Broward County is the birthplace of one of the most successful pop-punk bands of all time. Who, you ask? New Found Glory! Duh. Around these parts, we even remember when they used to have an A before the name.
Considered to be the "godfathers of pop punk" New Found Glory has certainly paved the way for many of the acts we'll be seeing on this year's Vans Warped Tour. And with seven albums and 15 years of playing together, we're not sure these guys will ever retire.
In the midst of all the Warped madness, drummer Cyrus Bolooki spoke to New Times about the state of pop punk music today, his favorite New Found Glory album, and why Blood on the Dance Floor is the most punk-rock act on the tour.
New Times: This is the first time you guys are back on Warped Tour in five years. What was the first Warped Tour you attended?
Cyrus Bolooki: Well, there were a couple of guys who went to the first Warped Tour in South Florida at the Edge, which is now at the Revolution. And it wasn't really outdoors, except kind of in the parking lot. I went in 1997; that's when it was at Pompano Beach. Deftones played that year. Also Suicide Machines, Millencolin, Blink-182, you name it. And it was awesome. I thought it was amazing.
There were so many bands out there. Bands that I had just gotten into. Bands that from that day forward became some of my favorite bands. And it was only one year later, or maybe it was '99, that New Found Glory was lucky enough to get offered to play on the local stage at Warped Tour. It was in Pompano Beach, and the local stage was actually inside the amphitheater, so for us, it was amazing. We're playing on this massive stage. If you look inside the Nothing Gold Can Stay CD, the pictures inside are actually from that Warped Tour show.
We played that one show in South Florida, and it was really fun for us cause again we had grown up going to the Warped Tour, and we were now a part of it. The next year, I think we were offered a handful of shows on a smaller stage. Following that, it was two weeks on the main, and then we were offered the entire main stage. So it just kind of kept building from there. And 2007 was the last time doing it. So we're happy to be back five years later doing it.
How do you think Warped Tour has changed over the years?
It's definitely grown. Specifically in South Florida, it's changed venues a lot. It's changed by growing; the music has changed itself. You won't hear exactly the same type of bands that were on the tour ten, 12 years ago. But the ideology of Warped Tour bringing a whole bunch of bands and musical genres together is still the same.
It puts everyone on the same playing field in a sense. As a concertgoer and a fan, you get to go to a show for a pretty reasonable price and have the opportunity to see not only your favorite band but bands you might have never heard of and pick up on new music, vendors, and things. It just allows you to have fun for a day. And you don't even have to really like all of the bands on the Warped Tour lineup that come out. You are guaranteed to find one or two acts that you've never heard and will end up being into.
What are some of the bands [on Warped Tour] that you have gotten into?
One of the big advantages for us is that we've done the Warped Tour for so many years and there are a lot of bands on this year's tour that have been on it with us as well. So we have a lot of our friends out here with us. Bands like Taking Back Sunday, Bayside, Yellow Card, Four Year Strong, Man Overboard. These are all bands that we've gone out on tour with. So obviously we are hanging out with them every single day, watching them a lot, or hanging out backstage.&
Just being on the tour, there are a lot of bands that are really cool. Even a lot of bands that you might not expect us to like. Like I've spent a lot of time going back and forth between the main stages watching a lot of the acts. That band Pierce the Veil is really good. I don't know if this sounds weird. But I didn't really know them going into the tour. They put on a great live show. Even that band Of Mice and Men, which again most people probably think we wouldn't like. It's still not my cup of tea, but their drummer is amazing. I really appreciate and enjoy watching them. That band Make Do and Mend, they're really good. So many names on the tour. It's a really good, eclectic mix of music.
I have to ask, what about that band Blood on the Dance Floor?
[pause] Well, check it out. We've had the privilege of having Blood on the Dance Floor on our main stage. I heard a lot about them going in. So I obviously had my own preconceived notions about them going into this tour. But I also heard, I think it was the second day they were on the tour, someone said they are the most punk-rock band on the tour.
Now, if you take that comment on the surface, it's definitely like, "What are you talking about?" But it's almost true. Again, not necessarily my cup of tea. They're out there. They're different, and they champion that. They dress the part, they fit the part, they play music for the part. They're out there every day, putting on a crazy stage show. I think the craziest thing of it all is that they're some of the nicest guys in the world. So we've hung out with them a whole bunch. Again, it's not my cup of tea. I don't think you'll be seeing a New Found Glory/Blood on the Dance Floor tour, but supernice guys.
