The year is 2002. Off the back of releasing their third studio album, Sticks and Stones, a small time pop punk act from Coral Springs, Florida is included on the 2002 Warped tour alongside such established acts as The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Pennywise. It’s New Found Glory’s first ever tour of Australia and speaking with Mixdown about the upcoming 20th anniversary tour which hits our shores in August, vocalist Jordan Pundik reminisces fondly about that first experience, which was a complete baptism of fire.
“There was a bunch of bands from the US all together on that tour and it wasn’t just us experiencing Australia for ourselves, which I kind of wish we did,” Pundik says. “But then at the same time, I have a lot of great memories of that tour and going over there. We were just getting more popular in the US, and we had just completed the Take Off Your Pants and Jacket tour with Blink 182 throughout Canada and the US. Those shows were amphitheatres and big stadium shows. People knew who we were.”
“We get to Australia and no one was singing along. We were the new kids on the block. It was definitely cool, but at the same time it was like we were the younger brothers on tour. All the bands travelled together and we were bussed across the country, where as now, we just fly everywhere.”
In the early days of the band, there were backups on the horizon in case things didn’t work out, yet as the venues got bigger and bigger, Pundik felt that backup plans weren’t necessary. “We just keep touring and leaving and putting records out and then all of a sudden Russia says come play a show, and Singapore says come play a show, and Japan and all these places that I never thought we’d get the opportunity to play. Hopefully we can continue to do it as long as we can.”
In the lead up and to coincide with the ‘20 years of Pop Punk’ tour, NFG hit the studio to lay down their ninth studio album Makes Me Sick. Despite 20 years in the scene, throughout the albums ten tracks, the initial spark and charisma first heard on their debut is still present throughout tracks such as ‘Your Jokes Aren’t Funny’ and ‘Blurred Vision’. Over the course of the album cycle, how has the process changed much?
“I think that we are definitely comfortable in our own skin now, knowing who we are as a band and what we want to talk about,” says Pundik. “We are all on the same page now, when it comes time to make a record. Before, it was a little trickier because there was so many ideas going around and at the height of our career, there was a lot of pressure put towards us and now I feel we can just do what we do. If people like it, then great. If they don’t that’s okay too.”
On the 20th anniversary tour which is currently weaving its way through the US, the band are giving crowds one unforgettable night of music playing two albums from their discography in full. The idea of which was spawned by the fans. “We wanted this tour to be special. Because 20 years is a long time to be doing a pop punk band, and for me personally connecting with the fans is also really important. People were asking what we were going to do for the 20-year anniversary and they said it would be really cool to hear this record in full and that record, so we decided to play two records a night. People wanted to hear those first six records, and that was really cool because they were the ones that made us the band that we are today.”
Last touring Australia in 2015 on the back of their previous album Resurrection, Pundik feels that these shows are going to be extra special due to the fact that every Australian tour is ‘insane’ and despite their being no promise of birthday cake, it will be an umtached experience to see pivotal albums from the band played in full.
“With this being a 20 anniversary, there is this different energy in the crowd than just a normal regular old show. Granted we are playing smaller venues, we are doing multiple nights and some of the times there is no crowd barrier and that’s insane. I’m hoping the energy that we’ve received from US crowds will be the same in Australia. I’m hoping it’s balls to the wall.”
New Found Glory are touring Australia in August, for more information head to livenation.com.au. Makes Me Sick is out now through Hopeless Records.