INTERVIEW: New Found Glory

"If you’re a kid and feel like you don’t belong anywhere, you can listen to our record or go to a show, and be a part of something.”

INTERVIEW: New Found Glory

By Tom Walsh

Aug 7, 2020 18:00

For a certain generation of pop punk fans, crossing paths with New Found Glory is almost inevitable. Whether it be screaming ‘My Friend’s Over You’ at the top of your lungs at a provincial town rock club, catching a glimpse of Jordan Pundik bouncing around a festival stage, or finding yourself rediscovering that copy of ‘Sticks and Stones’ you’d forgotten you owned... the Florida quartet have been a constant in an ever-changing scene for over 20 years.

Now onto album number ten (‘Forever + Ever x Infinity’, released in June 2020), they could be regarded as elder statesmen of the genre. It’s a stage that, as guitarist and founding member Chad Gilbert tells us, is something they had never really envisaged in their early days.

“Well, what do they tell you when you’re in a band?”, he explains. “Fans love the first [album], the second one is okay and then the third one… I usually feel that bands have three, I think that’s traditionally the thing. We’ve lucked out.”

The band’s longevity, Gilbert explains, has been down to their devoted fanbase. It’s why it only felt natural that NFG’s tenth album would be an ode to the people that have been there from the very beginning. A throwback record that delivered all the riff-laden, fast-paced punk songs that made them such a lightning rod for floating pop punks fans during their inception.

Taking their cues from contemporaries such as Saves the Day, Lifetime and Kid Dynamite, Gilbert considers NFG to be a blend of those sounds, bringing the pop melodies of latter day emo together with the heavier end of the scale on tracks he believes could be more suited to the likes of Hatebreed.

With every new release comes the opportunity to welcome a new generation of fans not only to their sound, but to the genre in its entirety. “I always felt like we were the gateway band,” Gilbert tells me. “I’ll meet so many fans that say, ‘I listened to New Found Glory and it got me into this other band’, or that they’re ‘into metal but I also liked you guys and then I discovered all these other bands’, I think it’s a perfect introduction to pop punk”.

It’s a topic Gilbert talks about with an immense sense of pride – that his band opens the eardrums of NFG fans to the wealth of bands within the genre. In what he calls “one of our little side agendas”, they are conscious of providing a platform to other bands within their scene.

During the pop punk renaissance of the early-2000s, where everyone from MTV to Jay Leno would be catering to audiences clamouring for four chords and double-time drum beats, NFG were in high demand. Becoming almost regulars on the late-night US talk show circuit, they would frequently wear t-shirts of their favourite bands to give others a slice of the exposure they were receiving.

“That’s where we started,” Gilbert explains. “We were from a small scene and we always said  that if we get there, we want to bring people with us. That’s still important to us. People need music and people need to feel a part of something, that’s what’s great about our style of music.”

As the baseline for many people’s interest in pop punk, a typical NFG show is filled with faces that have been brought together through this band. “We hear stories all the time,” Gilbert adds. “People meeting all their friends at a New Found Glory show, or their husband, or their roommates. That’s the glory of it. If you’re a kid and feel like you don’t belong anywhere, you can listen to our record or go to a show, and be a part of something.”

The sense of community has never been heightened more than in 2020. Through the lockdowns imposed by Covid-19 and the solidarity shown in support of Black Lives Matter following the death of George Floyd, there is an added importance in looking out for one another – and music can provide solace.

“I think we’re in the middle of struggle, it’s confusing and it can be hard to see the good of it,” Gilbert explains. “When you come out of it, you can see the person you’ve become, the hardship you’ve been through, you can look at that and be thankful. We’ve always wanted our music to help people find redemption.”

“I believe in people being redeemed. With everything going on in the world, I think we will come out smarter, stronger, better, with more love and more hope and continue to learn from mistakes.”

NFG have played their part, connecting fans via an album launch livestream – donating the proceeds to charity Color of Change – regular Q&As and even the obligatory Zoom quiz, all with the goal of keeping the pop punk community together. And, as the elder statesmen of the scene now, they consider it their rightful role.


‘Forever + Ever x Infinity’ is out now on Hopeless Records.

Find out more about the work and donate to Color of Change here.