In 2000, New Found Glory—then a group of five friends from Florida with one local record release under their belt and a strong following on tour—launched their pop-punk sound into the world with their self-titled album. New Found Glory propelled them to becoming one of the most recognized bands of the post-punk emo era—a feat solidified by their friendship anthem "My Friends Over You" off their third studio album, 2002's Sticks And Stones.
Eight albums later, self-organized local shows are a thing of the past, and they definitely do not have to share one cellphone between them. They also don't have up-and-coming musician Chris Carrabba, now Dashboard Confessional, singing back-up vocals for them. But their recently released 10th studio album, Forever + Ever x Infinity, does make room for nostalgia after a lot of change.
"Now we've come full circle on the 10th album and did more of a straightforward pop-punk record," guitarist Chad Gilbert tells GRAMMY.com. "It feels new, even though we're playing styles that we did in 2002."
At this point, they haven't just amassed albums, the guys from New Found Glory also have a treasure trove of memories from the road, in the studio and beyond—including some with Mark Hoppus and rock band Lit.
In honor of Forever + Ever, we called up Gilbert and vocalist Jordan Pundik to look back on all 10 of their albums. In the conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity, NFG also reflect on their growth as a band, how two of their biggest tracks almost didn't happen and throwback memories like working with GRAMMY-winning producer Neal Avron on their label debut.
Nothing Gold Can Stay,1999
You were in high school when you released Nothing Gold Can Stay. Was this the first time you ever recorded music?
Jordan: No, we had recorded a couple of little things beforehand, but we still didn't really know what we were doing, so we went to Nothing Gold Can Stay and it was a similar thing. We were all just kids in high school and we just recorded what we thought sounded good and that was it.
Chad: Yeah, we just all worked. Some of us in fast food. I worked at a movie theater. We all had different jobs and we just all pitched in $200 bucks each, $250 bucks.
Jordan: I worked at Subway.
Chad: Yeah. We paid for the album ourselves and it was awesome. We just figured it out as we went. We had no clue what we were doing, we were just a local band, and we knew like, "All right, you have to have a full length." We were like, "Oh yeah, we had an EP, now I guess we've got to make an album." So we wrote a bunch of songs and made an album.
Where did you record it?
Chad: In '99, there weren't really any home computer studios really recording. [Laughs.] Because it came out in '99, but I feel like we recorded it before then because it was re-released. I can't remember when it was re-released, but we recorded a year or so before that and we recorded it at a studio in Miami. There was a guy that we knew that made records, so it was before computer home recordings. I don't even think I had the internet then.
Jordan: I think it was recorded to tape, too. Wasn't it recorded to tape?
Chad: Yeah, it was recorded to tape.
I love the artwork. Who is on the cover?
Chad: It was my mom. At the time, there was all the other emo style bands back then, like the old term of emo, like the post-melodic style music. All of them had these covers with throwback photos and it was all emotional looking. So we were like, "Oh, we need one of those covers." So we did our logo in cursive, and I have this old photo of my mom on a beach. That's her on the beach. We were from Florida, so it tied in with that. So we wanted it to look like a little journal with a photo on the front. So we just found the picture and went to our friends house and laid it all out and stuff.
Jordan: I don't know if you know, but there was two, there was an original layout before the one that most people have, where the actual cover was a die-cut cutout cover, like a little window. When you open the first page, it was a full picture of Chad's mom under there.
What comes up for you when you look back on this album?
Jordan: We were still so young and didn't really know what we were doing. I think for a lot of people, that's somewhat the appeal of that album. I feel like, for a lot of people, especially younger kids, they could totally relate. Especially if they're somebody that's trying to start up a band of their own. They say like, "Oh, my favorite band was like this at one point and we can maybe do the same thing."
Chad: One thing that stands out to me is going off what Jordan said: We didn't know what we were doing. Then looking back, I realize that we were actually a part of something that ended up being way bigger. It's cool to know we didn't plan that out. So for instance, on the record, our friend was in this local band and he came and sang backups and did harmonies on this one song. That's Chris Carrabba, who later started Dashboard Confessional. We were already making music together back then at a local sort of thing, and then to see where both of our bands went over the years and things. So it was really cool, we were just being really creative and just making music and we took off.
