While many of us are still struggling to wrap our heads around where the last two decades have gone, fixated on this concept of “adulting” and mourning the loss of our youth, New Found Glory has been there all along, tapping into that nostalgia we so badly crave and reminding us not to take life too seriously.
From 1999’s Nothing Gold Can Stay to 2014’s Resurrection, New Found Glory has remained consistent not only in their familiar sound from album to album, but also in releasing new music every couple of years without embarking on any extended hiatuses — an impressive feat for any band that’s been in the industry as long as they have. However, don’t expect the pop punk kings to ever become complacent with the immeasurable success they’ve encountered throughout the years. In fact, singer Jordan Pundik, lead guitarist Chad Gilbert, bassist Ian Grushka and drummer Cyrus Bolooki have been hard at work composing their ninth studio album, Makes Me Sick, debuting on April 28.
“For this record, we wanted happy sounds that sort of felt timeless, and maybe instead of always doing a guitar melody, we tried a new keyboard sound or something like that,” Gilbert says. “I’ve heard people describe some of the sounds as reminiscent of The Breakfast Club, and I thought that was kind of cool because it gives you that vibe — it’s fun and makes you feel good to be alive. Lyrically, I really love the songs because I think every one has its own message and varies on social situations and a lot of self-reflection. We talk about things that are normally brushed over in our scene, so the lyrics are a bit deeper on this record.”
For the diehard fans lucky enough to snag tickets to one (or both) of the sold out stops on the band’s 20th anniversary tour at the Observatory this weekend, they can expect the full sentimental treatment, as the band is set to perform Sticks and Stones and Catalyst on Friday night before gearing up to jam out to Self-Titled and Not Without A Fight on Saturday. And though the venue is a tad smaller than the stages they’re accustomed to playing at large concerts and festivals like Warped Tour or Riot Fest, the intimacy of the experience is evocative and welcomed.
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“We love all types of shows. New Found Glory used to play and headline arenas in the TRL days, but playing Chain Reaction or a small club has its own way of being fun,” Gilbert says. “On this tour, we really were specific about choosing where we played. It was more about figuring out which venue would make the fans go ‘Holy crap, New Found Glory is playing there? I’ve got to go!’ If we were to play all of these albums in some huge venue it wouldn’t have the same feeling.”
Two decades and several albums later, the relationship between Pundik, Gilbert, Grushka and Bolooki hasn’t fizzled out in the least, but (much like their music) has only gotten better with age. Watching each other grow from teenagers into men continues to give the foursome a renewed sense of camaraderie and appreciation for this chaotic and thrilling life they’ve worked so hard for. Despite getting older and valuing their personal time more now than ever before, New Found Glory is showing no signs of slowing down. Until that feeling of surrealness ceases to exist when they take the stage and no longer look out into the audience in admiration, fans and musicians alike can look to New Found Glory for reflection and inspiration.
“Looking back, I think the most significant thing is seeing how many people we’ve inspired to follow their passions,” Gilbert says. “One of our goals was to show people that you can be from the middle of nowhere, like Coral Springs, and if you believe in what you do, you can accomplish a lot whether someone’s helping you or not. We got to see that mentality inspire lots of bands like All Time Low, The Story So Far, and even Fall Out Boy. Pete Wentz once told me that he loved New Found Glory and about how we inspired them back in the day. To be able to contribute and help move things along in the world, I think that’s really cool.”