The suburban sprawl of Coral Springs, Fla., doesn't look like the growing fields for punk music. But it is in this affluent community that pop/punk band New Found Glory began to take shape and is now

The suburban sprawl of Coral Springs, Fla., doesn't look like the growing fields for punk music. But it is in this affluent community that pop/punk band New Found Glory began to take shape and is now on the verge of taking over the mainstream.

New Found Glory signed to Universal subsidiary MCA last year after a few years on the indie tour circuit and releasing albums on small labels. After six weeks on the chart, the group's self-titled debut reached a new high of No. 2 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart this week. And while most bands with an underground cache might be hesitant to admit they follow the charts, the five members of the band are fascinated by the experience.

"It's cool because we're up there with all these other bands and we're not really supposed to be there," drummer Cyrus Bolooki says, surrounded by his bandmates at a local restaurant. "It feels like we're not supposed to be there," guitarist Chad Gilbert adds. "I like how you look at the chart and there's seven bands that sound like Creed or old Pearl Jam and seven more that sound like Limp Bizkit. Then there's us."

New Found Glory's energetic pop/punk sound and sensitive lyrics have attracted rabid fans for the past three years, bolstered by tours with MXPX and Reel Big Fish. In between extensive road trips, the group released albums on independent labels Fiddler, Eulogy, and Drive Thru. It was only a matter of time until they moved on to the majors.

"We booked our own tours and every time we went out to California people from MCA would come to our shows," Bolooki recalls. "While we were actually on a tour with Midtown and RX Bandits we got a call from MCA and they said they wanted our next album to be with them."

"We're a secure band," Gilbert says. "We already know how we write our songs, [so] when we got on MCA it wasn't a big deal. We weren't worried about anything, we weren't nervous. We didn't have to change anything."

The group's addictive riffs and personal lyrics -- dealing with relationships, loss, and life in a band -- have hit a chord with fans tired of the adolescent subject matter so many other young rock acts are spewing.

"When I write the lyrics, I want them to effect people in a certain way," lyricist/guitarist Steve Klein says. "You listen to a song and you say 'I went through that,' or 'That's exactly how I felt.' And you sing a long to the songs because you feel like you've been through the same thing. You're singing the soundtrack to your own life."

The formula seems to be working. As they did last year, the band will play a few dates on this summer's Vans Warped Tour before embarking on a long stint opening for Blink-182. The single "Hit Or Miss" continues to garner heavy airplay on MTV and at rock radio, having peaked at No. 15 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart earlier this month.

The song is the lone holdover from earlier New Found Glory albums; the rest of the current set is comprised of new tracks. "This record was going to get out to a lot more people and the first recording just didn't do it justice," vocalist and admitted Quentin Tarantino look-a-like Jordan Pundik says.

Such immediate gratification for its first major-label effort has yet to fully sink in. "When we started this band, our wildest dreams were to have happen what's happening right now," Gilbert says. "So if radio flops, and MTV flops and everything flops, it doesn't matter, as long as we're still playing and kids are coming to our shows."

But the guitarist quickly adds with a humorously deadpan delivery, "If we do well, than its icing on the cake and maybe I'll be able to buy a house. Yeah, as long as I get to buy a house it doesn't really matter."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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