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New Found Glory has always suffered critically from guilt by association with a lot of pop-punk bands that really had no business making music. Sum 41, A Simple Plan, Good Charlotte -- these bands will most likely become footnotes to footnotes in music history. But frontman Jordan Pundik and company have been churning out fan-pleasing albums since 1997, and if their consistently packed tours are any indication, they intend to do more than just outlast their copycats. Coming Home, their most mature outing yet, explores responsibility and familial hardships rather than teenage-grade angst. Surprising the critics might just be the first step in the act's master plan. From Covington, Kentucky, just a few hours before the opening-night show of New Found Glory's current tour, Pundik took the time to discuss his band's evolution.
Westword:Recording this album presented some new experiences for you, didn't it?
Jordan Pundik: We had the most time with this record that we've ever had. We were able to focus on writing songs and demo-ing. In our entire career, we've never really demo'd a record before. We were in Malibu, at this place right on the beach at Point Dume. It was a really cool experience, being able to write at all times of the day, like at one or two in the morning, as opposed to the last records, where we always had to write between tours. Like, "You've got two months to record your new album before your next tour. Here you go."
He was with us the whole Catalyst record cycle because he recorded a couple of parts on keyboards. We wanted to play the songs live, too, so we made him our keyboard player for the whole cycle. But in the end, he wanted to really just focus on Reggie and the Full Effect.
While other pop-punk bands have opted to embrace punk's inherent relationship to politics and protest in order to abide by current popular trends, New Found Glory chose to swing the opposite direction by embracing the personal withComing Home.
We're a band that writes songs from the heart, and we write them about what we know. I think that, especially with the last record, it was negative, in a way. "It's All Downhill From Here," "Failure's Not Flattering" and "Doubt Full" -- they're negative sorts of songs. With Coming Home, there's a lot of stuff going on in the world, but I don't know -- we've never really been the band to write about that kind of thing. We've always written from our own personal experiences, and I think this record is -- and I don't want to sound like some Christian rock band -- a lot more positive. You know what I mean?"
That isn't the result of finding God, is it?
Did the fact that you were married last December have anything to do with this evolution for you personally?
Yeah, I think a little bit, personally.
How do you feel about how the critics have responded toComing Home so far?
It's the first time reviewers have actually, you know, given us good reviews. [Laughs] It's different.