Don't bother explaining the virtues of living in La-La Land to Jordan Pundik. The New Found Glory singer doesn't want to hear it.
"I hate coming to L.A.," he said. "It sucks. When I leave for a weekend to go home, it's like a vacation."
Pundik endures the torture of traversing Interstate 10 and the gridlock of the dreaded 405 for a good cause: New Found Glory's fourth album, which he hopes will be out in mid-April. The band has been holed up in a Los Angeles studio recording the still-untitled LP since before Thanksgiving. They plan to track 18 songs, of which Pundik has laid his vocals over about a dozen.
But it's not Pundik's nasal tones and heart-on-sleeve lyrics that command front-runner status at this stage of the recording game. It's all about the double-axe assault of Chad Gilbert and Steve Klein.
"Guitarwise, it's a lot bigger sounding," Pundik said, comparing the new disc to last year's Sticks and Stones. "A lot of natural guitar sounds, no crazy effects. Not that we had that before, but this time it's more straightforward. The songs are a lot more riff-oriented too. The verses are all riffy and driving, and then the chorus comes in and it's still that New Found Glory-catchy, big chorus."
While in town to work on a side project, Andy Jackson of Hot Rod Circuit paid the boys a visit in the studio, and he'll likely receive a guest spot on backing vocals for his drop-in. A cameo will also go to James Dewees of the Get Up Kids.
"Chad was writing his lead over the main chorus [of one song] and it kind of sounded like ['Beverly Hills] 90210,' " Pundik joked. "We thought it was kid of cheesy, so we called James, who put a cool keyboard part on the intro and chorus. Now it's a good song."
Though they've yet to name the effort and no songs are titled — one does bear the working title "Belinda Carlisle Song" because of its big '80s leanings — the band is firm in its decision to let renowned Columbus, Ohio, tattoo artist Gunnar to handle the artwork. The preliminary sketches he's already submitted are, said Pundik, awesome.
After Gunnar finishes working on NFG's album cover, he'll put his signature ink on another thing precious to Pundik — the singer's own body. Although he's got the words "Bruised and Broken," from the Sticks and Stones song "Head on Collision," Pundik's the only member of the band without an actual New Found Glory tattoo. That's likely to change soon.
"I'm probably going to get something that has to do with whatever cover art is chosen," he said. "None of us have been tattooed by [Gunnar] because he lives so far away, but I already have first dibs on him the next time we come through Ohio."