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‘It’s dad life,’ Taking Back Sunday bassist says about being in a band

SALT LAKE CITY — Being a member of a rock band isn't always about the booze.

At least not to Shaun Cooper, the 36-year-old bassist of the rock band Taking Back Sunday, which will perform in Salt Lake City at The Complex on Aug. 7.

To him, it's about doing what you love and, more importantly, spending time with family. But it wasn't always that way. The band first started when Cooper was in high school, and it was more about having fun and partying then.

"When you're a kid, you're just suddenly thrust into this lifestyle, and it's just partying all the time," Cooper told the Deseret News in an interview.

But now there is more focus on the job.

"Instead of going out as much, instead of running around and getting crazy, it's just, you know — it's dad life," he said.

The reason for that? Cooper and many of the band members have families and kids they like to come home to. His job playing in a band, he said, allows him to spend more time with his kids — Teddy, 3, and Aurora, 7 months — than he would have if he had another job.

"It's tough to be away on the road and everything. The lives we have are very different from most people, but I get to spend more time with my wife and kids than most people," Cooper said. "You know, because when we're home, we're home. The work kind of stops. I mean, there's always stuff to do. There's always songs to work on. There's always press or conference calls to get on to discuss future plans and things like that, but by and large I am home a lot."

As a matter of fact, most of the work the band does to create music doesn't even happen in person. It happens through the internet and other online tools.

That's because two of the band's members, including Cooper, live in Long Island, New York, where the band started in their parents' garages. Eddie Reyes lives outside of Cleveland in Ohio. And John Nolan and Adam Lazzara live in North Carolina.

The band gets together before each tour to rehearse for few days but uses many online tools throughout the rest of the year to communicate and collaborate.

"With internet and ProTools and Garage Band, it's really easy to write when we are apart from each other and send ideas back and forth through email, so it's really a nonissue," Cooper said.

Cooper said the band has finally begun to "hit its stride." He attributes the band's success to a lot of things but mentioned that he couldn't have done it without "a little bit of talent, and a whole lot of luck." The luck came from a changing music scene and being raised by good, understanding parents.

"We were fortunate enough to have basements at our parents' house and very lenient parents who didn't mind the noise too much, who embraced what we were doing from a very early age," he said. "We came from pretty good communities and very loving families, and I think that allowed for a lot of experimentation."

But that doesn't mean it didn't take hard work and determination. He told the Deseret News this was a lifelong dream of his that he and the band fought for even when their music was considered unpopular "five, six, seven years ago."

"Because this is our dream come true, no matter what. We never want to stop, so we just kept trying to evolve as songwriters and as musicians and continue to grow and continue to put out records, even when our band was very uncool," Cooper said.

He encouraged other bands that are struggling to make it big to also keep trying and keep pushing to succeed.

"My advice is just keep going. Keep going if it's your dream, if it's what you love," he said. "Get a fan base going at home. If you can, keep playing shows regularly where you live. And, then get out on the road. Tour. Tour as much as you can. Play as many shows as you can. No matter what or where."