This spring, Florida pop-punk icons, New Found Glory, are set to embark on exciting tour to commemorate a rewarding musical career spanning two decades. What makes this tour special in particular is the fact that the band plans to break out a lengthy and nostalgically-driven set, consisting of their first six studio releases. While many fans will experience the joy of hearing favorable efforts like Catalyst, Stick & Stones and New Found Glory in their respected entirety, the band catered each setlist specifically for the major cities and states that had an influential impact throughout their career.
As the band continues to go above and beyond for their beloved fanbase, New Found Glory are also gearing up to release their ninth studio album, Makes Me Sick. Unveiling a zany music video to accompany the record’s leading single, “Happy Being Miserable,” fans tuned in and praised them for delivering an upbeat and lighthearted persona back to the pop-punk scene. While New Found Glory salutes their 20-year-long milestone with a highly anticipated run of North American shows, the band also expressed that they want to ease into Makes Me Sick’s release by letting their fans know that they’re just as excited about the new album as they are playing the classics.
Right before their forthcoming shows, I had the opportunity to chat with New Found Glory guitarist Chad Gilbert to discuss their 20-Year Anniversary Tour, the band’s forthcoming studio album, Makes Me Sick, and their fondest memories of playing New Jersey over the years.
A few weeks from now, you’ll be starting your upcoming North American tour to commemorate your 20th anniversary as a band. What are you personally looking forward to the most about this tour?
I think for me, it’s almost going to be a real test for our fans. Because we had the kind of die-hard fans where when we go on tour, there are always songs that they say the want to hear live that we don’t play. So, this is their chance to hear every single song from the first six albums.
We have a lot of fans that will say, “Coming Home is my favorite album,” and we don’t always play a lot of songs from Coming Home, so I am curious to see if they’re all talk or if Coming Home is actually their favorite record (laughs). It’s going to be cool playing some of the obscure stuff.
Of course! What makes this tour special is the fact that you’ll be breaking out a lengthy set, where each night, you’ll be playing two complete records in their respected entirety. Do you feel that the variety of your sets will provide a unique experience for your fans throughout?
The cool thing about it is that not one night is really the same. Obviously, I don’t want to say that we’re changing the sets, but you could have gotten tickets to the first show, and not the third show, but there’s something pretty much special just about every show.
It’s cool because every night there’s some different variation. I mean, we’re playing Sticks & Stones and Catalyst more than others, but a lot of times, it’s always paired with a different record. I already started writing the setlists and things like that. I think it’s like nine different setlists (laughs) so I feel like it’s going to be the first “real” New Found Glory practice (laughs).
Usually, when we go on tour, we kind of mess around and we know the songs. But since we’re playing so many obscure songs this time, we’re basically going to have to focus and practice for this tour.
Either way, I am sure it’s going to be such a fun time. It’s pretty surreal to see how huge of a reception this tour has received from the very beginning.
We knew it would be fun, and we knew our fans would appreciate it. I think the reaction and how fast the shows sold out really caught us by surprise. You know, the demand was there, so we’re like, “All right, if you want to see it, we will do it.”
I think that’s the reason why we’ve been a band for so long—we love playing. We love touring, we love playing on stage together, and we love this band. If our fans want it, we’re more than happy to play the record or play an extra show or whatever it is.
I remember speaking with (frontman) Jordan Pundik around the time when you released Resurrection and we talked about how important New Jersey was for the band starting out. In addition to selling out a lot shows on your upcoming 20-Year Anniversary Tour, did you anticipate for both Asbury Park shows at The Stone Pony to sell out so quickly? Or, what this a complete surprise as well?
Yes, that was a big surprise because we’ve been off tour for a while, and we’ve been writing. So going into this tour… usually when you’re doing a record, it takes like a tour and a half to kind of get everyone aware of the new record—it takes some time. So, we’re like, “Let’s do the 20-Year Tour, and instead of worrying about the biggest places to play, let’s play places that we would know we had fun.”
We were like, “Let’s just do two shows at The Stone Pony. They’ll be really intimate, and we knew those shows were going to be awesome, and that’s more important.” Those shows happened [to sell out] so fast that our agent was like, “Let’s do Starland [Ballroom].”
Our fans were really bummed that the other two shows sold out so fast, so we’re like, “All right, we want to try get everyone in there,” you know? I think that show is sold out too, which is really flattering.
Wow, very cool! You know, I can imagine The Stone Pony shows are going to a blast. I’ve seen many awesome shows there, from The Bouncing Souls to Lifetime, to name a few. I’m sure it’s going to be a really incredible time for the Jersey faithful.
Yeah, that’s why we put Nothing Gold Can Stay there [in New Jersey]. It wasn’t just picking the right venue and the right city—we also wanted to pick the right albums for the city. We put Nothing Gold Can Stay in Jersey because that’s where that record did get its start.
We played a little show with Bigwig and Midtown I’d say in 1998, and that’s where Drive-Thru Records discovered us, or came out. They got our CD from someone that was at that show, and playing New Jersey was where we got noticed and found. So, Nothing Gold Can Stay has such a history in New Jersey before we ever got signed.
Throughout your career, what are some fond memories that come mind from playing New Jersey in the past?
I always remembered the Wayne Firehouse—we played the Firehouse a couple of times. It was just such a cool scene, you know? We played these Elks Lodges and firehouses—wherever they could do a show, we’d play them. A lot of music that went on there went on to do bigger thing. From Midtown and all of its bands that spawned out of that, to Thursday to Saves The Day, and even Dashboard [Confessional] would play some of those shows with us, and The Get Up Kids. I just always think back on those shows because of how enthused people were to have something to do and… everyone was looking to have something to be a part of. It was awesome.
