John Nolan is best known as the guitarist and co-lead vocalist for punk rock powerhouse Taking Back Sunday (TBS). But when he’s not recording and touring with TBS or spending time with his family, the Long Island native can be found working on his solo projects, which have been warmly embraced by his faithful fan base.
Last year, Nolan released his second solo album, Sad Strange Beautiful Dream. The album highlights Nolan’s songwriting talents as well as his ability to craft catchy melodies and hooks. The songs are upbeat, diving into the political and social arenas through a thought-provoking lens.
Nolan said he enjoys doing solo work because it allows him to put out music that is 100 percent his, as opposed to the work of TBS which is a collaborative effort.
“That’s the fun of doing the solo stuff. I’m putting it all out there and saying I think it’s good and you can decide [for yourself] if you like it,” Nolan said. “But the reaction has been good.”
Working on music for TBS carries a lot more pressure because of the larger audience, Nolan noted. His solo work has a smaller, more faithful audience, which allows Nolan the opportunity to be a lot more personal.
“It didn’t feel like there was a lot on the line, I knew there wouldn’t be a large group of people analyzing it or critiquing it,” Nolan said. “But every song is so personal and so much of myself. Every song on that solo album is my own baby.”
John Nolan’s Long Island Haunts
The Baldwin-native returns to Long Island often and has fond memories of home. Here are some of his favorite spots on the island.
- Long Beach — “It’s one of my favorite places. I lived there for a few years and the west end out there is such a unique place and cool area. I really love going out there whenever I visit.”
- Montauk — “Way out east in Montauk is a really unique, kind of cool area. Growing up on Long Island, it was like a two-hour drive so it was like going out to a whole other world and I always loved that it was a cool place to visit and get away for a while.”
- Jones Beach — “That was the go-to beach experience when we were kids…that was our summer, getting in the car and going to Jones Beach as much as possible.”
- Cosmic Comics in Oceanside — “I went there pretty much from when I was 12 from when I moved off of Long Island in my 20s. That’s always a place I try to stop in at when I’m back on Long Island.”
- Rockville Centre — “I love that whole downtown area by the train station. For a while, Stingers Pub on Sunrise Highway across from the train station was my go-to bar. It’s like my hometown place.”
Find out what Taking Back Sunday is up to in The Evolution Of Taking Back Sunday.