The booming independent rock scene has mystified major labels and made heroes out of previously unknown bands like Long Island, N.Y.'s Taking Back Sunday. "Tell All Your Friends," the hard-charging qu

The booming independent rock scene has mystified major labels and made heroes out of previously unknown bands like Long Island, N.Y.'s Taking Back Sunday. "Tell All Your Friends," the hard-charging quintet's debut for Victory Records, has sold 108,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, and the band's audiences keep getting bigger as it gears up for a headlining club tour and a main stage spot on the 2003 edition of the Vans Warped Tour.

Having recently come off the road, the band has just enough down time to reflect on its success. "When we play a show and there's a large number of kids that we've never met singing along, then I think we've succeeded," lead singer Adam Lazzara says from his Long Island home. "The record sales and everything else is great and they really impress our parents but that's not what we're impressed with."

It's this modest approach and the great attention paid to an honest connection between band and audience that has fostered the success of similar acts like Thursday, the Alkaline Trio, and to some extent, Jimmy Eat World. The stripped-down songs on "Tell All Your Friends" swirl the in-your-face attitude of hardcore and the catchiness of the most moving emo tune. There's the odd near ballad like "Great Romances of the 20th Century" and the slightly abrasive "You Know How I Do," but most of the tracks fall somewhere in between, relying on standard emo sensibilities, crashing choruses, and lots of backing vocals.

The lyrics drip with angst and longing, epitomized in the opening line from "There's No 'I' In Team": "Did I ever tell you that everything I know about breaking hearts / I learned from you?" Taking Back Sunday has quietly leapt to the front of the genre and will undertake a headlining tour this spring before joining this summer's Warped outing, kicking off June 19 in Boise, Idaho.

"When we got that call we were like 'What?!' We thought someone was just playing a mean joke. Its just really surreal knowing we'd be on the whole thing and on the main stage," Lazzara says. In an interesting twist, last year's Warped Tour pushed Thursday into the mainstream consciousness around the same time the band left Victory to sign with Island.

But Taking Back Sunday seems content with its place at the top of Victory's roster. "Since they've come into the picture things have just gotten easier and easier," Lazzara admits. The singer points out that the stages of the bands rapid rise can be charted by its modes of transportation on tour. "We started touring in a Ford Windstar, you know, a soccer-mom van," he says. "Picture squeezing six dudes in one of those. We went from that to a 15-passenger van then to a bus. That's all happened in a year's span of time, and we're hearing from our friends that [it] doesn't happen much."

Despite the usual trappings of stardom, the band still sticks to its hardcore roots and makes sure it stay connected with its fans. Lazzara and his bandmates frequent the group's online message board and try to take time out at every show to socialize with the audience. "We all understand that if it weren't for them we wouldn't be where we are now," he says. "That is something that we're never going to lose track of because we owe them so much."

Here are Taking Back Sunday's upcoming tour dates:

March 23: Philadelphia (Electric Factory)
March 24: Pittsburgh (Club Laga)
March 25: New York (Irving Plaza)
March 26: Washington, D.C. (9:30 Club)
March 27: Worcester, Mass. (The Palladium)
March 28: Hartford, Conn. (Webster Theatre)
March 29: Montreal (Rainbow)
March 30: Toronto (Kool Haus)
April 1: Detroit (St. Andrews Hall)
April 2: Cleveland (Agora Theatre)
April 3: Cincinnati (Bogart's)
April 4: Minneapolis (Quest Club)
April 5: Milwaukee (Turner Hall)
April 6: Chicago (Metro/Smart Bar)
April 8: Boulder, Colo. (Fox Theatre)
April 9: Salt Lake City (X-Scape)
April 11: Seattle (Graceland)
April 12: Portland, Ore. (B Complex)
April 13: San Francisco (Slim's)
April 14: Hollywood, Calif. (The Palace)
April 15: Las Vegas (Huntridge Theatre)
April 16: Phoenix (Marquis)
April 18: San Antonio, Texas (Sin 13)
April 19: Dallas (The Door)
April 21: Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (The Factory)
April 22: Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (House Of Blues)
April 23: Atlanta (Cotton Club)
April 24: Nashville (Blue Sky Court)
April 25: Charlotte, N.C. (Tremont Music Hall)
April 26: Asbury Park, N.J. (Convention Hall)
April 27: Rochester, N.Y. (Water Street Music Hall)
April 28: Syracuse, N.Y. (Bridge Street Music Hall)

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