Emily Sharrer, Editor-in-Chief

When you’re the guitarist and backing vocalist for a successful band that’s had three gold records, there’s not much to complain about. At least that’s Taking Back Sunday member Matt Fazzi’s take on life. When Broadside sat down to talk with the newest member of the band after the group’s visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the guitarist had three main messages: First, he feels like the luckiest S.O.B. in the world, second, Taking Back Sunday is better than ever and third, you definitely need to check out the band’s newest album, New Again.

So what’s it like being the new guy?
I understand that to a lot of people still have either never seen the band play before or are seeing the band for the first time with me in it so I kind of approach every show and everyday like trying to be on top of everything so that people will come to watch us and won’t be stuck thinking about it. You know what I mean? ‘Cause I can tell at some shows that people are sizing me up…I just try to bring my A game every day and hope that fans that have already seen the band will be stoked on it and fans that haven’t seen the band will be stoked on it too.

How does New Again measure up to Taking Back Sunday’s past albums?
A big difference this time around was everyone kind of wiped the slate clean and I think Taking Back Sunday for a while had sort of gotten into a place where they were operating within the confines of what I think they thought that people think Taking Back Sunday should sound like…so for this record we kind of tried to throw all that out the window and just say, ‘ya know what? We need to push the band forward in some way and we have to try some stuff that the band’s never done and see what happens.’ I don’t think that New Again is a huge departure from Louder Now, but I do think that it’s a very logical progression…There’s a song called ‘Carpathia’ on the record that’s pretty indicative of where we want to go it’s got three part harmonies, it’s got interesting chords and chord turns and the arrangement is also interesting so I think that song is sort of a pretty good reflection of where we are as a band right now.

What’s it like touring with Anberlin and All American Rejects?
Super cool…we were familiar with some of [Anberlin’s] music and stuff but we just really hit it off with them. They’re amazing people their entire crew everyone is really down to Earth and they’re great musicians. They’re a tight band, the singing is perfect every night. I have a tremendous amount of respect for them as musicians and as people…they’re stand up gentleman for sure.

As far as the Rejects are concerned, the same thing. I was really impressed when I met them at how down to Earth they are and how normal and nice and funny…and it’s really hard to find with a band that’s had their kind of success and there’s definitely been experiences I’ve had with other bands that have had equal or greater success that are just complete jerks and they’re rockstars and they don’t want to be around anyone and they’re all aloof and whatever.

Any crazy tour moments?
I hate that question because whenever I get asked it all of a sudden my mind goes blank. It’s usual really mellow I think that actually you would be incredibly bored. If you’re coming to look for rockstars you’re in the wrong place — with this tour anyway. Everyone is super mellow and there’s not a whole lot of that stuff at all.

Do you guys have a problem with keeping your heads on straight with the tour?
Not really. I mean it just depends on the kind of person you are and I think luckily within our band we are not those kinds of people…I mean it’s easy to be normal when you cross paths with so many people who act like they’re way better than everyone. It’s the kind of thing when you see it you’re just like ‘ah, fuck that, why am I gonna act like that?’

We are amazingly fortunate to be able to do what we do for a living and play music everyday. And I mean there’s just no reason to complain or be a jerk or not talk to fans or anything like that it’s just those people allow us to live the way that we live and allow us to play music everyday and that’s like the biggest thing in the world.

What kind of fan reaction have you had?
It’s all been positive. Basically since I joined the band all the fans have been super positive toward me…the people that give the record a chance like it. That’s the funny thing, I think people are so hung up on the old lineups and stuff that they can’t listen to music for music ‘cause really New Again isn’t like Kid A to OK Computer or something like this huge departure, it’s just a logical step for the band.

It’s cool to see musicians who have their head on straight.
Today’s a really special day, too because we just came back from Walter Reed…it’s just like, I couldn’t complain about a single thing in my life because these dudes have it way harder than I do. If they can have a smile on their face and be positive after losing both their legs or an eye or seeing their friends die I couldn’t even imagine trying to conjure up some sort of complaint about anything.