Even though Taking Back Sunday is still on the rise in terms fame and their fan base, the five New Yorkers are a lot more more down to Earth than you'd expect. Instead of allowing their egos to inflate, Taking Back Sunday wants to give something back to the many communities across the country. As part of the Boost Mobile rock corps program, Taking Back Sunday will headline four shows for free. Fortunately, for the communities and fans involved, there's only one catch: You have to do four hours of work to help out your community. That way, everybody wins. Volunteering has always been part of the band's nature, and as bass player Matt Rubano explains, Taking Back Sunday and the Boost Mobile rock corps is like a match made in heaven. JUICY BANDS: When you head out on a long tour, what do you guys pack in the tour bus? MATT RUBANO: Actually, on the last tour, we cut our rider way, way down. We've started to become a lot more conscious of how wasteful we were, day to day, or how touring bands can be. Every day, when you arrive at a venue or a city and you've got your whole rider of food and things, that you really don't go through a day's supply each day. It would be like going food shopping for your house every single day, and then chucking what you don't use at the end of the day. So we've become way more slimmed down when it comes to that stuff. We have basic things, nothing crazy. Some food things that each of us are into, but mainly we've tried to be more conscious about it and not be so wasteful on tour. That's probably the boring answer. You were probably looking for, "We have live ammunition rounds and chicken wings and stuff," but we try to keep it pretty chill.
JUICY BANDS: Is that a conscious environmental decision that you guys made?
MATT: Yeah, we're part of an initiative that we're trying to implement into our touring where, from the rider to the bus to recycling at the venues and providing recycling services for the tons of bottles of water that we go through and the audience goes through, just trying to clean up our act touring-wise so that we were leaving a little less of a footprint behind. JUICY BANDS: When did you decide to get involved with the Boost Mobile rock corps and what made you decide to join forces with them?
MATT: We had done a couple of shows over the past few years. We did a couple shows that were in the midst of a couple of our own tours. Then we did one at Radio City Music Hall with a bunch of hip-hop artists, and I think Panic! At the Disco was on the show also. It's cool, because it has always fit into our schedule and it has also given us an opportunity to have our band be a part of something where we can be involved in something where we can get people to contribute to their community, and still simply play a rock show and give them a bit of reward for putting their time in. Anytime that we can do something as simple and fun like playing a show, and it can actually have a positive effect beyond people just coming to enjoy the music, it makes it a bonus situation.
JUICY BANDS: Was it important to play a BMRC show in your home city, at Radio City Music Hall?
MATT: Being a New Yorker, and seeing how many people turned out for that in all the different boroughs...they would shout out for Long Island, they would shout out for Queens, and Brooklyn, and Manhattan, and the Bronx, and it was just...that place was just packed. There was not one empty seat in the house. It was really cool seeing the video footage of the particular days and events that they had of the community service. Then, actually being able to look out into the crowd and see when somebody would see their face up on the screen, cleaning a park or whatever they happened to be doing, they just bug out and the whole borough would go off, and it was a really cool thing. It felt very hometown, and it felt very much like you could feel all the boroughs coming together for this one thing. The show ended up being this big party with everyone celebrating what they had done. It was a really good energy in the room that night.
JUICY BANDS: Are you disappointed you're not coming back to New York this year?
MATT: No. I mean, having a chance to do them in Chicago and Houston and Portland and Philadelphia, and being a touring band that tours as much as we do and as frequently as we do, we've got so many second homes. Those four cities alone are great for us to be able to contribute to.
JUICY BANDS: Logistically, how did it work with your own Projekt Revolution tour?
