Chad Gilbert, guitarist for pop-punk band New Found Glory, is convinced his group can't lose with its new single "All Downhill From Here," which goes to radio April 6. If the track tanks with the public, the prophecy will be fulfilled, and even if it's the biggest single in the band's career, Gilbert claims the prediction of the title will still come true.
"It's a great irony for me because when you blow up gigantic and enormous, there's only one way to go, and that's down," he said, laughing.
Bred on punk long before it became trendy, the members of New Found Glory ascribe to an old-school ethos. Sure, they're happy being all over the radio, but that's not the primary goal. Even after the public has moved onto the next young, fresh-faced, tattooed rockers in the punk-rock assembly line, New Found Glory will be content writing songs for themselves and playing for their devoted fans.
"We've always existed regardless of how popular our band is," Gilbert said. "We've been around for a while, and we can tour regardless of whether there's a single on the radio or not. And that's really special. We can hit a certain peak and you might not hear about us for the next few years, but man, we'll still be on tour and still be playing in front of our fans."
"All Downhill From Here," which is the first offering from the group's upcoming album, Catalyst (May 18), is propulsively poppy, starting with a charged riff that fades to a muted chug as the vocals kick in. For the second half of the verse, the band launches into a slamming punk rhythm, then segues into the harmony-laden chorus. The volume drops even more for the jangly, reflective bridge, but the song ends with the power and bouncy energy with which it began.
The track encapsulates the dynamics and diversity of Catalyst, although Gilbert wasn't trying to encapsulate anything when he came up with the tune. He was just trying to steer his truck.
"I was driving to practice, and I started singing the riff in my head out of nowhere," he said. "We were in pre-production writing new songs at the time, and when I got to practice, I said, 'Guys, I thought of this riff. Check it out.' And I wrote the whole song right there that day."
While "All Downhill From Here" was penned to describe a doomed romantic relationship, Gilbert said the song can have many different meanings to different people. "It's about when any kind of relationship with someone goes sour and things go south from there."
New Found Glory shot a video for the track on March 15 in Los Angeles with director Meiert Avis, who has previously worked with U2, Bruce Springsteen and Audioslave, among others. For the clip, the director hired a group of animators from France called No Brains to provide a surreal element to the band's performance.
"No Brains combine clay, models and computer graphics to create this amazing stuff," Gilbert said. "The whole performance was us in front of a green screen, but after they add all the animation it will feature all these little monster creatures that walk up like an army and build this whole crazy world around us. As we're playing, we continue to get knocked up higher into the sky because they're building this bizarre world that we're exploding through."
New Found Glory were stoked after they read Avis' video treatment because they've gotten tired of videos that attempt to capture heartbreak, and they wanted a video plot that had nothing to do with their lyrics.
"So many bands have the same performance-based videos, and it's so lame," Gilbert said. "I know bands whose labels rent a crowd, so they have these fake audiences that jump up and down trying to make it look like a pit or something. We wanted to do something different than that, so we really stepped out of the box for this video."