I always think of Rutgers College too, and I think of playing basements in front of 30-40 people to the PNC [Bank Arts Center] Amphitheater in front of 17,000. It’s like… we’re lucky to have come from the bottom to see all different forms of success. Whether it would be our first show at a basement that felt like the greatest thing ever to an amphitheater that felt like the greatest thing ever. It’s all the same to us, as long as we get to play our songs.
A few weeks back you unveiled a music video to accompany the single “Happy Being Miserable” for your forthcoming album, Makes Me Sick. What’s the general reception been like so far since unveiling this single? Musically, how does “Happy Being Miserable” set the stage of what’s in store for this new record?
The response has been amazing, you know? I think it really connected with the people lyrically. The lyrics of the song are very straightforward, and they’re big and bold. A lot of people especially nowadays in really confusing times, I think a lot of people really related to the lyrics.
It’s a good feeling because there’s always going to be fans that will support you no matter what, but it’s within the comment that’s really interesting. We’ve been getting a lot of comments like, “Wow, finally, it feels like punk is fun again,” you know? People have been saying that they haven’t heard a straightforward, fun pop-punk song, or rock song, or whatever they want to call it.
I think that’s really cool because we’ve always felt like that band where our lyrics and our music is serious, but we sort of deliver it in this juxtaposition kind of way where it’s sort of catchy. It’s nice to know that we can still be that place for people to get something off of their chest listen to our songs, but also have a good time.
We want to also say, “Hey, we know life is hard, it can be confusing and we agree, and we take our lives very seriously. However, let’s have a good time while we are all figuring out,” as opposed to, “Let’s do something melancholy and sad.” That’s how we are personally—we’ve all done a lot of personal growth over the last four years. We all struggle with so many different things… and I think we have no problem with talking about in our lyrics especially on this album.
The whole idea of Makes Me Sick is to sing about everything that’s going on in the world, everything that goes on with ourselves, looking at yourself and how you can change, and also know that the album is presented in a way where you’re going to have fun singing about it and talking about it as opposed to being afraid.
On this upcoming tour, do you anticipate to unveil some new material off of Makes Me Sick just yet? Or do you regard these shows specifically as a celebration of your past?
I think it’s a little bit of both. One cool thing about New Found Glory and our history is that it’s got a lot of variation. You have the fans that only love Coming Home, you have the fan who loves Self-Titled and Catalyst, or you have someone that only knows the first two albums, so there’s so many different kinds of New Found Glory fans. But one thing that they’ve always appreciated in us is that we don’t just sell nostalgia. We won’t settle for, “Here’s that thing that you liked that we’re just going to keep doing,” we’ve always brought our fans with us.
In the same way when we released Coming Home, people were like, “Oh, we don’t like this. It’s not a punk album.” But now, it’s their favorite record. Though we are playing these older albums, we are going to be talking about the new record. We’re only going to be playing the new song in particular. The cool thing that we did with this tour is that anyone who bought a ticket to this tour gets a free download of our album. So, we’re going to be letting everyone know, “Hey, you could go home and download our record for free when it comes out.”
So yeah, we’re going to be pushing the new record because we really, really believe in the new record. We’ll only be playing “Happy Being Miserable” on this tour, but no one has the record yet. No one likes going to a show, paying money to see a band and hearing five songs that you never even heard of before.
We will play the albums they love, and also will let them know that this is a tour of six albums and this new album is just as important and better than some of the old ones.
I totally respect that. I fully support bands who always strive to progress as musicians and aren’t afraid to try new things in the studio.
It sounds probably funny—as a fan myself, you don’t know what you want at first. You know, you have that comfortable thing that you want your favorite bands to do, and as they grow, it might scare you at first. I remember when The Get Up Kids released On A Wire after Something To Write Home About, and it was super weird and different. I was like, “What is this? It doesn’t sound like the last record. I don’t like it!” (laughs) And within six months, it was in my top two favorite Get Up Kids albums. So, it’s one of those things where we are comfortable from releasing albums that were different in the past that our fans are going to find something that they can relate to.
But I do think a lot of the comments about “Happy Being Miserable,” is that it’s making people feel… I remember reading one of the comments where somebody said, “Where do I call to get this on TRL?” (laughs) because it made them feel like when we had Catalyst out, and we’re on TRL. I think it’s about finding the balance where you appreciate your old songs, and you have no problem playing them because you wrote them, but you also don’t exist on them. You constantly don’t settle, and you constantly want to move forward and try to be creative because it’s a challenge to you, and it’s a challenge to your fans. I think fans like that.
Makes Me Sick will be officially out in April, and your 20-Year Anniversary Tour will run through May. With a productive first half of 2017, what does the rest of the year have in store for New Found Glory?
We got a busy year. A lot of stuff is being announced, like the UK tour, we’ve announced an Australian tour and we got a lot of touring. There’s more stuff in the States that we just can’t announce yet and we will slowly be rolling out all of the fun kind of stuff soon.
This month, New Found Glory will make their return to the Tri-State Area to celebrate their 20th anniversary as a band. They will be appearing at Union Transfer in Philadelphia on March 23 and March 24, The Stone Pony in Asbury Park on March 25 and March 26, the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville on March 28, and Irving Plaza on April 1 and April 2. New Found Glory’s ninth studio album, Makes Me Sick, will be available on April 28 through Hopeless Records. For more information, go to newfoundglory.com.