After 16 years as a quintet, veteran pop-punkers New Found Glory are now a four-piece. Late last year, they dismissed original guitarist/part time lyricist Steve Klein over “personal differences” and indicated they planned on replacing his spot in the band. “We have not decided on who will fill Steve’s position however we will let you know our plans as soon as we figure that out,” they wrote in their official statement. After playing their first show since the shakeup on-board the Paramore-led Parahoy! Cruise, there’s a (no pun intended) newfound enthusiasm to go ahead as a true quartet. Vocalist Jordan Pundik and guitarist/backing vocalist Chad Gilbert fielded questions about the recent tumult in NFG and how they’ll pick up the pieces without Klein in the fold. They also shared plans for a new album later this year, along with tours of the United Kingdom and U.S.
So many of the people out here are first time cruisers. How experienced are you guys with this sort of thing?
Jordan Pundik: I’ve definitely been on cruises, but not as a band.
Chad Gilbert: I was on a cruise with my grandma when I was a kid. I remember winning $10 on the slot machine.
As far as performing goes, this must be different from anything you’ve done before.
CG: Because you’re trying to move around and rock out as the ship’s moving and it totally knocks you off guard… It wasn’t until that first shift where we were mid-song. Because at first, we just came out like any normal show. But then I definitely almost fell over a few times.
You guys threw a couple covers into your show last night. It was obvious why you went with Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” for a show at sea, but what about the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris” and Sixpence None the Richer’s “Kiss Me”?
CG: Those are on our cover albums. “Kiss Me” was one of our biggest YouTube videos. Hayley (Williams) and Paramore are in the video so it made sense because there’s so many fans here for Paramore from across the world who know that song. And then “Iris” is such a fun song. Everyone loves that song, regardless of whether you’re into punk rock or metal, everyone loves that song.
JP: And we hadn’t played it in a long time.
Now that there’s only one guitarist, is it a challenge translating the parts in these songs?
CG: No. When we came to Florida for the cruise, we practiced for two days. We were kinda like, “Alright this is going to be our first practice as a four-piece and we’ll see how it goes.” We thought on slow songs, Jordan could play some if we needed it. And then Justin (Ksionzek), who’s my guitar tech (and road manager) and played guitar for Set Your Goals on tour, if we need it we can have him play it on the side. But after practice we were like, “It’s really not missing anything.” It sounded so good that we were like, “You know what, let’s keep it like this.” We always knew we would keep it as a four-piece.
There was never any thought, nor will there be any thought or consideration to ever have a fifth member. It’s always going to be the four of us. As far as live, we’re figuring it out, but we like it better than having an extra person. It’s definitely easier to worry about us four than trying to find someone.
Because you four have been together for so long, you think it wouldn’t be the best to throw in somebody new at this point?
CG: Yeah that, and I think it wouldn’t feel right. I wouldn’t expect our fans to get used to some new member of the band. And also, we’re a punk rock band. Most punk rock bands just have a guitar, bass and drums. The Descendents, the Ramones, you name ’em, it’s just how it’s always been. A lot of our songs aren’t lacking a second part. We’re not playing intricate, shredding things where we need more. There’s not much of a loss sonically. I think a cool thing, too, is when we’re writing for our new album, we’ll be writing as a four-piece.
Have you guys started writing or recording?
CG: There’s little riffs here and there. We have the cruise. We have a few festivals overseas. When we go home we’re going to go into full writing mode. There’s a few ideas scattered. Me, Jordan and (drummer) Cyrus (Bolooki) all live in Southern California so we’re going to be meeting up. We already announced the tour in the UK — Pop Punk’s Not Dead UK — we’re going to be announcing a fall tour pretty soon in the States. And people can expect to have a new album before that tour.
I know Steve Klein wrote some of the band’s lyrics. How will the lyrical process be different without him on the new album?
CG: It’s always been five ways. We want it to feel like a band. Even if I could write all the lyrics, even if Jordan could write all the lyrics, we always split everything five ways: “So I have an idea for this part.” There are parts in albums where I wrote a lot of the lyrics. There are parts on albums where Steve wrote a lot of the lyrics, even albums where Steve did the majority of the lyric writing. Then there were albums like “Coming Home” where I did most of the chorus lyric writing. But it was always split. Jordan had songs where he did stuff. Now it will be four ways. Now we’ll have (bassist) Ian (Grushka) and Cyrus contribute more.
JP: The cool thing about that is we’ve known each other for so long and we know what we’ve all been going through in our personal lives and all that stuff. To some people it sounds weird, like, “How can you sing what someone else wrote?”
CG: It’s all of us. Especially the last year, we’ve been through so much personally that it’s going to be probably more easy to write lyrics this time than ever. To fans that think Steve wrote all our lyrics, we don’t have egos so it’s ridiculous for me to come out and be like, “I wrote this song!” That’s just ridiculous. You can only live by example. You can say whatever you want but we’re going to write an awesome album and that’s it. It doesn’t matter what people want to say on message boards, know what I mean? I don’t pay attention to that stuff.