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New Found Glory, the South Florida band that helped fuel the pop-punk explosion of the early 2000s, does not spring to mind when tabulating acts from New Jersey rock history. But long before their tours with Blink-182 and Green Day, New Found Glory used to make the long drive to the Northeast, especially New Jersey, says guitarist Chad Gilbert, where they could maximize their time and exposure by packing in shows in a few days.

“Of course we had friends who supported us in Florida,” Gilbert explains. “But New Jersey was the first place to embrace us. In high school, we would drive up on our spring break and play all these shows in a few days. We felt like a real band.”

Gilbert remembers fondly the New Jersey bands they played with in their early history -- Midtown, Saves the Day and Lanemeyer -- at D.I.Y. venues, such as Wayne Fire Hall and Manville Elks Lodge.

“It was such a hub in the middle of the neighboring cities," Gilbert recalls. "It was cool to see so many kids into punk rock."

New Found Glory returns to New Jersey Friday night, February 22, for the conclusion of Red Bull Noise Complaint at the House of Blues in Atlantic CIty to show appreciation for the scene that helped launch them as one of the most loved pop-punk bands of the last decade.

Red Bull Noise Complaint spotlights the region's underground music history, and the members of New Found Glory are excited to help. Man Overboard, the Menzingers, and the Scandals, blue-collar punks from Bayonne, New Jersey, will open the show. The Scandals were selected to open Red Bull Noise Complaint in a showcase held at the famed Court Tavern in New Brunswick back in November.

“It's awesome,” says Gilbert, referring to the Scandals appearing on Friday night's bill. “I remember when we released our 'It’s All About the Girls' EP in 1997. MXPX let us open for them locally and then gave us more shows. It was really inspiring and it allowed us to take it further.”

The Scandals are a little excited as well.

"From day one, it was all about people hearing the music,” says Jared Hart, frontman of the Scandals, who have played basements, backyards, living rooms, parking lots, VFW halls, bowling alleys, bars and clubs. “It was a way to leave an impression behind way after we were all gone. Whether we were burning our own CDs, printing our own shirts, or pressing our own vinyl, the goal was to play shows and get that music into people's hands.”

"To me it’s important to do this set in New Jersey. This is the place that inspired us to really take this band further along." -- Chad Gilbert

New Found Glory formed in 1997 and has released seven full-length albums. By 2002 they were on the road with Green Day and the album 'Sticks and Stones' peaked at number four on the Billboard chart. The song 'All Downhill from Here' (video below) from the 'Catalyst' album hit number three. Their music found it’s way into EA Sports games and the motion picture soundtrack for 'American Pie 2.'

The Red Bull Noise Complaint venue changed after Sayerville’s Starland Ballroom was damaged by Superstorm Sandy last October. Holding it at the House of Blues brings the pop punk crowd back to the New Jersey Shore, which was also badly damaged by the storm.

New Found Glory knows exactly what that’s like. Growing up in Coral Springs, they had a hurricane to contend with almost every year. Gilbert remembers a wave of new students in his school in 1993 after Hurricane Andrew ripped apart their homes in Miami. Hence, they were pleased to hear that one dollar from every ticket sold will go to the charitable organization Stay Strong Jersey, run by members of classic New Jersey punk bands that New Found Glory grew up on.

Moreover, New Found Glory recently did a national tour to celebrate the 10th anniversary of 'Sticks and Stones.' But that tour skipped the Garden State.

“To me it’s important to do this set in New Jersey. This is the place that inspired us to really take this band further along. We owe it to New Jersey to play this set list in that state.”

See New Found Glory at Red Bull Noise Complaint on February 22 at the House of Blues in Atlantic City. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. Tickets available from Ticketmaster.

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