Formed in 1999 in Amityville, NY, Taking Back Sunday modeled their interpretation of melodic hardcore after bands like Lifetime, Endpoint, and Sunny Day Real Estate, as well as guitarist Ed Reyes’ emo outfit the Movielife. After the release of a five-song demo and a year’s worth of hosting shows (which included shows with At the Drive-In and Alkaline Trio), Taking Back Sunday signed to Victory Records and entered New Jersey’s Big Blue Meanie Recording Studios alongside producer Sal Villanueva and engineer Tim Gilles. The result, Tell All Your Friends, layered Adam Lazzara’s emotional vocals and the dual-guitar assault of Reyes and John Nolan, fashioning a classic hardcore style of music with pop songwriting components. The debut album was put forth in March 2002 and is the only official album to display the founding lineup.
The lineup spent the rest of that year and much of 2003 touring, but when Nolan and bassist Shaun Cooper departed the group (which was rounded out by drummer Mark O’Connell), Taking Back Sunday’s future was left in doubt. However, guitarist/vocalist Fred Mascherino (ex-Breaking Pangea) and bass player Matt Rubano (ex-Schleigho) filled out the lineup in time for the band’s fall 2003 tour and subsequent recording sessions. The follow-up effort, Where You Want to Be, arrived in summer 2004 and debuted at number three on Billboard’s Top 200, establishing Taking Back Sunday as a forerunner in the wave of commercial emo bands. It also connected the vocal interplay of Lazzara and Mascherino, a combination that would briefly become one of the band’s sonic calling cards. TBS toured steadily behind the album, headlining a sold-out North American tour and hitting the usual Warped Tour stops as well.
In the wake of Where You Want to Be’s success, Taking Back Sunday signed with Warner Bros. in June 2005 and co-headlined several performances with Jimmy Eat World. Ever the hard workers, they came back to the studio in August to commence work on their third full-length album. Produced by Eric Valentine (Third Eye Blind, Queens of the Stone Age), Louder Now debuted at number two upon its release in April 2006. The record was a darker, more aggressive effort that tapped into the band’s live energy, which was further displayed on the concert CD/DVD package Louder Now: Part Two. Despite the band’s mounting profile, however, Fred Mascherino departed the band in October 2007 and launched a solo career. Several months later, former Facing New York member Matt Fazzi was announced as Mascherino’s replacement, and the revised lineup spent the bulk of 2008 writing new songs and playing sporadic performances. New Again, the first record to feature Fazzi’s contributions, was readied for release in summer 2009, prefaced by a lengthy American tour during the spring months.