New Found Glory is back with
By Naughty Mickie
Vocalist Jordan Pundik and guitarist Steve Klein formed A New Found
Glory in 1997 in Coral Springs, Florida with guitarist Chad Gilbert,
bassist Ian Grushka, keyboardist Ricky Beck and drummer Joe Moreno.
Their first release was the 1997 EP, "It's All About the Girls"
(Fiddler Records), after which Beck left and Moreno was replaced by
Cyrus Bolooki. They were picked up by Eulogy Records and released
full-length debut, "Nothing Gold Can Stay." Soon after, the band
changed their name, dropping the A, to avoid confusion in record
stores. They signed with Drive-Thru Records and saw six releases
between September 2000 through March 2008, followed by the EP, "Tip of
the Iceberg" (Bridge 9 Records), in April 2008. Now based in Los
Angeles, New Found Glory has signed with Epitaph and just released
"Not Without a Fight." They are currently on the road in support of
the album and loving it.
"How I joined New Found Glory is pretty funny because I actually
didn't like Steve and Jordan," Gilbert begins. "We all grew up in the
punk rock and hard-core scene. I just felt like Steve and Jordan were
the new kids even though they were older than me. I grew up in the
scene from when I was 13 and they got into it after me, so when they
showed up with their cool pins and their band t-shirts and headbands,
me and all my friends were like, 'These guys are dorks, they're all
new school.' We'd always make fun of them when we'd see them at shows.
"I used to sing in a hard-core band (Shai Hulud) and they would come
to my concerts and sing along in the front, so I knew them as fans of
my old band."
Gilbert continues, "Then we eventually got a mutual friend and, though
I sang for a hard-core band, I used to play punk songs in my living
room with my younger step-brother because my younger step-brother
played drums. I would always set up an amplifier and play Green Day
covers and little punk songs. One day, Steve came over my house with a
mutual friend and heard me playing with him and was like, 'Hey, I'm
playing in a punk band, I know you sing in your hard-core band, but if
you want to join our band on the side for fun, that would be really
cool.' So I went to a couple practices and that's it."
I ask Gilbert how he feels about switching from lead vocals to guitar.
"I love it," Gilbert responds. "I don't mind, I was screaming anyway
so it would completely rip apart my voice. In my old band, I was so
young that the guitar player, Matt, he's a lot older than me, he wrote
everything, so I was 14, 15 singing these super mature lyrics, but I
didn't write anything. But when I joined New Found Glory, I
immediately became the songwriter."
Klein writes most of the lyrics for New Found Glory, while Gilbert
comes up with the bulk of the music.
"We all write together, but I write a lot of the music." Gilbert
explains, "It's kind of like an assembly line. I'll write the initial
song on guitar, bring it to practice and we'll demo it and then we'll
give it to Steve Klein, our other guitar player, and Steve will write
a rough draft of lyrics and come up some melody ideas. Then he'll
bring it to us and he and Jordan will get together and perfect it and
then I'll give my opinion on it and that's it, it's done."
I prod Gilbert to learn more about his approach to writing.
"The funny thing is a lot of the riffs that I write, I'll write in my
head while I'm walking around, which could be kind of weird, maybe I'm
Gilbert clarifies, "For instance, 'My Friends Over You,' which is our
most popular songs, for fans live, it's our craziest song, we were
pretty much done getting ready to record our album-- you figure out
your songs and then 'we're done' and you can record it. It was the
night before the last day and we all went out to the movies, it was
that movie 'Orange County' with Jack Black and Colin Hanks, and we
were in line to buy popcorn and all of a sudden this riff came in my
head noo-noo-noo (sings) and Cyrus was next to me, so I said, 'Cyrus
sing this nuhna-na na-na-na (sings)' and he starts singing that and I
do du-na-noo-noo (sings). I wrote it right there, standing there
buying popcorn, in my head and then the next day we went to the studio
and recorded it and it became a song."
"That's funny, that's how 'All Downhill (From Here)' came about too."
Gilbert goes on, "I remember driving to practice and in my head I
started going doot-doot-doot (sings) and I picked up a guitar. So a
lot of times our riffs come to me in my head and then out of my
guitar, so it's really random. A lot of times it sucks because if I
don't have a guitar with me I'll lose it, I won't remember it. If it
comes to me when a guitar is near, that's when it's good."
I ask Gilbert to share more about his past.
"The first instrument ever was drums," Gilbert responds. "I was old
enough to take lessons, but too young to really take it seriously and
learn and get into it. I'd say I was eight because when I was about 12
I started playing bass guitar. I took lessons on bass for about a year
and a half and the bass teacher said that I didn't need lessons any
more, so I stopped taking lessons and was just a bass player in
little, fun garage bands. Then I got bored with bass, I felt limited
and all my friends played guitar, so I would just pick up their
guitars and I taught myself how to play guitar."
