Yet it did. And it’s one of many extraordinary memories the pair have about that time in their lives. And on this Friday afternoon – Mark under grey skies in Long Island, Adam under a blue one in North Carolina, where he moved back to a few years ago now – they’re flowing as they reminisce about being wined and dined in glitzy Hollywood restaurants by record labels who were courting them, surrounded by celebrities on a regular basis.
“Do you remember,” Mark asks Adam, “when Warner Bros. took us out to dinner in LA one time, and you and I went out to smoke a cigarette in front of the restaurant and there was that actor who came up and started talking to us because he was smoking a cigarette? Was it Billy Zane?”
“Wasn’t he at [fancy hotel] The Grafton with Interpol?” wonders Adam.
“No,” replies Mark. “I don’t think so.”
“Then that’s another cool story! And do you remember when Jay Leno was the host of The Tonight Show and we were on it? We’re outside smoking and he just pulls up in his crazy car and we just start talking to Jay Leno for a minute, just because it’s normal. When I look back, it almost feels like a movie. I couldn’t believe that was our lives. It was like, did somebody fuck up and accidentally let us in here? Because this is crazy…”
Nobody fucked up, though. That not-normal existence was very much normal for Taking Back Sunday during that period. You can tell by the way Adam and Mark talk about it all these years later that they’re still in awe of it all, still pinching themselves that those things happened.
Yet while Kerrang!’s 2006 Album Of The Year took the band – completed then by guitarist and founding member Eddie Reyes, guitarist/vocalist Fred Mascherino and bassist Matt Rubano, all of whom have since left – to extraordinary places, including Number Two on the U.S. charts, making a commercially successful record wasn’t the express intention. For while they knew it was a likelihood, they were still getting used to the fact that being in Taking Back Sunday was their job.
“I remember thinking, ‘I can’t believe this is what we do!’” says Adam. “‘We just get to go in and play really loud rock'n'roll music all day. This is insane!’ So we knew that it was going to be a kind of defining moment in the life of the band up to that point.”