New Found Glory
Tell vocalist Jordan Pundik that his band New Found Glory are considered the best pop-punk band in history, and he’ll giggle and tell you it makes him feel funny. Because as far as the frontman of the Florida five-piece is concerned, he’s just a regular dude who you wouldn’t even look at twice in a crowd, and yet it’s Pundik’s band that are responsible for six full-length albums of some of the most memorable pop-punk tunes of the last 10 years. Come January, New Found Glory will make that seven
“We start recording [soon]; we’ve decided on taking the whole month of January for it,” announces Pundik. “We’re trying to have the majority of the songs done and ready to go before we start touring again – like, at least the basic melodies and demos. It’s so in the early stages right now, we could totally scrap all of the songs we have so far and swap them with new ones. Chad (Gilbert, guitar) will come up with some riff and put some fake drums to me, then Steve (Klein, guitar) and I will go on video chat and work on the lyrics and melodies together. But like I said, this is the very beginning of it, who knows what it could end up sounding like.”
Either way, Pundik and the band are hoping they’ll get to show off some new material to their Aussie fanbase come next year’s Soundwave Festival – which will see New Found Glory return to our shores for the third time in three years. Fast becoming regulars dow under, Pundik says the band couldn’t say no to another Soundwave offer after having a blast at last year’s festival.
“We did our own tour in Australia last year and then we did Soundwave ’09,” the singer recalls. “The line up looks great for next year, I can’t believe how many bands I’m actually looking forward to seeing! I really want to see Gang Of Four and Gaslight Anthem most of all. The best part is that there are so many bands from the US who we know really well personally. When we have to catch a plane from one place to the next, they’ll usually group the same bunch of bands together on the plane for the whole tour. You can imagine what it’s like – you’ve got like 10 or 11 bands altogether and then plus the crew and everything else.”
And while Pundik realizes the band’s set won’t be particularly long thanks to the tight schedule of the festival, he says that fans are in for a bit of a ‘greatest hits’-style performance.
“We actually released a greatest hits record a couple of years ago,” he adds. “It’s pretty weird to even say that. That’s something that happens to bands that have been together for like 30 years or something. We put one new song on there called Situations, and everything else was singles like Dressed To Kill, My Friend’s Over You and All Downhill From Here. It was pretty much a way for us to sum up the first 10 years of our band. It wasn’t a 10-year anniversary of the band, just a 10-year anniversary of our first album Nothing Gold Can Stay. We just wanted to present something to our bands to be able to say, ‘this is our first 10 years as a band in a nutshell’. Each of the songs on there depicts the style of each album and where we were at the time personally, lyrically, musically.”
Nevertheless, it’s New Found Glory’s 2009 release Not Without A Fight that Pundik claims is his favourite, if only for the fact that the band got to work with long-time friend and producer Mark Hoppus of Blink 182.
“Working with Mark was rad!” enthuses the frontman. “It was laid-back and easy. We found ourselves being off tour, we’d done some work with a major label and we were searching for who to work with again. We were sort of in a limbo state for a while but we wanted to go in to record. We just didn’t have the money to put behind a recording so we called Mark because we’d known him for a long time. The whole recording was just how we wanted it to be – it was comfortable, there was no time-wasting getting to know each other, and he let us call all the shots, which is the way it’s supposed to be. At the same time we didn’t have a record deal then and Mark let us use the studio and worked with us anyway while we were trying to figure that out too.”
According to Pundik, while the band were under significant stress trying to work out whether they would get picked up by a label or not, it was Hoppus who believed in New Found Glory the entire time and continued to reassure Pundik and co. that things would work themselves out. Which they did, indeed, as the singer states, when the band signed to the bastion of punk, the legendary Epitaph label.
“Epitaph is just massive for punk rock and pretty much all of our favourite artists have been on that label. It was Brett [Gurewitz, label owner] who contacted us pretty much as soon as the Geffen contract finished, we had no idea how he could have known about it so quickly. He’s a very realistic guy and he knew that none of this was about money; it seemed to us he was genuinely a fan of the band and wanted to help us out and do what was best for us. We still talked to some other labels but I guess in the back of our minds we always knew that we’d choose Epitaph. It’s so important that they let you have all the freedom and to be as original as possible.”
Which is something that Pundik claims he can’t say for a lot of the up-and-coming bands. While the singer says that major labels can often hinder originality and experimentation for bands, he also adds that most of the time the problem also has a lot to do with the mentality of the band members themselves.
“If you look at bands that have been doing this for a long time you’ll realise that they’re drawing influences from other credible bands. I don’t want to sound like the old bitter guy because I’m not, it’s just that a lot of kids don’t want to step out of the box and they just want everything to be handed to them. It would help if people knew a little bit of history behind their favourite music.”
NEW FOUND GLORY play the massive SOUNDWAVE festival – alongside Iron Maiden, Slayer, Queens Of The Stone Age, Slash, Primus, Rob Zombie, 30 Seconds To Mars and heaps more at the Melbourne Showgrounds on Friday March 4. NEW FOUND GLORY also team up with Less Than Jake for a killer double header at Billboard The Venue on Monday February 28 – tickets from ticketek.com.au and 132 849. Not Without A Fight is out through Epitaph/Shock, and their new album will be out soon.