Jordan Pundik, lead singer of pop-punk mainstays New Found Glory, is exhausted. But it’s not the nine-week international tour he has just wrapped up that has so worn him out – he got through that globetrotting set of shows just fine.
No, Pundik is scraping the bottom of his emotional barrel thanks to his other job as the father of two young boys – which, as far as he is concerned, is a far more draining occupation.
“I’m just sweeping up my fucking house because my kids leave a trail of fucking death everywhere,” Pundik laughs, the slight grimace of a very tired man twisting around his words. “Or a trail of tears, I don’t know.”
As is to be expected, becoming a father has changed Pundik’s life. Suddenly he’s found that he can’t just skip out on tour whenever he feels like it, or whenever his dedicated, committed fans start to miss him. He is constantly spinning plates, making sure the call of the road never overwhelms the call of two young kids – and, come to mention it, the call of his wife.
“It’s definitely a challenge balancing the music and home. My two little kids are six years old and three years old, and they’re just, you know, insane. My wife is kinda just figuring it out on her own a lot of the time. And then I just come home and I fuck up the whole process. All the rules she put in place, all that stuff… I just fuck it up. And she’s like, ‘God, please just leave, just go on tour.’”
He laughs. “Although it is a little like, ‘Please go on tour, but also please don’t go on tour.’ So it’s all about finding that balance of being able to all see each other when we can. Luckily we have Skype and Facebook, so that kind of helps too.”
That balance has been a little upset recently, thanks to the demands of both New Found Glory’s 20th anniversary celebrations and the release of their thrumming, jubilant new record Makes Me Sick. 2016 was one of the band’s busiest years in decades, and 2017 is already shaping up to be even busier, meaning Pundik’s on-tour homesickness has transformed from a low hum to a deafening wail.
“Lately I get so homesick,” he says, a little ruefully. “Just cause I know what it’s like for my wife being at home, her technically being a single parent just because I’m gone so often. My last tour that I just finished, the 20-year tour, that was nine weeks long. It’s a long time to be away.”
And the touring commitments aren’t over, either: Pundik and his band have another long string of dates ahead of them. “We’re coming to Australia soon, and then we’re going right from Australia to Japan, then we have a couple of weeks off and then it’s straight to the UK. So nothing is coming up that’s as long as the tour I just finished, but it does just mean that I’ll be coming in and out constantly.”
If the crowd’s boring, we’re gonna put on a boring show.
Luckily, Pundik has two decades of touring experience under his belt. New Found Glory are practically a polished machine at this stage – they have their blend of anthemic choruses and self-depreciating, tongue-in-cheek lyrics down pat, and know how to best weather the strains of hitting the road.
“I’ve gotten used to touring,” Pundik agrees. “I’ve gotten to know what I have to do to get over it. Like, if I’m leaving California it will usually be at night and I’ll get to Australia in the daytime, which means I’ll just sleep as long as I can. Then, when we get there, I’ll just try and stay up till the night-time. The shows are hard though. We play 27 songs a night. It’s definitely physically draining.”
Of course, Pundik and his band don’t have to go it alone: they have their fan base to support them. And what a fan base. New Found Glory have evolved from a scrappy young band of outsiders, to mainstream titans, to living legends, and their dedicated admirers treat them thusly. To meet a New Found Glory fan is to meet one of contemporary music’s most loyal listeners – and Pundik is appreciative of every ounce of goodwill that gets thrown his way, particularly when he’s performing.
“The energy of the crowd has always been awesome, so that helps us perform too … If the lights are on brighter than normal, then I don’t like it. I like seeing the kids that are up against the barrier and then just the sea of black. Just everybody’s heads. That’s what fuels me, the people up at the barrier.
“Because if the crowd’s boring, we’re gonna put on a boring show. I mean, we try to put on the best show that we can, but we’re definitely not going to be on our A-game without the help of the crowd.”
But what about Pundik’s most dedicated admirers – his two young boys? Surely they give him all the support and attention that he needs as a touring musician? Perhaps not.
“They listen to the music sometimes … but they get a little bored. They’d rather listen to The Aquabats. They’ve been to some shows and some festivals and they just get bored really fast.” Pundik laughs. “They just wanna play on the iPad or something.”
Makes Me Sick is out now through Hopeless/Unified. New Found Glory play the Metro Theatre on Thursday August 10 and Friday August 11.