New Found Glory, 2000
A year later you released New Found Glory. Here you drop the A in your original name, A New Found Glory. Why?
Chad: We dropped the A because after we released Nothing Gold Can Stay locally, we got signed to Universal and MCA. We were releasing our self-titled album [and] we were having problems with the first record when it got nationally distributed because some stores would put it in the A section and some stores would put it in the N section. So I remember riding my bike to the mall, going to buy my CD or whatever it was, getting dropped off at the mall by my mom or whatever and looking for the CD, and not being able to find it in the right section. Then when we started playing shows, our fans started writing NFG on stuff. They'd just write NFG, they'd never write ANFG. So since our fans were calling us NFG and the record label was having trouble cataloging it, we were like, "Let's just get rid of the A and just be New Found Glory, because that's what our fans call us anyway."
How was releasing your first major label record?
Jordan: Pretty surreal I think, because still, we were either, I can't remember if we had just got out of high school or ... Yeah, we were just out of high school and we were still living at home and here we are recording a record for a major label. I think the fondest memories I have of that recording were not only how amazed we all were by the way it sounded after we were done with it, the first time having an actual really good sounding recording, but also I remember when we were at the studio and we were still living at home, we would just get picked up from our houses, we had a van and we'd pick each other up and go to the studio all together and we'd just hang out there all day long.
Jordan: We'd have our friends come over, in and out all day long and just hang out all day long until midnight or one in the morning and then go back home to our parents' houses. That's the fondest memory I have of that record. Then that record set us off to a whole crazy thing for the next 20-something years.
Chad: Yeah. Then the first time working with a real producer, our label was like, "We have this guy named Neal Avron." We're like, "Does he even know any punk rock?" They're like, "Well, he worked with Everclear and he worked with SR-71 on that song that came out. [Sings] "Whoa, why do you always kick me when I'm high?" [Editor's Note: The song is called "Right Now."] We're like, "Well, that's an upbeat thing. I don't know, he's never really done punk before and we're a punk band." We didn't really have much of a choice, we're like, "We'll work with him." He came down and met us and he was really nice, so we worked with Neal. Now, he went on to produce three of our albums, Fall Out Boy, Yellowcard, and then on and on to Sara Bareilles, Linkin Park.
Chad: He's a massive producer now, but we were his first punk band. We were his first band. Then when Fall Out Boy worked with him, they wanted it to sound like the records we did with him. Then they're a massive arena band, so it's pretty crazy. So that was working with Neal, it was our first time working with a real producer. So that was interesting and we learned a lot from him. I was still in high school, I was a junior in high school at that time or senior. I think I was a senior. I ended up not finishing, because we had touring and stuff. But I remember making that album and all my high school friends were still in high school and I was going into the recording studio. It was awesome.
Nowadays, major labels catch new music on the internet. How did you get under their radar?
Chad: The tour.
Jordan: Touring and then at the time, there was streaming sites too. There was downloading sites like Napster and stuff.
Jordan: You want to give your computer a disease, go to Limewire.
Chad: The biggest thing for us was touring I think. Again, we were trying to figure it out as we went, and I think how it all happened was we just got on a computer, made some calls, called our friends in other states and booked punk rock shows. One time in New Jersey, we opened for a band called Midtown, and Midtown was on Drive-Thru Records and they thought we were awesome. So they played our CD for Drive-Thru Records and then Drive-Thru Records signed us and then that's how we got on Universal and everything. So I think touring, that's how we just did it ourselves and then we got discovered, so it was pretty awesome.
Do you guys miss that? Just calling people up to organize shows and stuff?
Chad: We still get that sort of thing because we still do our own, whether it's putting together a tour, album poster, album. Whatever it is, tour poster, touring merch, you still have that DIY element. But I don't miss making all the phone calls and worrying about if we show up, if the show's even happening.
