how Taking Back Sunday have grown and matured over the years.
You are basically responsible for forming Taking Back Sunday. How did that come about?
I was in a coffee shop in Islip [N.Y.] with a buddy of mine that used to be in the band, and I had recently just quit playing in the band the Movielife. Not that I didn't gel with their style, I just didn't get along with the people in the band. It was then that I basically decided that I wanted to play what I wanted to play -- and that's how I started the band. That was back in December of 1997, when I started to talk about it, but it actually didn't take off until '98.
John Nolan was present on your band's debut album, Tell All Your Friends, then he left for awhile and now he's back. How has it been to have Nolan back when it comes to songwriting?
It's been great. I mean, he's been back in the band for five years now, so it's been a smooth transition and we're a couple of albums into it. It's been great, you know, having Nolan around and getting to write with people that you get along with. We're going to be getting to work on a new album soon, writing up some new stuff.
What was it like to work with Fred Maschinero on the albums Where You Want to Be and Louder Now in Nolan's absence?
You know, it was what it was. We would just write music together, but it was too much of a power struggle I think. With John there's none of that. We just click differently -- it just happens.
How would you compare your latest album, Happyness Is, to your debut album from 2002?
I just think it's a lot more of a mature version of that. It's less singing about relationships and more about emotions ... being older and seeing that there are more important things in life than crying over a girl.
There's no arguing that "emo" has had a lasting impact. What do you think of when you hear that word?
There's no such thing as emo to me, I don't believe in it. There never was -- it's just a made up word. It's not really a genre of music. When other people bring that up I'm just like, "That's just silly." It's like when people were calling bands "grunge" when they really were just rock bands. It's a just a word made up to describe a genre of music. We're just a rock band, post-punk hardcore band, whatever.
Everyone has them ... what were some of your favorite riffs to play when you were first learning how to play guitar?
I recently saw that the Taking Back Sunday/Brand New beef is still very much alive. Is that true?
I don't pay attention to anything. I'm assuming that Adam [Lazzara] must have said something in an interview and everyone is back on the bandwagon again, creating some kind of problem -- I don't really pay attention to that. I'm 42 years old, man, I don't really give a s---, I really don't. There are more important things in life to worry about.
What do you think of Adam as the frontman for Taking Back Sunday?
He's one of the best frontmen out there. Everyone copies him, so I don't mind being in a band with him.
Taking Back Sunday are currently on an extensive U.S. tour with the Menzingers and Letlive in support of their latest studio album, Happyness Is. The album was just reissued on vinyl as Happyness Is: The Complete Recordings, packaged as eight 7" vinyl records containing the original tracklist in its entirety, plus previously unreleased songs and an autographed art card.