BOULDER, Colo. -
Taking Back Sunday has chalked up three gold records, thousands of miles on the road and an army of loyal fans.
The formula worked for almost a decade, but the indie-rock band decided to change things up in 2007.
Longtime band member Fred Mascherino went on to pursue a solo career, while the rest of the group looked for a new guitarist.
Taking Back Sunday is now back with energetic new guitarist Matt Fazzi, a renewed spirit and the CD New Again.
The album's title says it all.
"I had met Eddie Reyes in 2004 -- he's the band's other guitar player," Fazzi said. "When Fred Mascherino left the band, I was one of the people they called to audition.
"It was between me and 20 other people. The band told me they really wanted to wipe the slate clean and give an unknown player a chance. I was totally floored when they said I had the job!"
Fazzi said he was very familiar with Taking Back Sunday's songs.
"I learned most of the material before I went to the audition, so I was ahead of the game," Fazzi said. "I still had to learn the songs off the new record. We now play 30 to 35 songs every night."
Fazzi had big shoes to fill when he came on board. The band's 2006 CD Louder sold more than 600,000 copies, while the CD's single, "MakeDamnSure," reached the No. 8 spot on the modern-rock charts.
Taking Back Sunday also co-headlined the Vans Warped Tour, rocked the Live Earth concert and shared stages with everyone from Linkin Park to Rage Against the Machine.
Fazzi said he's ready for the challenge.
"Every night blows me away on this tour," Fazzi said. "Right from the beginning, we felt like we'd been in this band forever. Everyone was ready to wipe the slate clean and there's a lot of camaraderie."
Taking Back Sunday's members found their guitarist, but they also wanted to achieve an energetic new attitude. Fazzi said he brings those very qualities to the table.
"I'm a very positive guy and I take the music seriously," Fazzi said. "I play the guitar differently than most players. I use a lot of rich chords, unique time signatures and polyrhythms.
"I like to experiment a lot with the music.
Taking Back Sunday used Fazzi's strengths when it came to recording New Again.
Fazzi said the band wanted to capture its new energy and fearlessness, so producer David Kahne was brought into the studio. The veteran mixmaster has worked with the Strokes, Sublime and Sir Paul McCartney.
"We recorded most of the record in five days," Fazzi said. "We wanted a different feel to this record, so we took all the elements the band does well -- and trimmed the fat. That gave the CD more intensity.
"We also tried more stuff out with the music. We tried to be more fearless with time signatures. We stretched the boundaries and drew in from all the influences we were listening to.
"There's definitely a summer Beach Boys influence on this record."
No doubt, Fazzi is still excited about his band perks.
"We just found out that we're going to tour with Blink-182 and Weezer," Fazzi said. "These are the bands that influenced me, so it's strange to have it come full circle. This is going to be a tripped-out blast!"