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Interview with New Found Glory Lead Guitarist Chad Gilbert and Bassist Ian Grushka

New Found Glory has always seemed to be very well known, and a favourite for many throughout the pop-punk and new-school hardcore scenes. Recently they passed through Toronto, Ontario to play the Phoenix Concert Theatre.



New Found Glory has always seemed to be very well known, and a favourite for many throughout the pop-punk and new-school hardcore scenes. Recently they passed through Toronto, Ontario to play the Phoenix Concert Theatre. Unfortunately, I had to duck out early and miss the entire show and go to my other job, but not before I had the chance to talk with them about their newest video, tough guy hardcore fans, their latest release, their new label and much more.

I always see these guys in tough-guy hardcore bands and metal bands wearing your band’s merch, what’s up with that? Why do you feel you guys appeal to such a wide audience?
Chad: It’s because we got respect in the scene!

Ian: I think it’s because Chad used to sing in Shai Hulud so he’s friends with a ton of hardcore kids.

Chad: Well it’s also that and we have heavy parts in our songs, we have mosh parts. And we tour with hardcore bands and… [pauses] I don’t know!

Ian: We like hardcore music.

Chad: We like hardcore music that’s right.

Ian: We like hardcore bands.

Chad: All of our songs are influenced by different kinds of music, like hardcore is definitely a big influence in New Found Glory.

Ian: And we’re always asking bands for free merch so if we scrub their merch they get some of ours in return, and they wind up wearing it.

Chad: We just find hardcore kids at the show and give them a free shirt that way wherever they go we can get cred.

[everyone laughs]

Oh, okay, I see; street cred, eh? This way none of them are going “NFG is NFG”?
Ian: Yeah, No Fucking Good. Plus we’re the superheroes so yeah!

Oh nice! [laughs] Sounds good man, on the flipside in your newest video your singer was wearing a Madball shirt, so obviously you guys are into hardcore, that explains that. It was a wicked video by the way; you guys ended up using “NFG” instead of “UFC”; how did you…
Ian: UFC didn’t want anything to do with it we were like, “Yeah we want to use you guys, we want to do this video, we have this idea.” And they’re like “Screw you guys! Who the fuck are you?” and we’re like “Alright, we’ll do it ourselves!”

Chad: Yeah, “We’ll rip it off!”

Ian: So we got a hold of Big John McCarthy, the UFC ref, who has his own gym that has an octagon inside the gym. Boss Ruden teaches a class there so we’re like BAM! Two-for-one! Then we shot the video there, we ripped off the UFC logo and just put NFG, they didn’t want to be a part of it so we made them a part of it anyway, it didn’t matter.

That’s cool man; I loved it with the stop motion animation climbing up the rope.
Ian: Oh the rope? That was really him!

Chad: That was, yeah fuck it! [everyone laughs]

Nice, nice! You guys released your 7th studio album recently, why haven’t we gotten bored of you guys yet?
Chad: You tell us!

Ian: It’s so hard to explain for ourselves, I mean, we go into the studio and we write songs we like and it just so happens that other people like it too. I think every time we play we pour our hearts out on stage, and I think the kids have such a good time coming to see us live, they want to know the words, they want to be involved in the show. And I think that people see that we’re just real dudes, like we don’t have a band with a gimmick. There’s not a shtick to our band. [ the crew starts dragging a couch across the floor in the background] We don’t have, have, [Ian extends his last “have” to imitate the sound of the couch being dragged across the floor, Chad adds in to the noise as well] we don’t have…

…A couch passing by?
Ian: Yeah, we don’t have big egos, like we’re not like cocky people and we don’t treat people like shit. So I guess when you gain respect from people and people like your band, I think we just stick to what we know. You know, we started writing songs a certain way in our band and we’re still writing songs the same way so I think, that’s why people haven’t gotten turned off. I think sometimes when bands put out a record and the next record comes out, and this guy’s like “Well, none of my songs got on the last record, let me write!” and then you have people writing songs for the record that don’t normally write. That’s when you get a record that’s like “Uh, what’s up with number 3 and number 7? These are like, bad!” So we just stick to the same pattern that we’ve had from the beginning and we just stick with it, it seems to work.

Chad: We’re lucky people still like us, for sure. A band that’s been around 12 years and 7 records we’re very lucky to still be relevant, which I think has a lot to do with it you know? And writing good songs, I think, right?

Ian: Yeah, I mean we worked pretty hard to be where we are, we tour constantly and I think its like, it’s a lot of the “right place, right time” sort of stuff but we worked so hard in the beginning, before we had like a label or anything, that we gained that core fan base before all the radio stuff. So I think that a lot of those kids still come to the shows and a lot of those kids’ younger brothers and sisters are now coming to shows and I think that’s got a lot to do with it as well.

That’s cool! So you guys don’t feel like you’re ever “getting too old” for the pop-punk scene?
Ian: Is Green Day too old?

Ian: Is Blink too old?

No, Blink’s not too old.
Ian: But Green Day is?

Yeah… [Spenny laughs before Ian and Chad join in]
Ian: [laughing] I don’t know man, I think you’re crazy! I think as long as you’re still having fun, I think, as long as you enjoy what you’re doing. Like when we toured with Green Day and their American Idiot record hit number 1 – the first time they ever had a number 1 record – to see a band that stoked out and that excited and it was like, “Man, that’s awesome!” Like these guys have been a band for so long and they’re getting stoked out on stuff like those dudes were so happy when they found out their record hit number 1.

Chad: They’ve been around way longer then we are.

