You can't really blame New Found Glory fans if they're a bit confused these days. Seems that every time NFG guitarist Chad Gilbert does an interview, he's feeding them another line about the direction of the band's new album. And those lines often head in different directions.
In October, he was promising a new, mature sound, unlike anything fans had ever heard before (see "New Found Glory Guitarist Promises Less Whiny Vocals, Relaxes With Darth Vader"). Then in November, he backtracked, saying that the album would be anything but mature, and that longtime NFG fans had nothing to worry about (see "New Found Glory Guitarist Reassures Fans That Next LP Will Not Be Mature"). He took December off (because no one does interviews during the holidays), but this month he's back with even more information about the new album. And if fans were flummoxed in the past, well, they haven't heard anything yet.
"We just went into the studio with Thom Panunzio, who's worked with Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty and, like, ['70s rockers] Grand Funk Railroad," Gilbert laughed. "And the studio we're at belongs to none other than [sensitive '70s folk-rocker] Jackson Browne. So yeah, we're doing some things differently."
After finishing their time at Malibu, California's Morning View Studios in early December (see "New Found Glory Living, Recording At Incubus' Old Haunt"), NFG brought 14 demoed tracks to their label, Geffen Records, where they caught the attention of Panunzio, who in addition to his production work also serves as an A&R executive for the label. He liked what he heard so much that he declared that he had to be part of the project.
"Basically, he's never recorded a band like us before. But the guy's a complete legend and he's worked with all the best, so we were like 'Of course!' " Gilbert said. "It's really a big compliment, which is something this band doesn't get very often. So it feels really good."
On Panunzio's insistence, the band entered Browne's Groovemasters Studio in Santa Monica, California, on Monday to begin work on the album. By Thursday, drummer Cyrus Bolooki had finished laying down drum tracks on the 14 songs, and now Gilbert and the rest of NFG will get to work on the tunes, which the guitarist describes as "really hooky, and 100-percent love songs."
"Thom is this really old-school producer, so he says things like, 'The record will be done when it's done. And that could take two years,' " Gilbert said. "But personally, I think we'll be finished recording in March. I mean, all the songs were finished when we left Malibu, and we don't mess around. When it comes time to do my guitar parts, I'll have them finished in, like, three days."
The still-untitled album is due sometime this fall, and while little is set in stone, Gilbert did say that tentative song titles include "Oxygen," "It's Not Your Fault," "On My Mind" and "Hold My Hand." And just to put some fans to ease, he wants it to be known that although Panunzio is steeped in classic rock, that doesn't mean New Found Glory are going to start sounding like Grand Funk Railroad anytime soon.
"Like I said, it's going to sound like us. People don't need to worry," Gilbert laughed. "Basically, we can't wait for fans to hear it."