It simply wasn’t supposed to be like this. Following the release of their seventh studio album Radiosurgery in September 2011, and the ten-year anniversary tour of the Sticks And Stones album last year, the evergreen pop-punks New Found Glory were supposed to be taking it easy this year, eventually coming back to work on album number eight sometime in 2014. No sooner had they announced the break, however, were they back at it – touring internationally, preparing the release of their first-ever live album and, yes, recording brand new songs. It seems reasonable enough, then, to ask straight up: Why the sudden change?
“Taking a break for us is kind of like not really planning anything,” says Steve Klein, the band’s rhythm guitarist. “We just wanted to go away for a while, do our own personal things, wait a little while longer between releasing records. Then we got the offer to co-headline a tour with Alkaline Trio, and we had wanted to put out a live record for a really long time. All these things started coming up again. We’re never really on a break, I guess. We’re always working.”
In March, coinciding with work commencing on a new LP, the band booked two nights at Chain Reaction, an all-ages venue in Anaheim in California’s Orange County, to record Kill It Live. “It’s a really cool, really intimate venue that we’ve played numerous times over our career,” Klein says of the 250-capacity room. “We just know that every time that we play a show there, it’s going to be a lot of fun. It was the perfect environment to record a live album. We took a picture of everybody that came to the shows, so the whole layout of the booklet is a collage of those people along with photos of us and the show itself – it looks really cool.”
Kill It Live includes tracks from all of the band’s albums in a career-spanning setlist, as well as adding on three brand new studio tracks at the end to tide fans over between albums. It all comes at the exact right time for the band, working as a substantial stopover release. “People have been asking about us releasing a live record for so long now, and we’re kind of in transition between labels right now,” explains Klein. “Chad [Gilbert, guitar] has an imprint on Bridge Nine, so it was a cool opportunity to not only get something out on Bridge Nine but to also do something that we haven’t done before.”
The live recordings themselves turned out pristine in quality – it’s essentially as close as one can get to a New Found Glory show without actually buying a ticket. The first night of recording, however, didn’t quite go as planned – early on in the set, Gilbert copped an electric shock from a poorly wired microphone, knocking him out cold and temporarily cutting the show. Klein says it was one of the flat-out scariest moments the band has ever collectively experienced, onstage or off.
“It was maybe in the third or fourth song on the first night,” he says. “He passed out onstage and had to get carried off in an ambulance. We had to do the rest of the show without him as a four-piece. That was kind of shitty, as we were all really worried about our brother. We made a point of finishing the show, though, because those people that came wanted to hear music – we didn’t want them to get even more upset or go home disappointed. Thankfully, Chad ended up being completely fine and we were able to get it together for the next show.”
If Kill It Live isn’t enough to quench your thirst for all things New Found Glory, then you’re in luck – the band will be back in Australia this December as a part of the recently revived Vans Warped Tour. NFG will be taking to the stage across the country alongside international names like The Offspring, The Used, Simple Plan and Hatebreed, as well as a local contingent including Parkway Drive and Tonight Alive. Last here in April 2012 alongside fellow stalwarts Taking Back Sunday, NFG have been visiting for over a decade – and there’s a reason the band always makes the effort to come and perform here.
“The environment and the people there are just so nice,” gushes Klein. “We have so many friends down there. We did the last Warped tour that happened in Australia back in 2001. There were a lot of fond memories on that tour. We all travelled on Greyhound buses – it was us, All, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The Vandals and all these other bands. It was a lot of fun – that tour was an experience in itself. Over the years, we’ve come back and done things like Soundwave, which is always a lot of fun. We get the opportunity to tour with bands we never thought we’d get to tour with, like Nine Inch Nails and Alice In Chains. The headliners are always memorable, and there always seems to be a lot of love coming from Australia. That’s why we keep coming back.”
BY DAVID JAMES YOUNG
New Found Glory play Vans Warped Tour with The Offspring, Parkway Drive, Simple Plan, The Used, We Came As Romans and more at Barangaroo, Sydney on Sunday December 1. Kill It Live out Friday October 25 through Violently Happy/Bridge Nine/3Wise Records.