Adam Lazzara doesn’t remember much about the first time Taking Back Sunday played Nikon at Jones Beach Theater.
It was 2004 and the band was playing the now-defunct K-Rock Dysfunctional Family Picnic, just days before the band’s second album, “Where You Want to Be,” would debut at No. 3 on Billboard’s album chart and at No. 1 on the independent album chart. Shortly after the band’s set, when Lazzara and I took a wrong turn out of the band’s makeshift dressing room backstage and mistakenly ended up in a public area, he was quickly spotted by a few screaming fans and stopped to speak with them and sign autographs, as he has always done. But the screaming grew louder and the crowd kept growing until we were surrounded and it became clear we had to leave, especially once fans started pulling at his shirt, trying to get his attention.
“I don’t remember that at all,” laughs Lazzara, calling from his home in Charlotte, North Carolina. “A lot of that stuff doesn’t really stick with me. . . . It’s hard for me to imagine a lot of people running up to me and wanting to talk.”
Of course, that still happens, though guitarist-vocalist John Nolan says it’s different now. “I don’t miss those days,” he says. “I can have conversations with our fans now.”
Taking Back Sunday — Lazzara, Nolan, guitarist Eddie Reyes, drummer Mark O’Connell and bassist Shaun Cooper — has always been a forward-looking bunch and that certainly isn’t changing now, as they ready their seventh album, due out in the fall. They don’t see spending their summer on the Taste of Chaos tour with Dashboard Confessional, which will include another stop at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater on June 18, as a return to the days when they were muscling their way onto rock radio playlists along with Dashboard and Brand New or as part of the ongoing emo revival led by new bands like Modern Baseball and The Hotelier.
“I lose sleep over that stuff,” Lazzara says. “We’re not just this one thing. We’re not going for some sort of cash-in. . . . I couldn’t put any more of myself into these new songs and we’ve all grown as musicians. I don’t think it’s fair.”
After all, the band’s last album — 2014’s wider-ranging rock effort “Happiness Is” — also reached the Top 10 of Billboard’s album chart, as well as topping the independent albums chart, a sign that the band’s fan base is growing with them.
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And they see their upcoming album, recorded with a longtime collaborator, Bethpage-based producer Mike Sapone, as another ambitious step forward.
“I’m very excited for people to hear it,” Nolan says. “I think it’s going to be a surprise to some people. We’re all extremely excited about what we’ve done. It’s the culmination of things we’ve tried over the past two records. I think it’s the strongest record we’ve done since getting back together. We’ve freed ourselves up to go in new directions.”
The new album was recorded in Charlotte, where Lazzara and Nolan now live with their families, marking the first time the band members essentially stayed home while recording. Lazzara says the familiar surroundings enabled the band to be more adventurous.
“It just helped everybody push harder,” he says. “I think some of the playing on this record is just the best we’ve ever done. There were times when Mark was playing and I was thinking, ‘I don’t know how he’s physically doing that.’ ”
Though the band is eager to play the new music for fans on the current tour, Lazzara says he’s not sure it will be possible. “Everyone has a video camera in their pocket now,” he says, adding that the band will do its own headlining tour in the fall. “You really don’t want people’s introduction to a song to be from cellphone video.”
In any case, Taking Back Sunday plans to enjoy playing Jones Beach again, a first for Nolan and Cooper, who were not in the band when it played there the four previous times.
“This is huge for me,” Nolan says. “I grew up going to see shows there.”
Nolan, who grew up in Baldwin, says his parents had taken him to Jones Beach to see concerts for years, but the one that sticks out for him was when he saw Hootie & the Blowfish. “It was actually a really fun show,” he says, laughing. “What made it really memorable, though, was that it was the first time I didn’t have to go with my parents.”
However, Nolan says he is more excited about the Jones Beach show because of what it means for the band now. “It keeps the focus on the future,” he says.