Jordan: Yeah, with the one band cellphone that we had.
You all shared one cellphone?
Jordan: Yeah, it was one phone. It was an old Nokia phone, I remember.
Those flip phones?
Jordan: No, not even a flip phone, it was like the bar, indestructible.
Did you feel any pressure in terms of making the music and writing the songs?
Jordan: I don't know if there was necessarily pressure from each other, because we were ... I feel like we just went into that record, even though it was our first major label record and we were in a nice studio and stuff, it was still just like having a good old time. I don't think we were really thinking too much into it. I feel like that's been, for a lot of our career, we just go into it without worrying about that stuff. We just write songs for how we're feeling and what is going on in our lives. I don't really think that there was a lot of pressure then. Obviously, as a band, more stuff was going on, there's, of course, going to be pressure. You're going to feel that pressure from yourself, even if it's not coming from outside. But I don't know, we were just, we'd go in and have fun and record songs and go home.
Sticks and Stones, 2002
Sticks and Stones came out two years later in 2002. The first thing I think about is "My Friends Over You." What's the first thing you think about?
Chad: I think about moving. I think about leaving our hometown. We all lived at home and I remember, didn't a bus drive us out there?
Chad: I remember the bus picking me up and I was moving out and I was also moving there. Everybody in the band wanted to live out there after we were done recording, just because our manager was out there and we just got signed and self-title did well and now Sticks and Stones was doing well. So it was like this big thing, let's go for it, let's make it happen. We all moved to Southern California and I remember leaving home and my dad being sad. First time seeing my dad sad, because for me, it was like he was happy for me, but it was the first time I was moving away. That moment where for us, most kids leave and go to college, we were leaving and instead of going to college, we were going to make an album in Southern California, because that's the age we were at. We were young adults, we went out for the first time. So just fresh out of high school. That was a big deal. Moving into these apartments in San Diego and being like, "Holy crap. The record label's paying for these right now?"
That sounds dope.
Chad: Yeah, it was cool. That was a big tour bus picking us up.
Jordan: Fancy La Jolla, California, where they had us set up in these corporate apartments and we were like, "These are the nicest things ever." Probably going back now, they're probably kind of crummy. I do remember, I think we got a little bit of advance money to live or something and I remember, I don't know if Chad went too, but I remember some of us, we took some of that money and were like, "Let's go to Best Buy and buy TVs." So we all went and bought TVs for our apartments. I remember doing that and then buying this huge-
Chad: Yeah, I bought a TV.
Jordan: Was yours one of the big heavy ones too?
Chad: Yeah, this huge, it was before flat screens, they were those big boxy huge ones. It was like, "This is a huge TV." That you had to roll on the floor.
I'm looking at it on Spotify right now, "My Friends Over You" is your most streamed, over 75-million. Do you ever get tired of playing the song?
Jordan: I don't really get tired playing the song because it's like kids at our show go ape for that song. They have the best time ever.
Chad: I think it's cool. It's cool because it's real. It happened before there was a fad or a thing, it was just like we moved to California. The crazy thing too is Sticks and Stones was already done, and it was the last day of practicing, it was the night before when I wrote that guitar riff and went in the next day and was like, "Come on, guys. One more song. I think this is going to be awesome." And everyone was like, "No, we're tired." I was like, "Come on." Luckily, our producer was like, "All right. Let's just try it." We did it and now it's our biggest song. That song was not going to be on the album. That was the last song we brought in, which is funny to think about how different things would be. So I just think it's crazy. I feel like when you make an album, you do have some sort of pressure, whether you believe it or not, subconsciously you just can't, you're human, you put pressure on yourself. Then when the album's done, you no longer feel pressure, so your best stuff comes out. Because you're like, "Oh, my responsibility's done." Now you get to be yourself and just relax, and that's when "My Friends Over You" came out is when we were done with the album and relaxed and thought we were already finished. So it's really cool to think about when we went and recorded it, it ended up being the first single and then that's it, that's history. So it really was a thing. "My Friends Over You" really was my band over you, because who's going to sing, my band over you? That's not relatable. It was a tongue-in-cheek, we just moved, like we said, to San Diego, and old relationships were ending between us and a lot of our old, whether it be girlfriends of friends or whatever it was. It was just this big transition in your life, and it was just a tongue-in-cheek sort of way to say like, "Yeah, I just moved. Sorry, I've got to leave this home. Though you swear you're true, my band over you." At the time, we were all best friends. Jordan's still my best friend. So that's how "My Friends Over You" came. So it was really not on purpose, it was just a fun little anthem for what we were doing. Making the record and moving to California, and then that's it. It clicked with people.
