They might have called their new album Sticks and Stones so that if critics trashed it they could retort by sneering, sticking out their tongues and saying, “names will never hurt me.”
But that’s not the reason. For New Found Glory, names are as dangerous as flung fists, and throughout the record they reveal how damaged they’ve been by barbed words.
“On the cover of the record we have a little girl beating up a guy,” guitarist Steve Klein explained recently. “When we were younger, relationships with girls were a lot easier. You could hit each other and it would be fun. And I think as you get older everything gets a little more serious. When you have an argument with a girl it can actually break your heart or ruin your life.”
Loads of music fans are identifying with New Found Glory’s take on relationship dynamics and appreciating the way the band vents its frustration through high-energy pop-punk songs that impact somewhere between the newer, harmony-laden love pangs of Blink-182 and the more pounding fare of Sum-41.
Sticks and Stones debuted at #4 on the latest Billboard 200 albums chart, and the band is playing this year’s Vans Warped Tour alongside NOFX, Bad Religion and others.
Like much of the best punk-pop, “My Friends Over You,” the first single from Sticks and Stones, brings back angst-ridden teenage memories about awkward relationships and peer pressure.
“The song is about going out with a girl who hates your friends, and she’s telling you that you have stupid friends. Or you’re doing something that she doesn’t like behind her back. And she’s taking it more seriously than you’re taking it. It kind of sums up our whole album in one song.”
For guitarist Chad Gilbert the song is perhaps even more personal: “You’re with a girl and she wants to take that next step,” he said, sounding like he was drawing from past history. “And though you think the girl’s awesome and you’re having so much fun with her, because of experiences in the past with other relationships and things that are going on in your life at the current time, you’re just not ready to make that step. You just can’t. And you always pick your friends, or in our case, our band.”
When they record and jam, New Found Glory are a glorious boys club, not an exclusive one. During the recording session the band called in their pals from Bane and What Feeds the Fire on “Belated” and “Something I Call Personality”; members of H2O on “Understatement” and Alkaline Trio on “Forget My Name”; and Mark Hoppus from Blink-182 on “Something I Call Personality.”
“[Our bassist] Ian [Grushka] was just like, ‘Uh, I don’t know how to play this song, bro.’ So he called Mark up, who asked if he could sing something on the record. So we said, ‘Why don’t you just play a song on bass?’ And he just came in and wrote a bass part to the song. It came out really cool.”