Nov. 03--PITTSBURGH -- Fans have long known New Found Glory can rock a stage, but who knew the pop-punk pioneers looked so good on a gridiron, too?
The proof is in the music video for New Found Glory's fresh single "Connect the Dots," a highlight roll of the band in football helmets and shoulder pads, fighting for yardage in slow-motion fury against a bigger squad called The Brutes.
"Except we're playing with flowers instead of a football since the song is about a girl," noted Steve Klein, chief lyricist, rhythm guitarist and co-founder of the Florida band that will perform Nov. 14 at Stage AE. "We got the idea for the video because it's football season. It just shows how your friends are often helping you get through your problems with bad relationships."
Rocky relationships are a big part of the lyrical playbook for pop-punk, a genre that New Found Glory and Blink-182 introduced in the late-1990s.
Seven studio albums later, New Found Glory is still going strong. They haven't scored a crossover hit, with only 2002's "My Friends Over You" cracking the Billboard 100 chart. Their popularity stems from the reputation of their exuberant stage shows, which are captured on the appropriately titled "Kill It Live," the band's first concert album released a month ago.
"You put yourself at the show when you listen to the album," Klein said. "We're playing live but it's not perfect, and that's what is cool about it. It sounds raw. We thought it was important to get the crowd's reactions on there."
Recorded at two sold-out Anaheim shows, "Kill It Live" meshes stage banter and audience cheers with a veritable greatest-hits package of 17 songs.
The album ends with three new studio tracks, including "Connect the Dots" and "I Want to Believe," where singer Jordan Pundik seems to be railing against somebody with lines like, "Let's face it, you're a businessman who has a way with his words...put your money where your mouth is."
Klein insisted in a phone interview "that song is not about anyone in particular ... we're not calling out anybody. We don't like to do that." Though, seconds later, he acknowledged the song is inspired somewhat by "bands that break up then get back together two years later.
"We take pride in the fact we're not some band that goes on a long hiatus or threatens to break up every five seconds," Klein said.
New Found Glory, which also includes Chad Gilbert (lead guitar and backing vocals), Ian Grushka (bass) and Cyrus Bolooki (drums), will co-headline the Stage AE show with Chicago punk-rockers Alkaline Trio whose music video for "I Wanna Be a Warhol" features "Resident Evil" star Milla Jovovich.
"It's really exciting to go on the road with them, because we've known those guys for a long time," Klein said.
New Found Glory and Alkaline Trio played together in Pittsburgh before -- pat yourself on the back if you saw that September 2000 show at Club Laga (the headliner was Face to Face.)
Like many musicians who played the late-Laga, Klein harbors not-so-fond memories of lugging his equipment up several flights of steps. He also faintly recalls the band's first Pittsburgh area show being "in some industrial looking building" (the old Millvale Industrial Theater, perhaps?).
"Um ... maybe," Klein said. "All I know is I always look forward to playing in Pittsburgh. We always have a lot of fun there."
Many of New Found Glory's local fans have seen them on the Warped Tour, or on Halloween night 2011 at Club Zoo, as part of the band's "Pop Punk's Not Dead Tour."
Asked how pop-punk is faring these days, Klein quickly replies, "It still has a heartbeat," citing successful bands like Man Overboard, The Wonder Years and All Time Low.
"We're still selling out shows, and that's where the success of pop-punk comes from," Klein said. "Radio's not playing us as much as they used to, but fans are still coming out to the shows and that's what matters. The music will never die."
(c)2013 the Beaver County Times (Beaver, Pa.)
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