Any other song on the album that's a little bit more special than the rest for you?
Jordan: I'd probably say "Sonny." That was right around the time my grandfather passed away, so that song was like, not in a weird way, but in a way a tribute to him, but also for people that may have lost somebody or whatever. That song still to this day, people come up to us all the time and say that song has helped them through the loss of somebody. That was a big one for me.
At this point, you're a few albums in, what are you as a band? You have a super successful album here, how was it going through the success as a band, as a unit?
Chad: For me personally, it was tough, because at that time, it started getting tough because we also were away from family and friends, and we were constantly on tour and constantly playing. I think it was an amazing time, but I think it was also looking back, you're like, "Oh wait," this isn' fully normal. We started super, super young and we're already on tour for three years straight. We were only, we were just 21. I remember I was the youngest in the band, so we played Vegas and I wasn't even allowed in the casinos. So a lot of success and processing in that, it was crazy. But it was fun.
Jordan: It was definitely fun. It was also weird to think, because it goes by so fast. At the time, you don't really realize it. You don't even have time to really process it while it's going on, and the only time you ever get to process it is now when we're being asked about it. Because it goes by so quick, and you're like, "Wait, oh yeah. That did happen. Oh yeah, I remember that. That was crazy." In the moment, it's like, "Okay, you've got to go do the shows. You've got to go here. You've got to do this interview. You've got to go there." All this stuff was happening and you don't even really have a moment to enjoy it.
Chad: Yeah, that record cycle, you're in Times Square giving out cars to fans. At the time, it was like Times Square was still open, so they literally stopped traffic and put a Honda, New Found Glory Honda Civic, and it was us in the center of Times Square on TRL.
I was going to say, TRL.
Chad: Yeah. Giving out a car. I could bring that up right now, and people ... Again, this is before social media, this is before Twitter, Instagram, there was no shots on Instagram of this. Can you imagine right now you seeing New Found Glory in Times Square, shut down traffic with a car on Instagram? That didn't exist. It's almost like it never happened. It did happen, but when you tell people ... I meet bands that tour with us now, I'm like, "Oh yeah, on Sticks and Stone, we sold out PNC [Bank Arts Center] whatever, amphitheater, and did 17,500 people." They're like, "Wait, you guys are that big?" I'm like, "Yeah, dude. You don't know because you didn't have social media and you were young." But it's funny to just see, there're certain things we did, I'm just like, "Wow. I can't believe that happened."
How did you grow musically here?
Jordan: It was our second major-label recording, we had a little bit of experience now going to nicer studios and having that rhythm of how the process works. So we wanted our next record to be like a good record. So I think that at the time, there weren't many bands doing what we were doing also, sound-wise. So that in and of itself is really cool to think back to, because we were doing something really special.
Did it get bigger touring-wise too?
Jordan: Oh, yeah. We were bigger touring than we were on record. That's the thing that was so cool, and that's why we never had pressure from our label. I remember Gary Ashley, our A&R guy, rest in peace, he signed New Found Glory to MCA, but that was one thing he would always say is people that saw us, it just never matched. We could sell out a 5000 cap room, but not be played on the radio in that town. So the people at the show would go, "Oh, my gosh. New Found Glory is so huge." But then the people on paper would go, "Oh, New Found Glory's not that big." Chad: That was our thing. Because the radio station would play the bands opening for us all the time. I remember when Lit, Lit had the song My Own Worst Enemy. "... With your clothes on." [Sings.] Lit had a giant hit on the radio, they were played every second, you couldn't go anywhere without hearing that song. Lit saw us on this radio festival and came over to us, and I remember, I think it was the guitar player or the singer, I can't remember. One of them said to me, "How did you guys do that?" I was like, "What do you mean?" They're like, "That was insane." They didn't know of us fully because we weren't all over the radio. But we had more fans at the show than all the people on the radio. See what I'm saying? So our touring was awesome because we created this place to go, this subgenre, this community of fans, and that's what the punk thing was. But we wouldn't get the love from the radio. Now because of Emo Nite, we get more play now I think sometimes than we did then for "My Friends Over You."
