New Found Glory's Cyrus Bolooki: People still need music in a tanked economy

New Found Glory's Cyrus Bolooki: People still need music in a tanked economy
Photo by Jonathon Weiner

Late last fall, the members of New Found Glory got the idea to do a tour commemorating the ten-year anniversary of their Sticks and Stones album. Even without any "big hits" in recent years, the Florida pop-punk band has been touring constantly and continuously building their fanbase on the road. Due to timing, the band wasn't able to make it to Minneapolis, but was given the opportunity this spring to do a few shows in Canada and allowed them to add some cities they had skipped out on.

The band will be playing Sticks and Stones album in full at their show on Saturday evening, and Gimme Noise spoke with drummer Cyrus Bolooki before the band's swing through First Ave.

When bands decide to do a tour based on an album, there's often a lot of rehearsal and back-tracking that goes into relearning the music. Not so with New Found Glory. Because much of their regular set comes from that defining album, Cyrus shares that there was really only one song from Sticks and Stones that they had to go back and polish up.

"The only song that we don't play often is 'The Great Houdini' and it's really fun to do that because listening to again, it transcended me back to when we were making that record," he says. "I just remember everything that was going on in the band and in our personal lives. Everything was different back then, because we had just moved from Florida and were recording in California with a little bit of notoriety behind us. Everything was low-key, but it was also a really exciting time for us. So it's fun to be able to play all of those songs for people who believe that to be their favorite album."

Ten years is a long time to be playing the same songs, and when suggested if he still relates to those songs, Cyrus emphatically states that the band is at an advantage over the listener because they're not just songs, but memories the songs bring up.

"I think about records I grew up on ten or fifteen years ago, and I may relate to them a little differently now. Still there's something about that music that triggers memories, whether it may be memories directly related to the lyrics or even stupid things like blasting music in the van or looking forward to a concert of a band we loved. I think in those ways, it's almost hard to lose touch with that. I can understand that ten years is along time, but we'll never lose touch because it's our music and our memories."

In the span of that ten years, the band has seen the music industry collapse and rebuild itself with the internet revolution. The bands that were lucky enough to make it either had to adapt or get left behind. Even with the little amount of money that artists make from streaming sites, New Found Glory understands the importance of utilizing those sites to help them rather than swim against the stream.

Bolooki says, "One of the reasons we became so popular was because of Napster and people sharing MP3s. It was so easy to trade music and show your friends songs." Always a hard working band, the group never waited for a single to make them big, so they decided to tour incessantly and make their shows unforgettable.

"With us, it's an experience. Sometimes there would be shows where there were only a few kids in the crowd, but we would guarantee those kids such a great show that they would make it a life passion to make sure to tell their friends. They wouldn't just play a few songs for their friends, but they would make an entire album for them. So because of them, we built our careers on our live music... It's not about selling ten million records anymore. You have to get out there and tour and sell merch. It's not like people don't have money to spend on music anymore. Music is something that, even if the economy has tanked, people will still need that kind of thing. Music is universal, and it supersedes all kinds of things going on in the real world."

Along with putting on energetic live shows, the band tries to connect with their fans after all of their shows. Growing up, they saw themselves as just regular kids and were amazed when their favorite bands took the time to talk to them and answer their questions. Cyrus admits, "There's no reason for me to shaft a bunch of kids. They're the reason I'm here making music. For some artists, being mysterious is part of their image, but we don't have an image -- that's our image. We're not the ones with eyeliner; we're just regular people. We don't want to try too hard to be anything we're not. The easiest thing for me to be is myself, and that's something you can't buy on iTunes."

New Found Glory will perform at First Ave. for their Sticks and Stones Tour on Saturday, May 25, 2013 with Cartel, Farewell Continental, and Living with Lions.
AA, $18 adv, $20 door, 6 pm
Purchase tickets here.

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