New Found Glory
In the early days, when success was still a pipe dream, guitarist Chad Gilbert had to drop out of high school to focus on the band. Drummer Cyrus Bolooki, turned down a scholarship and a chance to follow in the footsteps of his father, who performed the first heart transplant in Florida. All the New Found Glory band members had to make sacrifices along the way to make their dream a reality.
All this comes to mind on a recent sunny summer afternoon in San Diego when singer Jordan Pundik confidently calls their fifth album “the one that will stand the test of time.” And then again a few days later when Gilbert declares, “We’ve never been happier with any other record.”
This is a group of guys who have surpassed even their wildest dreams, and finally they are smiling.
Their new album, “Coming Home,” is like no other New Found Glory record before it.
“Usually with every record we think, ‘Weâ€™ve got to put the fast punk song or people won’t like it,’ but this wasn’t anything like that,” Pundik says. “The whole record has a theme to it…” (The theme, as the title subtly suggests—subtle, at lease, compared to their debut EP, “It’s All About the Girls”—is more or less relationships, hence titles like “Taken Back By You” and “Connected.”)
“Coming Home” was even written differently. Rather than the usual tour bus and dressing room pow-wows, the band moved into a house together in Malibu called Morning View (where Incubus famously recorded their album of that name), where they sat around the living room and wrote the best songs of their lives. With Paul Miner of Death By Stereo and Warren Fitzgerald of the Vandals and Gwen Stefani’s band overseeing the demos, it was like music camp, with a mission.
Gilbert, who normally writes just the band’s music, also worked with Klein and Pundik for the first time on lyrics, taking inspiration from early Beatles albums, before music became so laced in metaphors.
“We asked each other, ‘Who is New Found Glory, realistically?’” Gilbert recalls. “Well, New Found Glory is a band that people enjoy listening to not because we give off this harsh serious message. Weâ€™re gonna sing about who we are and what effects us in life and those are our relationships. Whether that sounds selfish or whatever, punk rock is doing what you wanna do and not what you feel like you have to do. So it was almost easy to write because everything is real. It wasn’t sitting around trying to put a twist on everything. It’s an honest record that everyone kind of needs now.”
In other words, it only takes one listen to figure out the album opener “Oxygen” is about not being able to breathe without that special person. And the first single, “It’s Not Your Fault,” capturing the essence of young love and heartbreak with lyrics like, â€œThere were rapid statements about life commitments, A Sense Of Heat, That I Couldn’t Bare To Touchâ€¦â€
“If the delivery is honest and real, that’s what keeps it from being the corniest thing you’ve ever heard before,” Gilbert says. “Like on ‘Hold My Hand,’ itâ€™s just going up to a girl and saying, ‘Letâ€™s get the heck out of here.’ Itâ€™s exactly how it would go.”
Even the album’s most poignant moment, and the one song not all about the girls, has a simple message. On the guitar-driven epic “When I Die,” Gilbert addresses the 2004 death of his father. â€œThere are always songs about death that are really sad, and this is an uplifting song that gives me strength.”
When it came time to record, the band met with all the usual suspects, but decided on producer Thom Panunzio, an A&R veteran at Geffen who has recorded some of the biggest names in music history. “Because he’s worked with Tom Petty and Bob Dylan, he brought this classic vibe to it, especially with the tones he got,” Pundik says. “We learned we don’t have to double-up 15 Mesa cabinets and make it all distorted to make it sound big.”
Although New Found Glory wrote the songs on guitar, Panunzio brought in Benmont Tench of the Heartbreakers to record all the melodies on piano as an experiment. And when it “sounded awesome,” as Pundik puts it, they kept it on many of the tracks, including “It’s Not Your Fault” and “Hold My Hand.”
After their writing sessions in Malibu, the band also had a new found (no pun intended) confidence in the studio, particularly when Gilbert picked up an acoustic guitar and strummed out “Too Good To Be” in a matter of minutes. “The funny thing is, that’s the song you’d think we wrote sitting on a beach around a fire,” Pundik jokes.
Regardless, it’s one of many proud moments that came to be “Coming Home.”
You can catch New Found Glory on the road this fall performing their many in-concert- fan-favorites, along with their biggest hits, as well as new songs from their forthcoming Suretone/Geffen Records album, â€œComing Homeâ€ in stores September 19th.
Dave Romano â€“ email@example.com