New Found Glory recently wrapped up Radiosurgery, their seventh full-length, due October 4 via Epitaph. This time out, the band turned to producer Neal Avron, who helmed three early NFG albums (2000's self-titled release, 2002's Sticks And Stones and 2004's Catalyst). A few weeks ago, while the band was in the thick of recording, AP caught up with guitarist Chad Gilbert. Part one of our interview is right here; part two is below.
Earlier in our conversation, you said that Radiosurgery “has to be good, because if it’s not good, we can’t continue. So we have way more at stake than a lot of other bands.” It’s interesting you guys are feeling a little bit of pressure. I wonder, how many bands who have been around like you guys have do feel that pressure?
The thing with us—it’s not even pressure. The truth of the matter is, it’s almost a pressure we put on ourselves. The difference between us and a lot of other bands that have been around for years… We’re very open—we love new music, we love signing new bands, we love all different types of music. We’re still inspired by young bands. And I feel like when I tour with other bands that have been around for awhile, they don’t really know newer bands. They’re sort of stuck in their ways, or they’re just not inspired—they play what they play, and that’s it. Every album might sound similar. For us, we love doing what we do; the whole writing thing is so much fun.
Coming into Radiosurgery, there was more of a vision. Not Without A Fight was, “Let’s record a New Found Glory album.” Coming Home [also] had somewhat of a vision; we wanted to make a record that was more like, you put [it] on in your home stereo. With this album, I would sit down with a guitar and write a riff. And it would sound like New Found Glory. But it would sound like a New Found Glory that I didn’t want to play. That’s not what we were going for on this record. I’d physically make myself dump songs that felt safe. [Radiosurgery] still sounds like New Found Glory—it’s a hard thing to explain, but we wanted a certain style of record. We wanted a fun, punk, upbeat record. So if I started writing a song that was a slower, mellower, mid-pace thing, I was like, “I don’t want to play that style,” so we would dump it and try to write a new one.
What kind of topics are you guys talking about?
[Lightly] Girls! Girls, girls, girls! What else do you need to talk about? We’re in a band, we go on our, our lives are simple. What are we going to complain about? [sings] “I got a flat tire, the other day.” We’re not going to lie. I don’t want to sound ignorant, but we’re a very sincere band. But I will tell you this: It’s not very vague, it’s not just girls. Honestly, it’s more about sort of losing your mind, insanity. We’ve had a breakup in our band, let’s just say that, that was very, very severe and very dangerous. It’s for them to talk about, not me. Someone pretty much lost their mind [and] did a lot of things that were pretty scary for all of us. We’ve all been through that…I wrote about it on our website, certain things sort of haunt you in your life. That’s where the title [Radiosurgery] comes from, it’s like a brain surgery. The metaphor is, like, being able to remove this person from your brain, because if you can literally remove thought—or this memory—everything could be good. A lot of the songs are about that, or losing control and not being able to escape this person. It’s not like a sad breakup…the lyrics aren’t ‘sad, poor me,’ they’re more about [being] on the edge of insanity.
And radio songs, they can heal you in a way. Listening to a Green Day song or a Ramones song, it props you back up.
Yeah, totally, totally. But really, there are a lot of the songs on the record with lyrics about losing your mind and having someone stuck in your brain. The word “head” and “brain” get used a lot on a couple songs. [Laughs.] It kind of felt like going to brain surgery and finding a title, and Radiosurgery worked out. The lyrics are pretty much about going insane, because you can’t get over a break-up, and losing your mind—and knowing better, but not being able to handle it.
Bethany Cosentino from Best Coast came in and did some vocals. Do you have plans for other people to come in?
No, just Bethany. “Caught In The Act” is the song she sang on. It’s the slowest [song] on the record, but like I said, every song’s upbeat. If you heard it next to one of our slow songs in the past, it would be a fast song. But it’s the slowest song on the record. The chorus goes [sings] “Oh-oh-oh,” and the lyrics are, “I’m caught in the act/But for tonight, let’s do something that we’re going to regret.” It has this feel where it called for almost a female backing vocal. Jordan could have done it, or I could have done it, but it just seemed like the way the lyrics are and talking about the sort of situation, it just seemed like it would add to it if it had her voice doubled.
And the way the “oh’s” are…if you heard Best Coast, [they] reference a lot of old, “My Boyfriend’s Back”-‘50s-style pop songs, and this chorus sort of had those kind of “oh”’s in it. I became friends with Best Coast after seeing them play, and they hit me up on Twitter and were New Found Glory fans, so we just became buds. When we were doing the song, we were like, “Oh, it would be perfect to get Bethany.” She was down, she’s really sweet.
Seeing her live—she has this emotional, yearning tone to her vocals. There’s depth of emotion.
People can say what they want about it, or the intentions behind it or anything, I don’t know. People always think they know everything, but really it was just a simple thing, like, if we didn’t get her, we wouldn’t have had a girl on the part. The part was sort of meant for her—when you hear it, you’ll get why. It wasn’t so much about trying to find some hip girl, it was just like, “Hey, this part would be perfect for her, if it works out.” And they were off tour, and she lives close by and she was psyched, so it worked out.