Taking Back Sunday's John Nolan on 20 Years of Tell All Your Friends

Guitarist John Nolan on a nugget of past drama, a walk down memory lane, and more ahead of the band's gigs at Revolution Live.
Taking Back Sunday celebrates 20 years with a big tour.
Taking Back Sunday celebrates 20 years with a big tour. Photo by Natalie Escobedo
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It may feel like yesterday that you were rockin’ to angsty Taking Back Sunday nuggets like “Cute Without the ‘E’” and “You’re So Last Summer” on repeat.

Well, this year, TBS turns 20 and it’s taking those classic tunes from its 2002 debut studio album Tell All Your Friends with ‘em.

The foursome’s year-long, 20th-anniversary world tour parks at Fort Lauderdale’s Revolution Live for two nights, on Friday, October 11, and Saturday, October 12.

And this will be far from your typical two-day stint.

On both nights, the guys will play Tell All Your Friends for the first album. After they play Tell All Your Friends on the first night, the band will flip a coin to which they play either Where You Want to Be or Louder Now on that same night. On the second night, the band will play Tell All Your Friends and the second album that did not get played on the first night.

“We flip the coin on stage and it’s completely random,” guitarist John Nolan says. “I would like to look at all the coin flips from this year... that would be totally interesting to me. It seemed at the beginning we had Where You Want to Be like five or six times in a row, but overall, it feels like it’s totally leveled out.”

Needless to say, this total randomness equated to quite the frenzy for TBS’s trusted techs and crew at the beginning. With a tour that kicked off in January and has since taken the band through Australia, Asia, Europe, South America, and North America, it’s gotten a lot smoother since.

“The first week or so of the tour, yes, it was pretty crazy and pretty chaotic,” Nolan says. “Of all our crew, none of them ever had to do something like this. My guitar tech, for example, has to have guitars tuned differently depending on the album. [Our guitar and drum techs] get right to work after the first show and have quite a system down.”

In addition to the tour, TBS released a career-retrospective album, Twenty, loaded with faves from its seven studio albums, plus two new songs. The band has heard from friends and fans galore, celebrating its big-time milestone.

Among the folks the band has not heard from is one-time member and recently embattled Brand New frontman Jesse Lacey. The TBS/Brand New drama extends back to the early 2000s.

“I have not talked to him or seen him in like five years,” Nolan says of Lacey. “Also, there’s something on our Wikipedia... the idea of him being a founding member is exaggerated. He was a bass player for like three to four months in the band, when we didn’t have a consistent bass player.”

Past drama aside, the state of Taking Back Sunday in 2019 is strong. Once this whirlwind of a tour and year ceases, Nolan says the band will start focusing on writing and recording yet again. And from there, who knows, we could be in for another 20 years of TBS goodness.

“When [bassist Shaun Cooper] and I came back to the band nearly ten years ago, we wondered whether or not it was sustainable... that people would keep coming to shows and buying records,” Nolan says. “Five years or so ago, we felt this thing... that we were going to keep going and that the momentum is still there.”

Taking Back Sunday. With Red City Radio. 7 p.m. Friday, October 11, and Saturday, October 12, at Revolution Live, 100 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954-449-1025; Tickets cost $32 via
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