"It feels like everything has come full circle," the New Found Glory drummer says after being patched into his old area code. "New Times was the first good-sized publication to give us press back in 1998, when we were starting."
Formed in 1997 by five Broward high school alumni, his band played wherever it could, including local venues such as Club Q in Davie, before getting a break on the Trojan Warped Tour by playing the local stage at the Pompano Beach Amphitheatre back in 1998.
Broward is a far cry from Billings, the band's latest stop on the 47-city Warped Tour (now brought to you by Vans). "It's farther than I ever thought I would be," says the 21-year-old, whose first impulse was to call his mom from a shopping-mall pay phone when his band got the call from MCA. That was a little over a year ago. Sticks and Stones, the band's first album with the label, made Billboard's Top Five almost immediately after it was released in June, and now, for the first time, New Found Glory is headlining its old punk-rock alma ma-tour.
"Warped is like a cool band camp," Bolooki says of the show, which is outfitted with a water park, reverse daycare for parents, and a subcity promoting various nonprofits. He stresses that full summer membership has its privileges. "We get to build relationships with bands we've loved, bands we used to pay to see back when this show was at the Edge."
According to Bolooki, many Warped bands forgo the post-show bacchanal to chow down and play video games together; "Medal of Honor" is a favorite. "We avoid 'Behind the Music' clichés," he says, noting that the Warped work ethic begins at 10 a.m., when every band finds out the time it will play that night.
The bonds that form between groups on this tour allow for unusual last-minute guest-spotting. With little more than one day's notice and two hours to rehearse, Bolooki has been asked to sit in for the drummers of Good Charlotte and NOFX. "But that goes along with the whole vibe," he explains. "Everyone plays 30-minute sets. There are no egos on this tour. People are cool with each other."
"Head on Collision" is the next single from Sticks and Stones, an album inspired by leaving relationships and hometowns to pursue success on the West Coast. So, has success glorified everything for these guys now that it's been newly found? Are they swilling the swank life as L.A. rock-star lotharios? "Hardly. We live in the suburbs in Temecula, like, California's version of Coral Springs. And the love situation is just as bad as it was." But with age comes wisdom, and Bolooki offers this bit of it before getting to his rehearsal on a stage overlooking the mountains. "You can be happy without a girlfriend. Music helps."