"I think I joined New Found Glory in the ninth grade and I worked in a
movie theater at first and I loved the movie theater. I say it all the
time, if I had enough time off from tour and they would let me, I
would work at a movie theater still. I did everything-- I popped
popcorn, I ripped tickets, I cleaned the theater, I sold tickets, I
did everything, it was awesome, it was fun." Gilbert continues, "Later
Steve and Jordan from New Found Glory and a couple of other friends
and someone who eventually became my guitar tech, now he manages
bands, we all worked at MDNA, the credit card company. Eventually all
of us punk rock kids worked at a credit card company and wore suits.
It was funny. And we all quit at the same time to go on tour with New
Gilbert's parents supported his choice to leave school to tour.
"I was a junior in high school, I was in my eleventh year and I never
went back because we got a record deal from Drive-Thru/MCA and I had a
bunch of touring. We used to only tour in summer and winter and when
school was off like during spring break. We got a bunch of tours that
would go through the year and we couldn't pass them up because they
were tours with Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish and all these bands, so
I couldn't go back to school, I had to do it." Gilbert says, "My mom
went into the school and went up to the counselor and was like, 'What
should I do? He got this record deal, should I let him do it or should
I make him wait?' The counselor said that this was something I've been
working for and if she doesn't let me then I'll probably resent her
one day. So my mom let me."
Before returning to the music, I ask Gilbert about his hobbies.
"I'm a nerd, I collect toys, the reissue of GI Joe, I've bought old
school toys, I buy Japanese collector weird toys, a lot of movie
figures from movies that I like," shares Gilbert. "I really like this
place in L.A. called Runyon Canyon and I go hiking every morning and
it's really fun. I like that and seeing movies. I pretty simple--
collecting toys, hiking at Runyon Canyon and going to the movies,
that's what I do."
"I like go movies by myself too because being in a band, I can see
movies during the day and some friends might work or some friends
might be on tour and a lot of people don't like the same movies as me.
So if I really want to see a movie I'll go, I don't care." Gilbert
goes on, "I really wanted to see that movie 'Bride Wars' even though
it looked cheesy and no one else I knew wanted to see it and everyone
was busy, so I just went to the movies. But it was really awkward
because it was just me and two girls who were obviously like, 'Let's
go see a chick flick.' I probably looked like such a loser, but I
"Not Without a Fight" was released March 10, so we just have to talk
"What I like about our record is it's really honest and it's really
straight-to-the-point and I feel like a lot of people need that right
now. I feel like a lot of bands in our genre lately have been kinda
flashy with the lyrics and the sounds and it's all dancey. That's the
popular thing of late, these dancey, pop/punkish and I feel like New
Found Glory is, people need our record. It's really straight-forward
and to the point and anyone can relate to the lyrics, but they're also
brutally honest," says Gilbert. "We went through some crazy things
recently and I feel if anyone is struggling with self-confidence, this
is the record for them. You can listen to this record and think,
'Yeah, I'm a badass.' And music-wise it's just really energetic. You
can pop it in the car with your friends and have a good time."
I ask Gilbert if he has a favorite song on the album.
"I like different songs for different reasons," answers Gilbert. "I
love the single, 'Listen to Your Friends,' I'm really proud of it
musically and the verse. I feel when you listen to that song it just
feels good, the music and the way the vocals are. I love the song, 'Truckstop
Blues,' because I like how it's super nostalgic sounding. It's really
fast and really in your face, but there's also a song on the record
called 'Tangled Up.' I feel like 'Tangled Up' is a step up for us
musically and is in a more modern rock direction that we haven't gone
yet and it's cool."
So what about the tour?
"I think that the way we're going to have the set there's going to be
twists and turns," Gilbert tells me. "I think we're going to play
songs and people aren't them which will come off fun. We will play
'Hit or Miss' and we will play 'My Friends Over You' and the classic
songs that people have seen, but it will feel fresh. As far as live, I
feel like with this record more than a few of our albums, kids want to
see these songs live. A lot of people with new albums are like, 'I
want to hear that, but I really hope they play the old stuff.' And
kids I know want to hear the old stuff. A lot of the comments on
MySpace about the new stuff are like 'I can't wait to hear this song
live,' '"Truckstop Blues",' 'Play this, play this' and it's a lot of
new songs. I feel really confident in our new album where they're even
going to come off better live, so I feel like we're definitely going
to play a bunch of new songs."
I wonder if Gilbert knows the secret to New Found Glory's success.
