New Found Glory's Jordan Pundik Asks: What Does Sticks and Stones Mean to You?
To know that it's been ten years since the release of New Found Glory's album Sticks and Stones is completely surreal. Not only for the band, but also for the fans. Namely, the bulk of us who are nearing our thirties. We can remember a time that feels not so far off, when we were still teenagers going to see the band play at venues like Club Q and even a few high school parking lots, belting out the lyrics to "The Blue Stare" and "It Never Snows in Florida." Those days may be long gone, but New Found Glory is letting fans relive them as they embark on a tour in celebration of the tenth anniversary of the album that changed their career.
In a nostalgia heavy conversation, New Found Glory's singer Jordan Pundik spoke to the New Times about what Sticks and Stones means to him, the fans, and how things changed for the band over the last 15 years.
New Times: What does Sticks and Stones mean to you?
Jordan Pundik: Whoa. Well... [Laughs.] What does it mean to you? No, I'm just kidding. I guess, for me the fact that it's been out as long as it has been is pretty crazy. I mean, we've been a band for fifteen years, and it doesn't even feel like the album came out ten years ago. And because we tour so much, I get to meet a lot of people, and talk to a lot of our fans, and so many of them tell us that Sticks and Stones was a big record for them. Especially people that are our age, they grew up on that record.
That's weird to say, because I'm not old at all. [Laughs] I recorded it when I was 19 or 20, I think. So, it was a big record and also bands have cited that record as being influential which is very cool and flattering. I think doing this tour and playing the songs is a cool thing. So, to me that's the biggest thing, that it's been an influential record on a lot of people. It was a big album for the fans, and for us.
Do you consider the album to be a major turning point for New Found Glory?
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Yeah. That was kind of what brought us over that hump. We were building and building, had a lot of hype, touring a lot, playing dumps, playing big venues and small venues, sleeping on floors then to hotels, being in vans and then in a tour bus, all this back and forth. That record came out, and it was this crazy hump that we got over. Before that we were doing a lot of touring, including with Blink-182, and that really helped also. It wasn't until that Sticks and Stones came out that it gave us that push, it got us over the hump.
What would you say is your favorite song off the album?
I would say for me, my favorite is probably "Sonny" only because it's a slower song, people are stoked when that song starts. It's closest to me because it's about my grandfather when he passed away and the song has helped people when they have lost someone. People are always coming up to me and telling me how that song has helped them cope with a loss of a loved one or a friend.
Did you ever think that your band and music was going to be so influential or impact on people?
No, never. I never thought we'd have that sort of impact, ya know.
What's one of your favorite memories from either recording the album or touring on it?
Definitely the whole time leading up to that record. My biggest memory is moving to San Diego to record that album. At the time we had this guy Rick DeVoe managing us and Blink, and we would stay at his house. He was this total bro guy who lived near the beach, and was really into surfing and fish, and he got me into that kind of stuff. And when I was finally able to live there for longer than a day, I ended up staying, which is where I've been up until a few months ago.
How do you think New Found Glory has changed as a band?
Well back then we were 21-years-old, I mean Chad was around 19 at the time, and so now we're older, and some of us have families and it's a lot different because there is more at stake. The band is our livelihood. Before, we had this momentum going, we were still living at home with our parents. When I moved out of my house is when we went to record Sticks and Stones. We were young. People think we're this old band, but we just started when were young. We were 16 when the band started. It's crazy. I feel like an old man. [Laughs] But, I'm not.
Because of how long New Found Glory has been around, your fans' ages range from really young to the same age as you guys. What's that like?
I think it's awesome. I think that there are a lot of punk rock bands that have been around a long time, like Bad Religion and not discrediting them, there are still younger kids going to see them. But, for the most part, at least when I've gone to see them, the crowd is older. With our band, I feel like it's this never-ending cycle of old fans turning their younger siblings into our fans, and I see young faces in our crowd. These young kids wearing the Wonder Years and Man Overboard T-shirts, so to still be relevant after all this time is very cool. It's a great thing.
How do you think the pop punk music scene has changed over the last ten years?
There's definitely a lot more bands doing this style of music, whereas back then when the album came out, it was really only a few of us. Blink, Fenix TX, Taking Back Sunday, Brand New when they were a pop punk band. Don't let them ever forget that. [Laughs.] Now, there are so many bands, which is cool, but at the same time it's a feeling of I can't imagine what it must be like to be a 16-year-old at Warped Tour and every five seconds having something in your face about a band, a flyer, a postcard, ya know?
There are more bands than clothing companies now, and then each guy in the band has a clothing company. [Laughs.] It's hard, I can't imagine what it must be like. I like to stay in the know, always listening to new music, we try to show that in our tours. We have this tour coming up, and we have smaller bands coming out on tour with us like Candy Hearts.
On this tour, you guys have decided to play smaller venues. For example, down here you went with Culture Room versus Revolution. Why that decision?
I feel like we wanted it to be a special cool thing for our fans, the ones who are diehard. We had just finished Warped Tour and touring off Radiosurgery for a long time, and the Pop Punks Not Dead tour. We still wanted to have one last U.S. tour before we take a little break, and we didn't want it to be a crazy big thing because we just did a bunch of touring. So, I feel like this was the best way to do a cool thing and it worked out because there are a lot of people who are bummed that couldn't get tickets. We're always trying to do fun things and cool experiences for our fans, and we'll have specialty items at the merch booth.
Will you be playing the album from start to finish on the tour?
Yes, and then probably do around 8 or 9 more songs from other records. Probably more fan favorites as opposed to singles which is what we've been talking about doing. Make it a really cool encore. We'll see how it goes.
Growing up in South Florida, you've both seen and played a bunch of shows over the years, what's one of your favorite memories of New Found Glory's early days?
My fondest memory is when we would play shows, and it would just be all of our friends from school. Our friends would be up on stage, or in the crowd, wherever. Our family just hanging out. It was just family, and friends, everyone being supportive. There was no jealousy. And it was a cool feeling to see that, and being like a kid who didn't have that many friends in high school, to then play shows and be popular in that way with older kids who were in bands. Ya know? Bands like Strongarm and Further Seems Forever, being accepted by those kinds of people was cool, a great feeling.
New Found Glory Sticks and Stones 10 Year Anniversary Tour with Candy Hearts and The Story So Far. Sunday, December 16, at Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $25.
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