New Found GloryNew Found Glory is back with
plenty o' punches
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 slightly crazy."
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."
New FOund Glory"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 Found Glory."
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 didn't care."
"Not Without a Fight" was released March 10, so we just have to talk about it.
"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.
New Found Glory"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 band."
"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 they're jerks."
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 day."
"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 Edge."
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."
Where is New Found Glory? Find out and check out their new tunes at

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