"I hope one reason is people like our songs and I don't feel like New
Found Glory forces ourselves on anybody," shares Gilbert. "We do what
we do and there's no tricks, we don't try to sell something by having
some kind of flashy or crazy look. Just everything we do, we are very
genuine as people, I don't mean that in a conceited way, I mean that
in an honest way and I'm not talking just about myself, but the rest
of the band. Everyone in my band is genuine and I feel that comes
across in the music and that comes across in the album packaging and
it comes across in interviews on TV and things like that and I think
that lasts. People want to like a band of people that they like. You
want to like a band's music and you also want to personally like the
"Even me, as a fan, there are bands that I won't listen to any more, I
won't name them, but because I've met them and they're clowns and
Gilbert goes on, "For me, music is personal and when I like a band, I
don't want to just like their songs, I want to love them. We love what
we do and the kids see that. We played in Seattle at a small venue and
then we played in Seattle on the Honda Civic Tour and played in front
of 12-15 thousand people at a huge area. Then we went back to Seattle
in 2005 and played in a little club, we sold out one night, but the
second night only sold a couple hundred tickets, it wasn't full. You
know what we did? Most bands would have gotten pissed and very upset.
We went out, we didn't write a set list, the few hundred kids that
were there, we said pick what songs you want to hear and we ended up
playing for two and a half hours and played 33 songs."
"I feel like fans see that and fans like that. Fans didn't go away
saying, 'Oh for whatever reason it was a weird night,' they said, 'I
saw New Found Glory, they played an all-request show and they played
30-something songs, that was amazing. I heard them play all my
favorite songs that I never heard them play before.' Most bands don't
do that stuff because I feel they're in it for the wrong reasons and I
really feel fans can see why we do what we do." continues
Gilbert. "And now we're playing Seattle and we're playing the Showbox
and the pre-sales are amazing and there's going to be over 1,000 kids
there and it should sell out. It should be awesome, but even if
there's 100 kids there, it still going to be awesome because we love
playing our songs."
Gilbert is noted for practicing the Straight Edge lifestyle. I ask him
to tell me about it.
"Straight Edge is no drugs, no alcohol. It's basically anti-stupidity
and I think that's a big thing that's gets misconstrued because
there's a lot of Straight Edge kids that are stupid. I would rather be
an alcoholic than do some of the things that Straight Edge kids do,"
says Gilbert. "But why I'm Straight Edge, aside from the obvious
things of I don't see the point in drinking, I don't see the point in
smoking, besides that, that's obvious, that's what you hear every
"When I was growing up I listened to hard-core music and I listened to
punk music and I didn't know what Straight Edge was, but I liked
hard-core music and I looked weird and I had crazy hair and I dressed
like a freak and I looked crazy. And I was crazy, I loved crazy music,
I loved loud music and yelling and things that weren't on MTV. But the
difference with me was, even at that age, I didn't like alcohol
because I saw what it did to people. I saw what it did to families, my
friends' families, I saw what it did to my family growing up. My dad
drank and I had a lot of relatives who drank and it destroyed a lot of
people in my family."
"The reason why I wanted to be Straight Edge was I was this little
freak crazy kid, but I hated drugs. But I'd go to the mall and people
would think I was a druggie and I'd go to school and people would be
like, 'This kid's a druggie, he's a weirdo.' I'd be like, 'Fuck you,
I'm not a druggie. I look like this because I want to look like this,
I like this music because I like this music. Just because I'm a punk
doesn't mean I'm a druggie.' And that's why Straight Edge started and
that's how naturally I became Straight Edge because I had those
feelings where I was getting ridiculed and made fun of and I was a
smart kid, I knew what was right from wrong, I wasn't a punk and
wouldn't go places and be an asshole or a dick and I wouldn't go
places and be destructive. I respect everybody, but I looked how I
looked and everyone thought I was a druggie."
Gilbert continues, "Then I discovered Minor Threat and that's what
Minor Threat sang about, which is the word Straight Edge: I'm a person
just like you, but I've got better things to do than sit around and
fuck my head, hang out with the living dead, snort white shit up my
nose, passing out at all the shows. I would go to the concerts and I
would feel like an outcast in my own world and that's what Straight
Edge is and that's why I feel comfortable calling myself Straight
After New Found Glory completes their U.S. tour, they will be going to
Europe and England. They are hoping to be back through America in
fall, as well as hitting Australia, Japan, Europe, Southeast Asia and
the Pacific Rim.
"We're going to be nonstop. We really believe in this album and plan
on touring it for a long time," Gilbert states.
Gilbert shares one final thought, "Thanks for anybody who still
listens to New Found Glory after all these years and to any new fans.
Buy our record or get our record. You don't necessarily have to buy
it, that would be ideal, but as long as you have it."