Catalyst comes out in 2004. What stage was the band here?
Jordan: So Catalyst was the first record—I think that was the first one we did in L.A., right, Chad? What was that studio called?
Chad: Yeah. At Sunset Sound, famous studio.
Jordan: Yeah. Sunset Sound was the first time we ever recorded a record in L.A., we were all in Los Angeles doing an album, doing the band thing. Had Neal again on there, so our relationship with Neal was really good and we were really close, and we really wanted to ... I think with this record, we were trying to just, now after Sticks and Stones and there was a couple years, more and more bands were coming out sounding similar, getting signed to major labels and all these things were happening. We were like, "No." People were comparing us to those bands. We're like, "No. We are not that band." So here we go, going into Catalyst, and we're like, "We're going to make this like a different kind of New Found Glory record to set us apart from what's going on right now in our genre." And that is how that record started.
So would you say it was like a statement album?
Jordan: I would say so. Even from the first track on the record, we have a major label record coming out and the first song is a 30-second punk song saying the F-word.
Jordan: After we had sold so many records of our first two records, both records, Sticks and Stones and self-titled were gold records and here we are about to do the third record and the first song we put out is a 30-second hard screaming song saying the F-word in it. So that's what I think about that record, I think about. There were a lot of different styles on that record, not being just one style, like a punk song, but I think it was more like taking all the genres that we loved and meshing, melting it all into a New Found Glory song. A lot of interesting songs on that record.
Anyone that you have a memory of specifically?
Chad: I remember the similar thing that happened with "My Friends Over You" that happened with our biggest song on Catalyst, which is our song "All Downhill From Here." I was on my way to one of the last days of writing, and I remember driving there and I started going [playing a rhythm] in my head. And I was like, "Ooh, I love that riff. Don't forget that." At the time, there weren't any iPhones, so I couldn't record it on [my phone.] A lot of times, if I write a riff in my head or a guitar riff with my voice, I might write something and I don't even have my guitar near me. So I started driving and I started singing the guitar riff, and I was like, "Dammit, don't forget that. Don't forget it." So the whole drive I just kept singing the riff. "Don't forget, don't forget." So I ran in and grabbed my guitar and wrote the riff, and then we finished that song, which ended up being the first single. We have a TRL plaque, a retired TRL video [because] it was on TRL for so long that they had to retire it. It wouldn't leave the charts. It was pretty cool.
I remember this song being played on MTV a lot.
Chad: Yeah. It was because the video was animated, we got Buzzworthy, whenever the video was Buzzworthy, it would get lots of plays because of the production or the way the video was made. So pretty cool. Pretty, pretty cool.
Earlier you mentioned radio earlier, radio being a challenge. At this point, how was radio for you guys?
Jordan: It was still pretty much the same, still not really that great. It would be played here and there by KROQ in L.A. and some New York stations and stuff, but it was mostly at that time, I remember being it on way more on MTV than we were actually on the radio.
Chad: Yeah, definitely. We were not getting radio love as much. At the time, it was when all the "The-The-The" bands came out. The Hives, the Vines, this band, the that band, and the Strokes and the blah-blah-blahs. So it was that era where all the "The's" came out. So there was this sort of ... I remember when Jet ... So we sounded the way we did, but then the radio was doing all that '70s throwback rock. We didn't really fit in very much, and neither did alternative in general. It was all that style stuff. It would be that, and then the next song would be, "I don't practice Santeria ..." [Sings.] Then it would be another Vines song or Strokes song.
