New Found Glory's Steve Klein on New Album, Changes in Pop Punk, and the Fate of International Superheroes of Hardcore
With the exception of a few heartbreaks, New Found Glory has continued to write music for the past 14 years with minimal obstacles. And since the band's songs largely deal with matters of the heart, you could consider all those bum relationships song fodder.
The band is gearing up for the release of their seventh album, Radiosurgery, which aims for nostalgia. "We wanted to go back to the roots of pop punk music. We wanted to bring that back with New Found Glory's style, but also as a throwback," says guitarist Steve Klein.
NFG brings the Pop Punk's Not Dead Tour to Marquee Theatre on Saturday, October 8.
We recently caught up with Steve Klein to discuss the inspiration for Radiosurgery, the evolution of the pop punk scene, and the fate of the International Superheroes of Hardcore.
Up on the Sun: What can we expect from your upcoming album, Radiosurgery?
Steve Klein: This is our seventh record, the seventh full-length record that we put out. We wanted to go back to more of the roots of pop punk music. We started listening more to old Green Day and old Ramones records. We feel like music nowadays is kind of lost. Some of it's special, [but] the roots of the music that started it all, we've kind of lost a lot of that. We wanted to bring that back obviously with New Found Glory's style, but also as a throwback, [and] make it sound more classic sounding.
UOTS: Does "I'm Not the One" happen to be a reference to the Descendents?
SK: Not purposely. That's a lot of references in there that you could probably catch, kids are going to notice stuff like that. It wasn't a conscious thing, it was more of a subconscious thing.
UOTS: You guys recruited Neal Avron, who produced three of your earlier albums. He pushed you guys to keep reworking your new material. What were some of your biggest challenges making Radiosurgery?
SK: He was really hard on us with the songs that he would let us record. He said until we had 11 songs, we're not going to record the record. We kept on recording demos and sending them back and forth and working them out in the band. What was cool about this record is Chad [Gilbert] will record demos on his computer in Garage Band, then send them to me, then we'd work out the songs over iChat, over webcam and stuff. We all live in different places, so we wrote a bunch of demos that way and then we'd send them over to Neal, and once we were ready to record the record, we went into pre-production to figure out the songs and make them the best they can be.
UOTS: Can you explain the inspiration behind the title track, "Radiosurgery"?
SK: "Radiosurgery" was one of the last songs that was written. I feel like we came up with that song to encompass the whole record, like the complete thought. It can either be the first song on the record or the last song. Basically, the record's the stages you go through in a break up. "Radiosurgery" is something we came up with where the only way to get this person out of your head is to get them surgically removed. Kind of like that movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The only way to get it out of your head is to get it surgically removed from your head.
UOTS: In honor of the Pop Punk's Not Dead Tour, what are some of the major changes you've noticed in the genre since the band first got started?
SK: I think the biggest difference now is people, especially in bands, are too worried about their look and their production on stage and stuff like that [rather] than making quality music. I think back then, it was so new and raw that people just wanted to play shows and write cool songs. I think at the time, when it got bigger in the mainstream, people made it more into a fad. I think over time, those bands have been weeded out. Only the real bands, the people who work hard, and the [bands that make] real music stick around.
UOTS: Is it difficult for you to play songs that were written about relationships that happened over ten years ago?
SK: No, it's all just written so long ago. It's kinda cool that people still react to those songs after so long. Every night, we don't really play the songs for us, we play the songs for the people that want to hear them. We've played that song "Hit or Miss," like, a million times. It's always fun for me to play that song so many times when everybody in the crowd is singing along and having a good time.
UOTS: Plus, you got through a whole tour playing the self-titled album night after night.
SK: Every song is fun to play as long as people are there having a good time. That's what's good about the self-titled tour, everybody knew what they were going to see, so it was a lot of fun.
UOTS: Cyrus [Bolooki] joined the band after only a couple shows and since then, you've had the same line up. How have you made it work?
SK: It's kind of like family. We're close enough to where we know how to bother each other, and we also know how to leave each other alone at certain times. We're all family and that's how it works. We started this band when we were in high school, and we never thought that we'd make it this far. This is all of our dreams. The fact that this is what we want to do, we have to stick together and get along so we can make music.
UOTS: How did International Superheroes of Hardcore start and do you have any plans to continue it?
SK: It started out as a joke when we were recording Coming Home. We were recording in that house in Malibu and we'd do New Found Glory songs during the day and would mess around and write these fast, hardcore songs at night just for fun. So, we'd play them for our friends and people were like, 'Oh this is so good, you should release this,' or whatever. And then when we got off Geffen, the time period between Coming Home and Not Without a Fight, we put that record out on Bridge 9 with New Found Glory and had fun with it.
I don't think we really have any plans with it. One of the members died. The villains killed one of the members, so we have to figure that out.
UOTS: You'll have to avenge him! What about another From Your Screen to Your Stereo?
SK: There's no talks of it right now. We want to stick to playing original music as much as we can. We have so many cover songs.