Ray Harkins' mother was cornered. Fans of her son's band, Taken, tearfully filled her in on just how much her son's melodic hardcore band pulled their heartstrings. Anaheim club Chain Reaction was packed with 600 devotees that night in 2004 as band members said farewell, setting off for new projects and art school.
Ironically, Taken's last EP Between Two Unseens, which would come out two months later, was the band's biggest yet, capping off a spree that had taken them on U.S. and Canadian tours with This Day Forward, The Rise, and Curl Up and Die.
Expect some misty eyes for another reason though on Saturday, February 23, when Taken reunites at the Glass House in Pomona for a fundraiser. Poppy Monroe DaSilva, who was born February 7, is the daughter of longtime Chain Reaction soundman Christian DaSilva, who was killed in a motorcycle accident July 2012.
The Taken reunion, which is not their first and might not be their last, will be missing two members. Bassist Nick Beard is on tour with Circa Survive, and guitarist Erik Bensberg is expecting his first child around the same time of the show. That leaves lead singer Ray Harkins, who went on to form Mikoto, guitarist Chad Tafolla and drummer Troy Born.
The OC Weekly caught up with Harkins to dish on the reunion, fan devotion and the Land of the Rising Sun. For the hopelessly devoted, there will be limited edition screen-printed show posters done on site by To Die For Clothing.
OC Weekly: Tell us about the fans.
Harkins: People were either really into us, or they could care less. I like the polarity. We didn't have fencesitters.
In this day and age, bands don't really need to break up. If you like the people you enjoy making music with you can play shows when you want and not tour constantly. There was pressure in the '90s to tour continually, and if not you had to break up. That is sort of what led to that decision.
The actual Chain Reaction show was incredible. Anyone who was there was moved emotionally, physically, spiritually…whatever adjective you want to use. I am extremely glad I was part of it.
Does it leave a sense of unfinished business, or was it great to end on a high note?
It was bittersweet. I did not want the band to end. We had a lot to look forward to, like the new music we were planning, more exciting tours, stuff we didn't get to sink our teeth into.
Unfinished business? Yeah that's a reality. But it was awesome to be able to put that stamp on the end of it. Some bands overstay their welcome, and it's super sad to see a band beating the proverbial dead horse. I'm glad we didn't do that.
But now where we are all at in our personal lives, from that perspective anything we do is just icing on the cake. It's cool we were able to stay relevant–and I use that term loosely–to some people who are still passionate about it. No one should remember us. Period. I am under no delusions of grandeur that we were a big band.
You were even able to tour Japan four years after the band broke up?
It was stupid [laughs]. The entire duration of the band, the label we were on [Goodfellow Records] told us that we sold a decent amount of records in Japan. It's a common Joke. We are huge in Japan! Which basically means you're irrelevant in the U.S.
But we were able to actually experience it. While I was in my other band I was able to go over there, and I saw the feedback. People were like, "Yeah I'm a fan of the band you're in now, but let's talk about Taken." That blew my mind.
So we went over and played sold out rooms in front of 800 people. They don't even know our language. It didn't make any sense. It goes to show, people who got into us really got attached. That is all I can ask for.
Any future plans for the band?
People contact me and ask if we are going to do any more shows. We are talking about doing some things again, but we won't tour. We won't say no to Canada or Japan though, where we were popular. We are never going to say no to that.
We are down to drop real life for a certain extended amount of time. We like to play in front of people who give a shit, not in front of 20 people who don't care. We already did that a lot back in the day.