Jordan: I feel like radio became something that you had to sound like, so if you sounded like yourself, unless you were an old band from the early '90s that just had your staples, it just seemed like if you didn't fit into that trend, you didn't sound like the radio. If you didn't sound like the radio, you weren't going to get played on the radio, regardless of how good your song was, or even how big it was. As I said, we were selling out these giant venues and the bands on the radio were not, but it didn't matter. We didn't sound like the radio.
Is that a point of frustration? You obviously have an audience going for you, but you're not on the radio. Did that matter to you at all?
Jordan: I think because we never expected it in the first place ... If we started to think about it a lot, it was frustrating. Like, "Wait, I don't understand." Because all we could say was like, "Wow. If we think we're popular without that, imagine if we had that too. Perfect storm. Maybe we could get to the level of like the way Green Day was or something." But all of our favorite bands only played to 300 people. We grew up listening to these punk bands and we'd go see them and there'd be nobody at the shows and they were our favorite bands. So success, that level of mainstream success never was our reason for being in the band in the first place. But once you're in it and you're touring, you're releasing records, and your label's saying, "We just don't know why you don't get play. This should be on the radio." Then you start thinking about that stuff. But when it comes down to it, it would never be too discouraging because we were from the punk world, so it didn't really matter. We grew up like, if you're on the radio, you were lame. It was like this catch 22, we're like, "Eh. As long as we get to be on tour, as long as we get to play our songs, we don't care. We don't care. We just want to tour."
Chad: And now we can't even do that, because the world is closed.
Coming Home, 2006
Chad: I think with [this] record, that was like our, I don't want to say experimental because it wasn't experimental, but it was a record that we felt like going into it that this was like we wanted to just present to the world something a little bit different and that New Found Glory was capable of writing songs that maybe have a different sound or element to them. It's funny, because when that record came out, it wasn't really accepted by a lot of our fans, and then now, however many years later, everybody loves that record, which is an interesting thing in and of itself. I like that record a lot, I like where we were going with that record. I was able to try different things vocally that I had never done before, I think musically too we were doing things that we weren't doing before. We wanted to just try and see what happens.
How do you navigate that? You're obviously a band, you're growing, you're not static. Obviously, fan support is important. How do you navigate trying to grow, but also trying to bring your fans along with you?
Jordan: It's a fine balance, you have to do what feels right for you. But also, you also don't want to alienate your fans either. I think with Coming Home, I think we tried to do that to the best that we could. But that record was also a very emotional record for us in the band. A lot going on.
Chad: We were just tired. We played, before that, we had no breaks at all. We did Nothing Gold, promoted ourselves, self-titled, Sticks and Stones, Catalyst, and here we were going into making another album off of three gold consecutive records. One side of us felt like we could do no wrong, three gold albums in a row. Then one side of us I think felt like if we just made another punk record, no one would care. We were like, "If we just do another punk album, it's just going to sound like the other ones." The music we were listening to was a little bit different at the time and we wanted to challenge ourselves and just do something different.
Chad: That's how that record came out. We wanted to go like, "Okay, we know we can write punk songs, but we also are songwriters. So let's write some songs regardless of the genre." Because I think we were just a little bit burnt, and it's funny because our fans did not love it at first. Now a lot of diehard New Found Glory fans are like, "That's their best album. That's the one." We were just laughing because we were like, "What?" And it was a really difficult time too because our record label MCA was going under, and Geffen, IGA, Interscope Geffen A&M, Jimmy Iovine took over and had to figure out what to do with all the bands. We were given to Geffen, so we had a whole new different staff, we had a whole new different world of people and the record just didn't get promoted like any of our others.
Chad: By the time it came out, we made one video. If you look at our albums before that, we had three videos every record. Even the ones after it, but that one album, they just made our video and they released the video, the album came out, we never heard from them again. It was a really weird record label transition time to where the impact of streaming took over, downloads, iTunes, everything. Where Geffen, all the major labels were panicking. This was before Spotify, this was before they figured out what to do. This was when it was just downloads, downloads, downloads.
