Shaun Cooper – Taking Back Sunday ‘Stories from the Road and Beyond’

Formed over a decade ago, forefathers of emo Taking Back Sunday have built a dedicated fanbase. Following their newest album Tidals Waves, the boys are bringing the tour down under and their taking Acceptance down with them. We sat down with bassist Shaun Cooper, for a chat about the band’s wild history and what we can expect this tour…


It’s been a little while since Taking Back Sunday has graced our shores. What are you most excited for during this tour down under?

I’m excited to have a little bit warmer weather then up here in New York; it’s been pretty cold here all winter long, so I’m pretty excited for that and I just love being in Australia; we always have a really good time. Australia is very similar to the states, but it’s also just that little bit different so it’s very comfortable but it’s also intriguing. The flight’s kind of rough but it’s totally been worth it and the shows have been great in the past! I’m excited to do more of that.

Is the crowd any different?

No, You know what after playing all over the world; because of the internet, fans of our band are very similar and they’re very similar to us. They’re people who really enjoy music and going to shows, regular working people. Some are a little bit younger than us but I think because of the internet the people that like our band are pretty similar all over the world which I think is pretty cool.

You guys are bringing Acceptance down here for the first time ever. Is this the first time you’ve toured with them?

We’ve toured with Christian (Vocalist/Guitarist of Acceptance) before in a previous band and he’s a great guy. We’re touring with them just as they’ve started to build a large following again so I think it’ll be very exciting to play shows and they’ve never made it down to Australia before so I think a lot of people will be looking forward for that. I think it’ll be a lot of fun touring with them.

Which band would you say are the party animals between TBS and Acceptance?

My band tends to party very hard, but we kind of party like dads, any party that’s gone on would be in the states when we tour in a bus. You know, we’re not going out to clubs, we’re all married men, so we’re not looking for girls and being creeps and stuff. We definitely party but kind of like dads in a hotel room.

You’ve been on the road for a while then. Any wild tour stories?

Thats hard with so many years of touring there’s definitely more than one.

On the first tour we ever did in the states we used to ask people on stage if we could literally crash on a stranger’s floor, and so one night we were playing a show and there was nobody there. We were up in Mississippi, which is very very redneck. There was no one there, except some dude in a cowboy hat and we’re trying to find a place to sleep. We don’t know what we’re going to do.

Then this kid who kinda looked like us, punk rock kid with tattoos, comes in and says ‘Hey you can sleep in my house, I didn’t get to see your guys show but if you want to come over…’ and we were like ‘yeah that’s great we’d love to come over no big deal’.

So we go over and crash at their place. We’re with a band called Northshore too, so there is like ten people sprawled on this dudes floor in a tiny apartment.

I go to take a shower the next day and I’ve been in there maybe two minutes if that, and I hear a panicked knock on the door and I’m like what’s going on and it’s a girl’s voice, obviously one of the roommates who wasn’t there initially, yelling ‘ You’ve got to get out, you’ve got to get out!’ and I’m like ‘uh okay’ so theres two doors to the bathroom and I walk out, and I’m just standing there in a towel kind of shaken and Mark, who plays drums and we’ve been best friend forever, sees me in the hall and is like ‘Sean why the hell are you standing in the hall in a towel’ and I’m like ‘I don’t know dude I was in the shower and some girl kicked me out and she was so panicked I had to let her in’

I hear her come out a while later and the toilet flushes and she leaves and when I went back in it was the most atrocious smell you could ever imagine. This girl had awful diarrhea, she’d gotten home from her trip and exploded the toilet.

I’m sure that’d make you appreciate hotels and tour buses then.

Oh absolutely we are very lucky in that aspect. (laughs)

What band made you want to start your own band?

Well initially I think it was The Beatles when I was really little, probably three or four years old and I just heard that and I understood that that’s what rock and roll was and I thought it was the coolest thing ever and connected with it immediately. Later on Nirvana was the band who made it seem real and attainable for me, because I couldn’t play crazy guitar solos and stuff like Slash but when I heard Nirvana I was like ‘Oh I can play the bass to that song’ and I had just started playing ‘This was accessible, maybe I could do this’

What’s it like to hear Taking Back Sunday be the answer to that question for a lot of bands

Im super surprised to hear that and also very flattered. When you start playing in a band you just want to write some good songs and then when things kind of pick up you think well maybe we should play some shows and maybe even go on tour, so its all very small stuff at first, but the dream was always to be an influential band but we never thought it’d get to the size that it has and this takes it a whole step further to hear that we might have made someone pick up a guitar or start singing or start writing some lyrics is really kind of mind blowing because we started out so small with no idea this thing would go anywhere and Tell your friends came out 15 years ago so to be still doing it is shocking to me personally so it’s definitely a cool thing to hear.
The new album Tidal waves reflects a ton of different influences, Who or where would you say you drew from most in this case.

Sure certainly I think there are a lot of newer influences, but I’m pretty fortunate or maybe it’s just the person that I am but the stuff that influenced me as a little kid continues to influence me into adulthood. Maybe I had good taste then or maybe it’s just something within me that I just kid of stick to what I know like my wife and I have been together a really long time, I’ve known the guys in the band and I’m a really committed guy when I find something I like I don’t mess around or branch out to far. Of course I’m always finding new music but as far as influences goes definitely Nirvana was a big influence on this record and all the things we do after that.

Are there any guilty pleasure artists that people wouldn’t expect influence you?

I never feel guilty about much so, I really like what I like. There’s this guy Christopher Kroft, he was a big singer in the 80s and he’s got this song called stallion which is really good, I’ve got a lot of Madonna and Cyndi Lauper songs too, people might find that surprising.

From the inception of the band to now, how do you feel the band has grown?

I think we’re getting way more comfortable with our influences. With songs like ‘Tidal Waves’ we didn’t try to make it sound really different yet that’s the direction it naturally took that we all felt really good about.

I think a lot of times we try and wear our influences on our sleeve and I think we really embraced that instead of trying to shape it into our ‘own’ sound. We just said hey let’s go with this, it feels natural and exciting, this is good. So I think getting more comfortable with that and feeling a little more natural. We’re not trying to force it as much and I think that makes for much better song writing, we’re in a very good spot and I think we matured a lot personally.

Interviewed by Bree Vane. Find her on Facebook & Instagram


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  1. Wall Of Sound - Taking Back Sunday – Gig Review & Photo Gallery 17th March @ Enmore Theatre, Sydney NSW

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