Ian: Yeah it’s a lot of hard work writing good music that people like and, you know, being good people. I think there’s bands out there that write good songs but if they’re dicks, like fans, even fans will see right through it.

Yeah, for sure! So was Green Day a big influence for you guys then?
Ian: They’ve always been, they were like one of the first pop-punk bands we listened to.

Chad: And to really like a band like that growing up and to tour with them and realize they’re cool dudes. They’re rad, they appreciate what they do, they appreciate where they’ve been, they’re still having fun and it just like, fueled us, this fire that we could do this for another twenty years. Like, if they’re still this happy and we’re still this happy, as long as people keep coming to the shows and buying the records we’ll keep doing it.

Speaking of buying records, there’s kids these days that have never even set foot in a record store…
Chad: Yep!

So how’s that affecting you guys?
Chad: I mean, as long as they come to the show and buy a t-shirt it doesn’t really affect us. That’s the thing, if they steal our music then don’t come to the show then it kinda sucks. But, I mean, what are you gonna do about it? It’s technology, you can’t control it.

Ian: It’s at the point now where kids can have kids download your record and steal it and they can have your record and listen to it and play it for their friends or they could not go to the store and buy it or download it and not have your record. So it’s like, “Fuck! If you’re not going to get our record or you’re not going to pay for it, fucking steal it!”

Chad: The only thing that bums me out is my wallet and the record company, like our goal, as a band, was to always get our music out to as many people as possible.

Ian: It wasn’t really a matter of people paying for it or selling it or anything. When people first hear about us it’s from downloading off of the internet, MySpace and stuff like that. Some people’s first time hearing us is from a download, you know what I mean? So would you have rather them not ever heard it? You know what I mean, it’s a trade off.

Chad: The thing is too, even before downloading was so big, I would go out and if I didn’t have a ton of money, I’d be hangin’ out with a friend and be like “Oh, I want to get these two records. You get this one, I’ll get that one, we’ll burn’em, trade copies, we’ll have both records.” You know what I mean? It’s not like I wasn’t guilty of doing stuff like that when I was younger too. So it’s like, I would much rather have someone steal our record and have it than not have our record at all. The economy is rough dude and not everyone can afford to go out and buy every record that comes out.

Ian: Kids don’t have jobs they just go to school.

Chad: Kids want to go out on the weekend and get some food with their friend or go to a movie or something, they may not have money to get our record with, you know? So they’ll download our record and maybe 2 months down the road they’ll have money, come out to the show and buy a shirt. You know, it all works out in the end. That stuff like, record sales to us, especially since we already have 3 gold records in the States, we’re not crying about record sales, we’re just stoked to still be able to be in a band and still tour.

Alright, well how do you feel about your new songs as compared to your previous recordings?
Chad: I don’t know, we’re happy!

Ian: That’s the thing with us; we always try to make the newest, current record our biggest masterpiece, and the one we work the hardest on. So I think every new record for us is better then the last.

Chad: And this record felt really good to because going in and recording this record with no label at all, it felt like Nothing Gold Can Stay again. We were just going in and recording a song. There wasn’t any worrying about record label people, we weren’t worried about extra keyboard padding and like percussion and this and that. It was like “Let’s just go in and fucking record a record!” We went in there and you know, with two guitars, bass, drums and vocals. So it felt good.

So what’s the response been like since you released it back in March?
Ian: Awesome! It debuted at number 12 on the Billboard charts, which is awesome. And as you’ll see tonight kids are really stoked on the new songs.

Cool! Has anything changed for you guys as a band since switching labels?
Chad: I think a lot’s changed. I mean we went from, I think going from a major to an indie is a big change, but I definitely think it’s a change for the better. [Kids started pouring into the merch room at this point and we were notified that we would have to wrap up the interview shortly] I think the difference is when we were on the major label tours at the tail end, all the people that we knew, all the people that were at the label when we got signed weren’t even there. There were so many changes going on, the president, Ron Fair or whatever, doesn’t know his ass or his elbow unless its pop music. It was at the point where it was like, “This is fuckin’ stupid!”

Ian: Yeah the only thing they cared about was hip hop or pop, and we want to be on a rock label so that helped with the choice.

Chad: So when the time came, it was like, “Well could we be done?” and they were like, “Yeah you can be done.” And we were like, “Sweet!” So when we were off the label, first thing we did was like, “Fuck, what do we want to do as a band?” Like all the fans were asking for another cover CD so we recorded that real quick, put it out on Drive Thru [Records], then we did the hardcore EP on Bridge Nine [Records] which is something else that we wanted to do, that was fun. It was awesome to do those and not be tied down by a label, and not be told, “Oh you can’t do this, you can’t do that.” And then everything just felt right with Epitaph, and even now that we’re signed, they still let us do vinyl on Bridge Nine and the stuff that we as a band like to do because Brett Gurewitz is in Bad Religion and he knows what it’s like being in a band, being on a label and wanting to do like a release on another label for fun, he gets it, we’re really happy as a band.

Cool! Okay, this last one is a fan question; Alex Tremblay of Guelph, Ontario wants to know your reason for choosing to cover Arrested Development on “Punk Goes Crunk”.
Ian: We wanted to do a song with melody; we didn’t want to do a straight rap song.

Chad: It was just a song that we liked. We liked it a lot growing up, like everyone in the band liked that song and we didn’t wanna, like I mean, I would’ve said “Hey let’s do a 2 Live Crew song!” But we couldn’t see ourselves like saying those lyrics, like it’s just weird. We just wanted to do like a catchy song with melody, you know? Just like he was saying.