Jordan: So weird. It was the pandemic of downloads.
Not Without a Fight, 2009
Then you released Not Without a Fight three years later. Chad, you told Louder Sound that this was one of your albums you were least attached to.
Chad: Yes. Basically, with Coming Home failing in our eyes, our fans, I put a lot into Coming Home. That was one of the albums that I stepped in as a lyricist and melody writer, where on the past records, I did a lot of melody, I did songs here and there. There were a couple songs on Sticks and Stones where I wrote some choruses, a couple of songs on Catalyst. There were a couple of songs where I did a lot of the melodies in old records, but Coming Home, I stepped in and did a lot of the melodies. When it got rejected, I was like, "See, I don't want to do that." Then I stepped back and I just went back to writing the riffs. I wrote the riffs on Coming Home too, but I was like, "You know what? I'm so pissed at how much I put into this and how quickly it got thrown out," that I just went back to Not Without a Fight, where I just wrote maybe more what I thought our fans wanted to hear and had less attachment to it.
I just didn't really feel attached to it personally and I think the band was in a weird spot. We were signing to a new label, maybe less inspired. I don't even know. It was just a weird thing. But it turned out that Not Without a Fight ended up doing really well, a lot of our fans get mad when I say that I didn't like it. They're like, "That's my best record." If that's the best record and I know how little I tried, then man.
Jordan, what sticks out for you on this one?
Jordan: We did the record with Mark Hoppus, I don't know if you knew that part. He produced it, so that was a fun time just to be with him in the studio. We had worked together before on some [Blink182] and a long time before that. Being back together with him, it was kind of interesting. Just a lot of joke-cracking, a lot of poking fun at each other, so that was a fun time. But I do remember, I remember having some difficulty really getting into the record, as far as like in there recording because I was standing in the room with them, next to them, and I'd tried that in the past before, but before it was with Neal Avron and he had a certain way to make it feel good and make it sound good. He was like a cheerleader for you. In this case, and this is just my personal experience, with this case it was like I was in there and trying that same trick of singing in the room with everybody, and I don't know, I just couldn't sound good to me. So we ended up doing different things to make it better for me, but that's what I remember the most. Then, of course, you listen back now like, "Okay." When the record was done, you're like, "All right, this came out pretty good actually." There are songs on there that I listen back to now like, "Oh, man. I totally forgot about this song. This is a really cool song." I do think that there are some cool songs on that record, but I don't know. As Chad said, we were just kind of all in a weird place. I don't know. It was just a weird time. Coming off of a major label, going back to an independent label.
A lot of transitioning.
Jordan: Transitioning, yep. That's a transitioning record.
So then Radiosurgery dropped in 2011, who produced this one?
Jordan: We went back with Neal Avron for that one. We were pretty excited for that.
Dope. So you've worked with this producer before, how is it, because obviously he's probably growing as a producer and you've grown as a band, how is it reconnecting with a producer?
Jordan: For me, it felt very much the same as it did when we had first worked with him. That felt really good. There was like this comfort factor to it.
Chad: We knew we were going to have an interesting sounding album.
Jordan: The biggest difference was, for Neal, he doesn't have to go to a studio anymore, because he has his own studio at his house. That was the biggest difference, so we would go to his house every day. He had this backhouse that was like this really cool studio, so we would go to his house every day.
Radio's been a theme in this conversation, and this is called Radiosurgery. Is there a connection there?
Chad: It was more about, it's just a play on words because it's real surgery, radiosurgery is real surgery. It's brain surgery. So it just had a fun ring to it, and we, at the time, a lot of the inspiration we were getting for that record was more like older punk, more Ramones era, a little bit more of the early '80s, '70s. Like when pop and rock and punk started combining, like [The Clash] songs, Ramones' songs, and even going back to some of our older Green Day roots. The term radiosurgery just felt classic and then also the double meaning. Radiosurgery is a brain surgery, so it was about forgetting the girl by getting surgery to remove her, and then also ...
Like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind?
