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Punk Band Finds "Maturity" On Latest Release

Of the Oakland Press

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Cyrus Bolooki and the rest of New Found Glory balk at the term “departure” — even though it keeps cropping up to describe the Florida quintet’s fi fth album, “Coming Home.”

The drummer acknowledges that the record, which debuted at No. 19 on the Billboard 200 chart last month, is a bit more polished and melodic than the commercial punk sound of its predecessors — the last three of which have gone gold. But he doesn’t want anyone to fear that wholesale changes are afoot, either.

“We don’t want anyone to think we’re not ourselves anymore,” Bolooki, 26, explains. “We spent a lot of time before we even wrote this record, hanging out at home, living our lives, growing up. We also spent more time together than we ever had before, getting our bond stronger between each other and letting our ideas go to the next level.

“We really developed our ideas and let everything come out very naturally. So this is just as much about growth and maturity as it is a departure.”

New Found Glory has certainly had time to grow up. The quintet — which also includes singer Jordan Pundik, guitarists Chad Gilbert and Steve Klein, and bassist Ian Grushka — formed nine years ago in Coral Springs, Fla., and immediately became a hit on the local punk scene, selling out of its initial EP, “It’s All About the Girls.” The group signed with an independent label, Drive-Thru, in 1999 and was quickly picked up by a major (MCA, now Geffen), and hit pay dirt with its second full-length album, a self-titled set released in 2000 and containing a new version of the established fan favorite “Hit or Miss.”

Tours with blink-182 and as a headliner on the Warped Tour cemented NFG’s following and yielded more hits, including “My Friends Over You” and “All Downhill From Here.” But after extensive touring to support 2004’s “Catalyst,” the group members scattered to their new homes around the country for some muchneeded rest.

“You spend so much time on the road that, before you know it, a couple of years goes by, so it was nice to see what — I hate to say it — normal life is like,” Bolooki, NFG’s “lone single guy,” says with a laugh. “A couple of the guys are married. A couple have kids. That definitely, I’m sure, contributed to our growth.”

NFG started “Coming Home” at the rented Morning View mansion in Malibu, Calif., where Incubus recorded the album of the same name.

“We spent 24 hours a day there,” Bolooki reports. “If we had ideas come out at 10 at night, we could get everyone together and hash them out. We never had a chance to do that before.”

The group took the 20 songs it came up with at Morning View to producer

Thom Panunzio (Ozzy Osbourne, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan), a longtime NFG champion Bolooki describes as sympathetic to what the band wanted to do this time out.

A case in point: When Pundik was having a hard time recording some of his vocals for the acoustic-oriented song “Too Good to Be” in the record company’s state of the art studio, Panunzio rolled “several thousand dollars’ worth of equipment” across the street to an abandoned warehouse.

“It was so cold in there, you wanted to light a campfire,” Bolooki says. “But we just sat in a circle doing group vocals and all the snaps and claps ourselves. The microphone could’ve been a campfi re. It felt really great.

“Thom just brought in this great thing early on where he realized there was something special with these songs and really wanted to capture that vibe. It was just like, ‘Let’s get this thing comfortable. If we feel good, we’re gonna record well.’ ”

NFG is ready to work hard to make its fans feel comfortable with the new material, too. The group plans a year’s worth of touring, with trips planned to Europe, Japan and other territories, in addition to a return to the United States in spring 2007.

Bolooki says he and his bandmates fi gure that’s advisable given “Coming Home’s” somewhat different sound. But, he adds, NFG is hopeful that it won’t be too hard a sell.

“I think the topics we talk about are pretty universal,” Bolooki says. “Whether you’re young or old, you’re gonna deal with relationships. And as we grow up, we fi gure a lot of our fans are growing up, too, and dealing with the same stuff we are.

“But there’ll always be that snotty, loud, brash side to what we do as well. We’re not gonna lose that; it just becomes part of the mix. We just feel we’re in a great place in our lives right now, and as a group.”

New Found Glory, the Early November, Cartel and Limbeck perform Friday (October 13th) at Clutch Cargos, 65 E. Huron, Pontiac. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $20. Call (248) 333-2362 or visit

Web Site: www.clutchcargos.com

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