Star-Bulletin Features

Friday, November 23, 2001

The boys in the band: Back row, from left, guitarist Steve Klein,
singer Jordan Pundik and drummer Cyrus Bolooki. Front row,
bassist Ian Grushka, left and guitarist Chad Gilbert.

Florida band finds glory
in journey

By Gary C.W. Chun

If there ever was an apt moniker for a bunch of spirited pop punkers from Coral Springs, Fla., look no further than New Found Glory. With a name like that, the twentysomething quintet appears destined to conquer the kids of the U.S. (and they're well on their way, having hit -- after tomorrow night anyway -- all the states but Alaska).

Guitarist Chad Gilbert sounded enthusiastic about the band's Hawaii debut concert tomorrow as headliners for this mini-Vans Warped winter club tour, "Warped Inside," but after cross-country music-making, seemed eager for some leisure.

"We've never been to Hawaii. I can't wait to go to your beautiful state and do some scuba diving!"

The band's been riding high with the support of major label MCA since releasing its high-energy debut, containing the lead single, "Hit or Miss."

It was just a little more than two years ago that the band -- whose members have known each other since high school -- were playing that song during a regular weekend club gig in the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area.

The breakup/heartbreak song fairly buzzes with trademark punk energy and pop musicality, one that Gilbert said "always gets the kids to go insane and go off" wherever they play it. Compared to an earlier version recorded for the independent Drive-Thru label, "the one on the new album does the song justice and is the best intro to the band's music."

And compared to the earlier (and cheaper) music video they did, "the newer version has a lot more production value in it. It's based on an idea of ours, and shows what it was like to tour beforehand, where we'd all have to sleep in one hotel room, waking up late to get to the gig that day and all hop into a van, where it'd either get a flat tire or break down.

"It also shows that we're really an independent-minded band, doing things for ourselves in a self-sufficient way."

Warped Inside Fall '01 Tour

New Found Glory with The 86 List and Tor
Where: World Cafe, 1130 N. Nimitz Highway
When: 6:30 p.m. tomorrow
Admission: $17
Call: 599-5764

Growing up in Coral Springs in southern Florida (described in the band's press release as "a town better known for hurricanes, crocodile-infested swamps and incontinent old people than for its music scene"), Gilbert said that "the main trauma of our lives was always around relationships with girls and friends. It was just like that TV show, 'Saved By the Bell.' Going to middle and high school there, there were your jocks, preps and wannabe G-money thugs. All happening in this town built in the late '70s, a supposedly perfect suburban community.

"In fact, the only fight I ever got into was when I was 14 years old, and someone threw chili on my shirt!"

Moving out of the town's local music scene to the big cities of Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, Gilbert made it a point to look beyond the state. "I wanted to see if we could get something happening elsewhere, so I checked out the Internet, looking up the indie record Web sites and their artists' tour dates.

"I would then call the clubs on those tours and try to get the band on those shows. We'd then rent a van and take it out-of-state illegally to do the gigs."

From there, they built a fan base, found a booking agent which led to more gigs, attracted interest from MCA and, voila!, New Found Glory has newfound near-fame.

Making a life in music is something Gilbert has always dreamed of. "Of all the other guys in the band, I've been in music the longest.

"When I was 15, I used to be a singer in a hardcore punk band, surrounded by guys in their 20s. I've been on tours since the eighth grade on. Now I'm in my 20s, and I hope to soon make a living playing music."

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