Doing the same thing over and over is rough. Reaching the 20th year of its action-packed run, New Found Glory was running the risk of rehashing its pop-punk formula one time too many, especially spending the early part of 2017 touring behind its early-career benchmark albums.
So the quartet returned this past April with Makes Me Sick, a sun-kissed, synth-inflected spring break of an album that could’ve been a midlife crisis, but was actually carried by its own reinvention. Case-in-point, its most un-New Found Glory-sounding song was also its best.
Fortunately, they’ve chosen to make it into a video. “The Sound of Two Voices” takes some steel drums and a ska-punk backbone, and rolls a fat one for anyone who thinks they’ve seen the last of New Found Glory’s fresh ideas. But as you’ll see, this song’s all about resisting temptation, so mind you, all you’re smelling is tiki torches and citronella candles. Here’s guitarist Chad Gilbert discussing the Max Moore-directed video, premiering today (Sept. 6) exclusively on Billboard.
How did the song come together?
We were doing pre-production for the album upstairs at my house. We were writing together and we went out to get lunch and “You Can Call Me Al” by Paul Simon came on the radio. Then that night, we all went to a show in Nashville, this punk rock show with this band Tacocat, who we love. One of the opening bands was saying onstage, “Do what you want in life! Do what makes you happy and drink a beer!”
Earlier that day, I had a conversation with a friend of mine who has been going to rehab and struggling with drinking… If my friend got that advice, it would be very dangerous. Because what he likes is drinking, but he knows that stuff hurts him, so this whole thing hit me at once. That night, I came back and I wrote the melody. The next morning, we all got together and played it and learned a new song — the perfect storm.
Every time we’d play it for someone, they’d be like, “Ooooh, it’s an island song!” or like, “It’s like ‘Under the Sea’ from The Little Mermaid!” Everyone kept talking about how much they loved it and some of my friends were like, “That’s my favorite New Found Glory song!” [Bayside frontman] Anthony Raneri actually said that, which is funny because Raneri has been listening to us for a very long time.
And what was it like making the video?
We’d just gotten off the first part of our 20-year celebration tour. We did 45 shows and the last show was in Nashville and we shot the video in Louisville the morning after. So we were awake at 7 a.m. and we were just very delirious… You can see that in the making of video. We were all in that sleepy, hyper mode, like right before you pass out.
When everyone started loving the track, we wanted to make a video. The “Under the Sea” thing and the meaning behind the song — we wanted to tie it all together.
Those who have to struggle with addiction in their lives know the “you only live once” mentality doesn’t really work because you can only do that for so often before you’re self-destructive. So in the video, it’s a take on Jordan being on our album cover throwing different temptations down and a fish on the surface wanting to take a bite out of them. But the other fish are like, “No man, I know it might look like it’ll be good for you in life, but that’s not the way you want to go down.”
How do you think Captain Straightedge, your character from International Superheroes of Hardcore, would describe the song premise?
Captain Straightedge? [Laughs] I don’t know, man. He’s got a lot of stuff going on. He’s out fighting for social justice, defending the world from Nazis right now, you know? In terms of what he’d say about the song, Captain Straightedge would say what he always says: Life is good. Drugs are bad.
Of all the videos New Found Glory has done, which was the most fun to make?
Oh man, that’s crazy. I really don’t know! Maybe the second “Hit Or Miss” video, the version from [2000’s] New Found Glory. We were under a lot of hype, blowing up. KROQ promoted the video shoot location, so we had an entire army of kids show up. The police came and we had to stop and figure out how many people could fit.
For the new album, there was the video we did for “Happy Being Miserable.” I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard. A lot of times, the projectile vomit machine would mess up, so it threw up off the track in the entire theater.
The best we didn’t make was off [2006’s] Coming Home. We had a video concept when Coming Home came out but the label [Interscope Records] stopped promoting the record. We did the “It’s Not Your Fault” video that the label really pushed and then we wanted the next video to be [title track] “Coming Home.” The whole music industry was transitioning; the people who were running the label lost their jobs. Coming Home was in the middle of the change at Interscope but the video we were going to make for “Coming Home” was the float scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I was going to be Ferris, dressed up dancing with the band around with all the crazy, weird events that were going on. That was my favorite video that we never made.