After a solid 23 years together, the guys in New Found Glory have seen themselves go from high school friends to full-grown parents — all without ever breaking stride as a band. With their 10th album, Forever + Ever x Infinity, due out next month on Hopeless Records, the South Florida pop-punkers are spending their quarantine both reflecting on years past as well as looking forward to the future.
Since breaking into the mainstream with 1999’s Nothing Gold Can Stay and following it up with their self-titled release a year later and 2002’s Sticks and Stones, New Found Glory’s consistency and quality of releases has been something that most bands could only strive to reach. With full albums (each containing infectious singles for radio and pop-punk fans alike) arriving every 2-3 years, the veterans have proven their staying power extends well beyond becoming a 2000s nostalgia act.
SPIN caught up with vocalist Jordan Pundik and guitarist Chad Gilbert to chat about tunes new, old, and everything in-between — as well as an exclusive premiere for “Shook By Your Shaved Head.”
SPIN: With nine records already behind you, how did you make Forever + Ever x Infinity a new experience both for yourself and for fans?
Chad Gilbert: We went and got Steve Evetts, who’s a producer we’ve always wanted to work with because he produced all the records that we would listen to when we would drive in the tour van. He produced Snapcase’s Progression Through Unlearning, Hatebreed’s Satisfaction is the Death of Desire, the first two Saves the Day records, and — one of our biggest influential records — Lifetime’s Jersey’s Best Dancers. He produced a lot of our friends and bands we’d play shows with in backyards, basements, and Elks Lodges, but we got signed to MCA while we were in high school and they put us with Neal Avron — who at the time was new, but now he’s obviously mega-famous from Fall Out Boy to Linkin Park to you name it. I feel like we skipped a level and went straight to a major label producer, and we always wanted to do an album with Steve Evetts. We make all of our own choices when it comes to that stuff now, so we knew we needed to get Steve for this one.
Jordan Pundik: I think Steve helped nail the sound we were trying to go for because he gets the scene we came from and he knows the bands we were influenced by. I think that really helped push us in the direction that we wanted to go, and I think we all love this record a lot. I’m so excited for fans to hear it because I think they’re going to be pumped on it.
Speaking of those early years of your career, what’s it feel like to look back on those first few records?
Pundik: There are two ways I look at it. The first is that it’s super weird because we started when we were so young, and we’re still a band that goes on tour, plays lots of shows, and puts out records. I also look at it as how cool it is in the same way, like ‘How are we still doing this? This is insane.’
Gilbert: You hear about these bands coming out, doing a record or two and having a buzz or a hype, and then that’s it. You don’t really hear about them. Somehow every record, every tour, and everything we’re able to do is still exciting. I just turned 39, and we got signed when I was a junior in high school — that’s how long we’ve been in this band. We were raised on touring. Imagine being 17, 18, or 19 with a record deal and being on MTV. You don’t really know who you are fully at that point, and you can lose yourself a little bit. I think what’s really cool about having 9 or 10 albums is that we’ve never been this free as a band. There’s no pressure to try to accomplish anything or reinvent the world, so we’re able to be exactly who we are because we’ve been appreciated by our fans for so long. When we read a comment from a fan and they’re like ‘This sucks!’ It’s like ‘Well, you’ve got another 9 albums, and there’ll probably be another one in 2 years.’
It’s been almost exactly 20 years since “Hit or Miss” became your first mainstream hit. What was it like to see that and go through it when you were basically fresh out of high school?
Pundik: The first time I thought ‘Holy crap, this is crazy!’ was when we did the video for that song because it was the first major production video we’d done. We did this on-location shoot in Los Angeles and sent out a thing for fans to come and be in the video, and it ended up being hundreds of kids showing up — and we almost had to shut it down because so many people were showing up. They were all fans of the band, and we didn’t even know how that many people knew it was happening in the first place. Having that happen and then seeing that video on TV was the most surreal thing. Now that I’m thinking about it, that was super weird.
With so many of your peers having broken up — some several times over — or taken hiatuses during the last couple of decades, how have you guys managed to stay so consistent over the years?
Gilbert: For me, I think it’s because I’m just so proud of our band. I know the character of everyone. Like Ian [Grushka], our bass player, he was an addict and did a lot of drugs. He was very unhealthy for a long time, but he became sober and he’s worked hard to take care of himself and turn his life around. Being there with someone through that and not letting the band break up, he’s so gung-ho about our band even more than he was 12 years ago. He loves our band more now than when we were mainstream successful. Even Jordan handled being forced to be a frontman and adapting to the pressure, and he’s still like the most humble person I know. Not to sound cliche or anything, but we wanted to do this band because of the camaraderie we had growing up in the punk and hardcore scene in South Florida — that was our family and where we felt we belonged. If you’ve seen [Netflix’s] Tiger King, you know there are some real characters in South Florida.