Chad: Kind of, that's a great movie. But no, just more of like, it's a real surgery that happens, but then using a play on words. Radiosurgery, forgetting the girl through radio songs, using music as therapy. It just had all these meanings and it just fit, so that's why.
What was mindest for this album?
Chad: It was our first record as a four-piece and we really wanted to show the strength of us as a band. We stuck to that in tracking. Everything you hear was like older mid '90s metal and rock records, where it wasn't layering tons of guitars. It was like a guitar part and then when the lead would happen, the only thing there would be behind it was the bass guitar. So we really stripped down the production side and instead of adding a bunch of layers, we were like, "How do we sound powerful with just four people?" That's what we did. So that's why Resurrection has this more raw, gritty, straight up one guitar, one bass, Jordan belting, lyrics of conquering through hard times. It came out awesome, I love Resurrection. It really was the rebirth of our band. Almost like our new first album, I would say.
I'm going to take a wild guess and say that the album name reflects that all.
Chad: Yeah, exactly.
Makes Me Sick, 2017
This is the album before your Forever + Ever x Infinity, your 10th album. You've been making a lot of albums at this point. How is it getting inside the studio? What's the songwriting like?
Jordan: With Makes Me Sick, that was the first one I believe where we all ended up going to Tennessee and playing at Chad's place, and just staying with Chad a few weeks and writing these songs, or going through the songs. That was the first time we used a different producer by the name of Aaron Sprinkle, who had done a bunch of records that we liked growing up. We were like, "Oh, man. Aaron could be a good mix for this." So we, like you said, at this point we have a rhythm of how we write songs. Then we finally just, when we get together, that's when it all comes together. So this was the first record we recorded in Nashville, or out in Franklin, outside of Nashville. That was a different vibe on its own. It was definitely a different experience, getting away from the craziness of being in Los Angeles or somewhere like that, and just being in a house and recording a bunch of songs together. I personally enjoyed it, I love that, being away from the crazy of everything and being able to really just be together and hang out. I don't know, it was this more homely feeling or something. I don't know. Getting coffee and talking about the songs and then going back to Chad's house and then going to the studio and then going back to Chad's house in the evening and hanging out. I don't know, it was just a fun experience.
Chad: I thought it was awesome. It was a way where we added some synths into the record and we recorded here in Franklin where I live. I love it. I think again, every record we've done grows in a different way, introduces new elements. Any time you record ... we add a little bit and grow in a different way. Every record, fans are expecting something different, which is awesome. I think transitioning that into the new album, that's why fans are loving the songs we're releasing, is that we've gone so far in so many different places, now we've come full circle on the 10th album and did more of a straightforward pop-punk record. It's refreshing for them. It's like we've taken our fans on such a journey that this album is refreshing and back. It feels new, even though we're playing styles that we did in 2002.
Why do you think it feels fresh?
Chad: We went back to the straightforward, every record, if you listen, expands in a different way. So this was about writing more straightforward what we're best at, as opposed to experimenting. When we're like, "Okay ..." Who we are is this band and we do this better than anyone else, because created our own little version of pop-punk or whatever you want to call us, so we went back to doing what we know the most and what we do the best. And it just came out. I felt like it was just so ... what's the term? In flow. Where you're just killing it. We were just riff to riff to song. It just felt so good and it just all came out really natural. I think fans are reading that and they love it.
I'm really curious your thoughts, not ever band stands the test of time, you're all still a unit, how has your relationships as band members grown?
Jordan: I think we have, over the years, have gotten closer than we were before, even when the band was doing more touring and always gone all the time. Now we're obviously not touring as much as we used to, because we don't have to ... But even now, even if we're not together all the time, I do feel like when we are together, we're closer than we have ever been. I think that attests to talking to each other and make sure we're all on the same page.
I've said this before in other interviews in different things, but I really think it's true, when something is up with somebody or there's something going on, we talk about it and we sit on the bus and have band therapy sessions in a way. Where we'll just hash it out and be like, "All right, are we all on the same page? Cool. Let's move on." Kind of thing.