MATT: Basically, the Projekt Revolution tour has a lot of days off, as compared to how often we would tour. When we go on tour, TBS likes to keep a six-show-per-week schedule. We usually take one day off, if any, and the Projekt Rev., just because it's such a big tour, there's so many people involved and we're covering so much ground, it's more like two or three shows in a row and then a day off throughout the whole five or six weeks of the tour. When we realized there was an opportunity to fill in some of those gaps and be part of something like the Boost Mobile RockCorps shows, it was a pretty easy decision, because it keeps us playing and keeps us moving on the road, and it gives us a chance to visit these cities and have a really positive contribution for it. The other cool thing is that at these type of shows, you get your own fans and people coming to see you band after they hear you are doing it and they contribute. You also get some people that are just there to help out, and it gives the show a diverse thing, because you know you are playing to a little bit of a different audience, which is always a challenge and something we always found a lot of fun.
JUICY BANDS: In previous years, you had done one or two concerts with Boost Mobile. What made you want to really increase the commitment this time around?
MATT: I think it's the simple fact that it worked out, scheduling-wise. When we're out on the road, we like to keep that busy schedule. We're not too shy about using our free time, especially when it's for something that's as beneficial as this. It's really easy for us all to agree to do this. It's easier for us to agree to do stuff like this than it is to agree when we're going to sit down and practice. You'd be surprised the things we stumble over trying to work out and figure things out, but when it's a charity-type thing, or a show that's going to be something where we can help a community out, those are the shortest conversations and easiest decisions. JUICY BANDS: Since the concerts have a festival type of atmosphere, do you know any of the other bands you are going to be playing with?
MATT: I don't, actually. I don't know if it's been worked out. The thing that I think we would like to do is either try to do a little bit of research and grab local bands or bands that are from those cities that are home from tour, or just see who happens to be in town on those days. I'm not really sure if the bills have been worked out just yet.
JUICY BANDS: I'm assuming Brand New won't be in the line-up?
MATT: I'm not sure if they're around. If they're available and they want to help out, we wouldn't turn anybody away that wants to help out for this cause.
JUICY BANDS: Do you guys still have a rivalry with them?
MATT: Kind of a one-sided rivalry. We've never really acknowledged any kind of rivalry. It seems to be a torch that someone else is carrying.
JUICY BANDS: You guys are exploding these days, with the Boost Mobile rock corps and a single on the Transformers soundtrack. How does it feel to garner the mainstream success?
MATT: Our band has worked really hard for years and years, and toured a lot. We've made records consistently, and we've had an amazingly supportive and loyal, growing fan base over the years. When things like soundtracks and other opportunities come up, it makes you feel really good, and something like that is especially about the music, in the sense that they wanted a song that had a particular kind of energy, and they heard the song and liked it. It's cool to see your band growing or exploding, but I also think we maintain a modest and not-quite-yet overflowing onto the mainstream type reputation, because we're not a big pop band yet. We've obviously put in our time touring and recording and stuff like that. I think it gives us a feeling that there's always somewhere else to go and something else to do, and it keeps us working hard. We always say we've been really lucky over the years and we continue to work hard to stay lucky.
JUICY BANDS: Since you're with a major record label now, is that how you land things like the rock corps shows, or is that what Warner is bringing to you guys?
MATT: No, I think these are things that we search out on our own. Being with Warner is great, and they have given us really cool opportunities to do similar things. I remember when we were recording Louder Now, we recorded it in Los Angeles and the whole band was living there. We started recording in August 2005, and that was right during Hurricane Katrina. In the very, very beginning of recording, we hadn't even really started on the record yet. Everything was written, we were moved into an apartment in LA and we were just starting to get going. Katrina was what all the entire nation's eyes were on, and Warner Bros, along with Habitat for Humanity, provided the opportunity for Warner Bros. artists, actors and whoever else to come to one of the movie sets or NBC lots. Eddie [Reyes] and I went over from our band and helped build two houses, then dismantled them, loaded them onto a truck, and sent them down to New Orleans. There have been times where being involved with Warner has given us an opportunity to do something cool like that, but as a band, we've always been really self-sufficient and taken a lot of our charity or volunteer endeavors upon ourselves to do, and things have always worked out really well. Like I said, it gives us a chance to be something more than just a touring rock band.
Juicy Bands: Thanks for coming in, it was great interviewing you.
Matt: Yeah, you know I was in the area. [laughs]
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