April 25 is notable for two reasons. First, it’s Miss Rhode Island’s perfect date in Miss Congeniality. But more importantly, it’s the birthday of Taking Back Sunday’s Louder Now. The band’s third record, featuring “MakeDamnSure,” was released in 2006 and celebrated its 10th anniversary last month.
Happy 10th Birthday LOUDER NOW! Original photo by Joel Meyerowitz that we gave to Brad Filip to design the cover. pic.twitter.com/YhozfnVMRF
— Taking Back Sunday (@TBSOfficial) April 25, 2016
Taking Back Sunday is still going strong today but had a slightly different line-up in the mid-2000s. Back then, there were five members who labored and loved for four months to create Louder Now: lead singer Adam Lazzara, guitarists Fred Mascherino and Eddie Reyes, bassist Matt Rubano, and drummer Mark O’Connell.
“It was the most work I’ve ever done in my life, so I’m still proud of it,” Mascherino told MTV News at Emo Night Brooklyn on Saturday, May 21. He and Jordan Pundik, frontman of New Found Glory, DJ’ed throwback emo songs at New York’s Irving Plaza.
“To be honest, I can’t believe it’s been 10 years. Hopefully I don’t look any older,” he joked.
The band wanted to achieve something “timeless” with Louder Now, Mascherino said, to stand out from the “trend” of pop-punk bands at the time.
“We didn’t want to just do the formula. We wanted to bring in any other elements that we could. That’s why there’s an acoustic song with xylophone on it, that’s why there’s piano.”
For Mascherino, the “ripping guitar solo” on “Miami” — coincidentally one of Lazzara’s favorite TBS songs — is a great example of this: “You don’t get a lot of that on the mid-2000s emo records, but we were like, we really didn’t care. We just wanted to make something that we thought was really good.”
A sold-out Emo Night crowd screaming “MakeDamnSure” lyrics is probably proof that Taking Back Sunday reached their goal of timelessness. In May 2006, the hit song peaked at #48 on Billboard’s Hot 100 list. A decade
under the influence later in May 2016, it clearly still holds a special place in fans’s hearts. Mascherino called it “the most solid song [he’s] ever had anything to do with.”
“It was the song that was the most group effort on that album,” he explained. “I think we all pushed each other really hard, and that’s why we had good results. It wasn’t easy and there was a lot of tension, but it produced great things.”
Lazzara wrote the lyrics — “I’m gonna make damn sure that you can’t ever leave / No, you won’t ever get too far from me” — which were universally quoted in Myspace profiles, AIM away messages, and the like. It became a go-to angry heartbreak anthem.
“He [Lazzara] would have to explain. I kind of know what he’s singing about, but I’d rather him get into it, you know?” Mascherino said about the song’s inspiration. “We had a little room that we would go to in Manhattan that we rented out. We would just sit there with our laptop and our guitars and just craft each song one by one until we had about 20, and then that became Louder Now. We cut 10 of them.”
Mascherino later admitted he sometimes misses the teamwork. He split from Taking Back Sunday circa 2007 and started his solo project, called The Color Fred. So far he’s released one EP and an album under this moniker, though he’s currently working on another record.
“It’s good because I get to call the shots,” he continued, “but I still miss some of the camaraderie from those [Taking Back Sunday] days.”
He’s also lead singer and guitarist in Terrible Things, an alternative rock group with bassist Aaron Van Allen and drummer Steve Curtiss.
“They’re both hard in different ways. It’s always a battle for me,” he said about being in a band versus performing solo. “I’m just not very easy.”