New Found Glory is without question one of the champions of the Pop-Punk scene, and that won't be changing anytime soon. I recently got the chance a few weeks back to chat once again with lead vocalist Jordan Pundik and catch up, talking about the 10th anniversary tour of Sticks and Stones, and future plans as an independent band.
So how's the tour been going so far?
Jordan Pundik: Good, State Champ's first day was yesterday, it's been good.
What was first reaction when you first heard State Champ's music?
Jordan Pundik: I liked it, I think they're still a pretty new and I think they're a band that's really going to come into their own, just like The Story So Far and Man Overboard did. I definitely think that if they keep at it they'll get there...and I'm not the best judge at that type of shit, but just past history of seeing new bands come up. And I think their peers are real great too.
This isn't your first 10th Anniversary tour, you did one a few years back with the Self-Titled album. Does this one feel differently compared to that previous tour?
Jordan Pundik: It's a little different in that with the Self-Titled tour, it was Saves The Day and us. Where as on this one it's us being the band that's been around awhile, and then you have the up and comers on the tour, so it was cool to watch those bands every night and see the reaction. Watching The Story So Far, the reaction the first night was alright and as the tour progressed, their sets got better and better as far as crowd interaction goes.
Looking back at Sticks and Stones, are there any past moments or memories that really come back to you with that record?
Jordan Pundik: Yeah, I guess the biggest thing was the first time we had moved out of our parents houses, we were living at home until that time. When we went to record the record, we all moved to San Diego to record, and I ended up staying there. That was a big thing for us because until then, we were touring and then living with our parents; now we were finally on our own and trying to be adults, but at 21 years old.
Has there been anything on the record lyrically that has grown with you as time passed by?
Jordan Pundik: Yeah, the thing with that record, is that over the years it's been one of our biggest records, and then it was a big record for our fans; for some of them, it was the first record that they got into by us. And looking back on it, it's a really cool thing because some people cite the record as an influence on them - band guys, and fans.
Is it humbling to think that bands are naming their bands after songs you've put out?
Jordan Pundik: Yeah, I think it's cool, it's a little weird. It's definitely fun to see, especially when the bands as good.
Looking forward, Catalyst is coming up on 10 years. I know you guys were looking at releasing the vinyl on 6131 Records, but is there still plans to do that this year or sometime in the future?
Jordan Pundik: I don't know what's happening with that, we're still trying to figure that out. We have a live record coming out soon, so that's where the attention has been - this tour, and then trying to get that set up.
There's been some rumors that say you're planning on doing a 10 year Catalyst tour - can you shine some light on that?
Jordan Pundik: We talked about it in a joking manner, like "Oh man, I can't wait for the 10 year tour for Catalyst! and then the 10 year tour for Coming Home!", you know?
Yeah, but to be able to have ability to even do a 10 year tour for these records is incredible.
But looking at this live record, what can we expect from that?
Jordan Pundik: I think the live record definitely captures how we are as a live band, with the crowd interaction and people singing along, it really sounds awesome in my opinion, we've been getting mixes back from it. We did it in Anaheim. But the live record is also going to have three new studio songs on it as well.
What can you tell us about those three songs?
Jordan Pundik: Those songs are upbeat and have really cool guitar riffs. Lyrically there's definitely a song that's more scene driven, talking about where it is now, and then there's a couple songs that are about dealing with the things we always deal with, but in the time we're in now, like relationships with friends.
You guys recently announced a "hiatus", and people sort of lost their minds. But you guys have seemingly always kept busy, you know?
Jordan Pundik: (laughing) That was more of me not wording my answer the right way, and it got taken in the wrong context. I said that we're going on a break, which we do after every record cycle.
I think the word "hiatus" tends to come up pre-maturely sometimes...
Jordan Pundik: I don't even think I said the word "hiatus", you know?
I mean, I think people tend to just assume that, since it's almost become synonymous, you know?
Jordan Pundik: I know, but it's funny because we live in an age where you can find out anything at any given time, and people can go on a website and see all the shit coming up that we're doing.
Yeah, of course, and you've been so busy especially in personal endeavors. I know you've been tattooing, and Chad's been doing What's Eating Gilbert, and then you guys followed up with a Ramones cover EP...
Jordan Pundik: ...and people have been producing...