What do you think the state of pop-punk music is today? Do you think it will continue to survive for another few decades?
I think it's going to always survive. There are waves of music trends, you know? Hair metal isn't really in anymore like it was in the '80s. And Limp Bizkit-type rap-rock music is gone. But the thing about pop punk is when it started and kind of throughout its existence is that it's always been about being yourself. Not going towards a certain image. Not faking anything just to make a buck because a trend is popular. And I think that's why it continues to last and will for years to come.
There may only be a handful of bands that stand the test of time with it. And those are the bands that really do want to play the music because they love it, not just because it's popular.
I think that's the downfall of a lot of these other music genres. It becomes too commercialized, like stale and generic. Everybody is trying to do the same thing just because they see that someone else is getting popular off it. We're that type of band that is doing this because we grew up on bands like Green Day, a lot of the Fat Wreck Chords bands, even some emo music that just play music from the heart. These are bands playing music because they love playing music. Going out on tour because they want to bring their music to other people, and so we try to follow the same ideology as that. And I think that's one of the main reasons why we're still here for 15 years, with no end in sight.
You guys have put out an album around every two years, and it's been about a year since Radiosurgery was released...
Yeah, it's been a year. So we have like a year left. But we don't want to jump the gun or anything. As far as working on another record, we haven't made any plans of doing that just yet.
After this Warped Tour, we're going to take a month and a half off. There is a Warped Tour in the U.K. this year. They tried it once a few years back, and it didn't really work out. But they're going to do it again with just one show in London. So we'll go out there for that, which should be fun alongside a small U.K. tour that we'll be doing. Then in December, we're heading out on tour to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Sticks and Stones. And on that tour, we'll play the entire album all the way through, as well as a few other songs. That tour will go all around the country, including South Florida.
What's your favorite New Found Glory album?
You're asking all these really hard questions. [laughs] There are so many! You know, the stock answer would be Radiosurgery, since it's our new record. And I do really appreciate and enjoy that record. But I'm going to actually have to pick Catalyst. And the reason why is first off, I feel like at that time in our career, as far as recording and writing, we were working with Neal Avron on that record, and we had a really good rapport with him in the studio.
We actually recorded 17 tracks; only 14 ended up on the album. But there were 17 in total for international releases. But on that record, I like all the different things going on. I'm a big fan of production and engineering and the whole process that goes into making a record. That record we had a four-piece orchestra come in for a song, a choir come in for a song, all different instruments; I used a lot of different drum sets. So we got to kind of experiment on that album. It was a lot of fun. Very diverse and really strong.
After 15 years of touring, what's one of your favorite, craziest, or embarrassing tour story that you've got?vThere is a lot of them. But the most fond memory I have is when I broke my arm. Sounds weird. But it was around 11 years ago, right when everything started happening for us. We had just finished a tour with Blink-182; now we're on tour with H20 and Rx Bandits. One of our first huge headlining tours. And we're in New York City. So we're walking offstage before the encore. And it's dark. I'm walking off to go sideways off the stage, and I missed a step off the back of the stage. There was no railing or anything, and I broke my arm.
Oh my God. Wait, this happened in the middle of the set?
Yeah. I was out for two months. Luckily, I got back just in time to record Sticks and Stones. And then this leads into another wild tour story that happened the next night. I stayed out on tour with the band, 'cause I just wanted to help out and do whatever I could. So we're playing in Worcester, Massachusetts, I actually played one song with the band with one arm. Def Leppard style. I have to give a lot of credit to that guy. That is really difficult. I just played one song, and I did not do a very good job. And then two months later, we played the Buzz Bake Sale. My arm still wasn't completely healed; I had a partial cast on my arm. And I still played a song with the band.
Wow. That's wild. Are you looking forward to coming back South Florida for the Warped Tour this weekend?
Of course. It's home. So it's always special for us. Especially because it's really like coming full circle for us. You know, we started out on the local stage over a decade ago, and now we're back to play on the main stage for the first time in five years. And South Florida will always have a special place in our hearts.
New Found Glory at the Vans Warped Tour, 11:30 a.m. Saturday, July 28, at Cruzan Amphitheatre, 601-7 Sansbury's Way, West Palm Beach. Tickets cost $44.05.
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