In the late ’90s, New Found Glory gave voice to legions of teens with asymmetrical haircuts and messy feelings. Two decades later, both the band and their early listeners have grown up, but they’re still rocking—and gaining new fans with every album. We caught up with guitarist/vocalist Chad Gilbert ahead of the band’s NFG: 20 Years of Pop Punk Tour, which stops at the Paradise Rock Club for back-to-back shows on March 29-31.
How does it feel to be on a 20th anniversary tour? As a fan, I know I feel old! It’s really cool. I can’t believe it’s been 20 years. I can’t believe time’s flown by so fast. At the same time, it’s weird because I kind of thought I’d be more tired or bitter or jaded by the time we hit 20 years. But, man, I’ve got to tell you there’s a light in our band that just makes me excited, because each of us is as excited about our new album as we are about this 20-year tour. I feel like we still have a drive and a hunger, and I feel our fans feel that way too. It’s cool because, I think even though there’s a lot of nostalgia that will be felt at the shows, it’s not just a bunch of our old fans coming back, it’s new fans who didn’t listen to punk when those records came out. It doesn’t feel like it’s just reliving something.
So you think the audiences will be a mix of new fans and diehards? Yeah, I think it’s both. We don’t just exist in our old catalog; we always believed in pushing our new albums. There are a lot of people who discovered us off of Resurrection. They weren’t alive when Nothing Gold Can Stay came out. Nothing Gold Can Stay came out in ’99, and some of our fans were born in, like, 2000! It’s really cool. I think that’s why I don’t mind playing the old records. I think that’s why I don’t mind playing the old records because the odds that you were into punk rock when this stuff—especially Nothing Gold Can Stay—actually came out are very slim. It’s cool to be able to sort of give [new] fans what they never would have had the chance of seeing.
Does your early music still resonate with you? I look at it in a way that you would look at an old photo. If you were going through old photos of yourself, from when you were a teenager … you wouldn’t want to be that person today. But you’re able to look at it and appreciate it for what it was and what it is. I think that’s how I can relate to those old records. Do I feel the same as I did when I was a teenager? No. Would I write songs with the same lyrics now? We wouldn’t, but that doesn’t mean when you look at your past that you’re like, “That sucked.” It’s awesome that we were a part of that.
You’re married [to Hayley Williams of Paramore] now. How does touring compare to when you were a bunch of young dudes in a van? You value both more. We value our family time, and we value our lives and our families. We love having real responsibilities. Because we’ve toured for so long, a lot of our lives were spent on the road so we really appreciate home life. But at the same time, being home and being married, you learn that “Hey, we have this gift, this band,” and we value it more now. And having a home life … gives you this sort of confidence… You can play music just for the passion of it. You can be more sincere. You can be less concerned about outside perspective because you have a home foundation.
Can you see yourself doing this for another 20 years? A 40-year anniversary tour? [Laughs.] Yeah, I definitely do. … There’s no feeling like playing. Does touring get really hard sometimes? Yeah. Does home life get hard sometimes? Yeah. But playing on stage is always fun, so maybe we won’t tour six months out of the year on our 40th anniversary tour, but we’ll always be a band. Nothing will ever keep us from wanting to go somewhere and play a show.
THE IMPROPER’S 2017 SPRING ARTS PREVIEW: COMEDY | THEATER | VISUAL ARTS | DANCE | FILM