INTERVIEW: New Found Glory

Nothing Gold Can Stay, Sticks And Stones and Coming Home – three albums that influenced three different music scenes within a genre and added to the childhood of listeners everywhere. The best part? It’s because of one band. For fourteen years, NEW FOUND GLORY have been a prominent name in pop punk with those most loyal to them watching the group evolve from their younger years to the present. With their seventh studio record ready to be unwrapped this Fall, guitarist Steve Klein opened up about the band’s latest material, working with emerging talent like Man Overboard and why drawing from the past is still vital to the five of them.

It’s a big deal to be coined “the founding fathers” of a genre such as pop punk; what does this title mean to you?

None of us in the band really think that were forefathers of anything. We use our favourite types of music that we listen to together and write songs that we like. It’s funny people have said that about us, but we don’t really see it that way because we don’t have egos. We laugh about it, and say “Oh they think that? That’s cool”. We just do our thing and if people say we are founding fathers then it’s cool, but we don’t really go around saying that or anything.
You’ve had the same lineup since 1997; it is more difficult than people think to maintain friendships within the band after that long?

I think it’s easier now than it was before just because we started New Found Glory when we were all in high school. We all grew up on tour and started our lives this way. This is our seventh record coming out so we all know each other really well, and we know when to pitch each other off and when someone is in a bad mood. It like we’re all brothers; we fight like brothers and we’re honest. This was our dream while growing up in a small town. Since we’re still a relevant band that puts out records after all this time, we put all the crap aside and try to have fun and try to put on the best show we can every night.
Can major changes be refreshing or discouraging? You see bands making changes but you guys have remained pretty consistent.

I think changing members is bad for bands; people like to see a group that is together. It would be weird for me if my favourite band was like a revolving door because they wouldn’t seem like a band to me. Every record would be done by different people and when you see them live there would be different people performing. You wouldn’t even know if they were writing them together.
What about the relationships you’ve developed with other people within the industry? How do those contribute to your cohesion?

I think it lets us do our own thing, especially when we have time off. New Found Glory is our full-time thing, we’re touring and stuff so it’s our main priority. Aside from that, Chad and myself actually produce. I just produced this record for a band called Man Overboard which comes out this week and I’m pretty excited about because it’s the first record I’ve ever produced. People in our band do other things besides New Found Glory just to feel like we have a real life aside from the group and to realize what we’ve sacrificed to be in the band.

We were listening to the old Green Day records like Kerplunk and Dookie and even Ramones records and really went back to realize what got us into music and what made our music so special. By doing that,
it gave us that feeling again…”

Influence and inspiration is very important to every musician. In what ways have yours changed from the conception of New Found Glory to the present?

It hasn’t really changed that much to be honest. My inspiration is drawn from the music I listen to everyday and the people I surround myself with. New Found Glory writes about real things that have happened to me or to anybody else in the band, so they’re real stories. Every record that we have is kind of like a diary of a time period and the things we all go through. Since we’ve grown up we haven’t really changed as people. We’re fans of music and were fans of being a part of the growing music scene. I think a lot of bands as they grow older they get bitter and jaded and they say they don’t like new bands but we try to keep relevant and keep up on the new music scene.
I think that open-minded attitude probably helps a lot as well.

It does, for sure!
You described Radiosurgery as an affirmation that you’re going to be a band for a long time. What about this album suggests that?

I think we feel like a new band I guess you could say, even though we’ve been around for a while. With this new record we feel refreshed and we don’t feel like we’re dated at all. We feel like people will listen to this record and be excited about New Found Glory and be like “Oh, I remember what I loved about this band and I’m going to keep supporting them”. When they come to the live show they will see that we haven’t missed a step at all. We go out there and we give it our all. Kids see that and they want to come back every time.
At the time you were writing this album, were there any feelings you were hoping to convey to listeners through the finished product?

I think there’s a theme on this record. The term “radiosurgery” represents a stage someone goes through in a breakup where all they can think about is that person and the only way to forget about them is to have them surgically removed from their brain. It’s something that we made up; the theme is present throughout and it shows you the stages you go through in a breakup and when you’re going crazy. It’s like the tale behind the record.
Because of the theme, should the record be viewed as 11 separate tracks or does the sequencing present a story to be told?

We’ve always said the first song – “Radiosurgery” – is like the opening to the move Grease because it tells you what’s going to go on for the rest of the record and is sort of like a table of contents. From there it just explores and goes through the whole story. I think we did a good job to the extent the listener will not want to skip any songs because it’s really cohesive. You put it on and can listen to the whole record from start to finish.

You mentioned you enjoy listening to new music yet one of your goals is to reconcile old with new. Why is it important to honor where you came from?

I think right now the bands coming out are being lost in the music. We feel that going back to our roots and mixing the old with the new would bring a fresh sound. We were listening to the old Green Day records like Kerplunk and Dookie and even Ramones records and really went back to realize what got us into music and what made our music so special. By doing that, it gave us that feeling again. We want to give kids that feeling we felt when we got into those old records when we were all growing up.
There’s always something magical about coming home with an actual CD as opposed to just downloading music on the Internet.

Yeah, totally. It sucks it’s like that but kids don’t know any better. When I was younger I couldn’t wait until that Tuesday when I could go buy the record at the store and now everyone just buys music online.
I remember begging my grandparents to drive me to the mall after school so I could buy a new album the day it came out (laughs).

Yeah (laughs) and then you open the booklet and you appreciate the artwork the band spent time working on. Now, you barely get the artwork at all; you just get the album cover to display on your iPod.
Is there something about older music that can rejuvenate new genres/styles or even the state of the music industry itself?

Well if people pay attention and go back to it, then maybe. I think you can learn a lesson if you look back to “the real bands”, like the bands that worked hard and wrote real songs and weren’t contrived. If you did that, you’d realize those are the bands that stay around. If you only start a band because that’s what’s cool at the time then that band is not going to last. We didn’t start a band to make money or get big. Everything we’ve done and all the popularity we’ve gained over the years is just icing on the cake.

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