How was the experience of recording the Ramones EP? That was a really fun listen
Jordan Pundik: Yeah, that was a lot of fun. I did the vocals, Chad and I did it together because the music was pretty much already done awhile ago, and then I still had to do my stuff. I was living in Nashville for a little bit while I was helping open that tattoo shop and apprenticing, so Chad came to Nashville and we recorded the vocals there. It was fun, I love singing those songs.
What was your favorite song to sing on that EP?
Jordan Pundik: Judy Is A Punk, Rockaway Beach, I dunno, just staying true to how the songs are, but also making it your own.
And you're done as an apprentice in Nashville?
Jordan Pundik: Yep.
How was that experience?
Jordan Pundik: It was awesome - amazing people, amazing town...
Who'd you work under?
Jordan Pundik: His name is Ian White, he works at a shop called Safehouse Tattoo. Now that I'm back in San Diego, the laws of tattooing are a little bit different in California compared to Tennessee, I'm going to work on opening a shop there too.
It seems like New Found Glory is always up to something. Have you thought about doing a split with someone after the live record comes out?
Jordan Pundik: I dunno, if it was up to me, I'd like to treat the live record like a real release and not just like a one-off type of thing, you know? We'll probably do a fall tour after the release of the live album, and I wan't to see if we can keep it like any other record we do.
If you had your choice of any bands to bring out for this fall tour, who would you bring out and why? Old bands, new bands? Maybe bands that aren't in your genre like Alpha and Omega?
Jordan Pundik: Yeah, I would want to have a mix and have one band be a band that's been around almost as long as we have, and then have a couple up and comers.
It's always exciting to see who you guys bring out. Cartel's been around for awhile, and State Champs are just coming up...
Jordan Pundik: Yeah, it's what we try and do every tour, bring out a band like Saves The Day and then bring out a band like A Day To Remember...before they became massive. Also, bring out a few bands that we want to help lift up.
Are you guys done with Epitaph?
Jordan Pundik: Yeah.
What are you guys looking to do now? Are you looking for a new label, or you entertaining the idea of remaining independent?
Jordan Pundik: Well, with the live record we're just going to release it independently with Chad's imprint on it. We'll see how it goes, there's good and bad to both - being on a label, there's people that can help push the record for you and you can just worry about touring, but at the same time you put out a record yourself, and you have to worry about all that's involved. We'll see how this one goes, and go from there.
And with sites like Kickstarter and Indie Go Go, bands much smaller than you guys achieve their goals in just a few days. So I mean, the door is wide open for you guys?
What new records have you been into lately?
Jordan Pundik: Oh, the first new record I just got into was the new Front Bottom's record (Talon of the Hawk), I like the album before it also.
Yeah, people have been into the new Deafheaven record too...
Jordan Pundik: Yeah, that metal-space wave sound...that new Alt-J record (An Awesome Wave) is really good too...
How about the new Bad Rabbits album?
Jordan Pundik: Haven't listened to them, we've played together though. The new My Bloody Valentine is great, the new Bastille EP is good (Haunt). A real wacky album almost in the vein of Tame Impala, this band called Eat Skull, they're kind of cool. The new Guided By Voices (English Little League) too, if you're looking for something a little bit older.
Yeah! I think it's really good too. I think it's funny, a lot of people wrote it off as "hipster nonsense", but it was doing really well commercially, it's still #10 on the Spotify charts I think...
Jordan Pundik: I know, it's crazy. But the album as a whole is good. Oh, the new Ice Age record is good. I'm digging the new Paramore record too, she sings so good on there, I'm digging it. I could go on and on about records...
So you're putting out a new live album in the fall, doing a headliner again, how about overseas stuff?
Jordan Pundik: We're headed over for some overseas stuff in the end of august and the beginning of september - festivals like Reading and Leeds, and some Europe headline shows, etc.
Are you doing the Sticks and Stones show for them too?
Jordan Pundik: I don't think so, only for Reading and Leeds.
Is there anything else you'd like to say?
Jordan Pundik: Nothing else except for that we have tons of stuff coming up.
I don't get how this band has so much energy. Every show of theirs I have went to I always end up exhausted just halfway through the set! And now to be around all these years doing their SECOND 10 year tour. It speaks a lot to the music being from their heart and not just a good money making trick. Can't wait to see these guys again in SOFLO