New Found Glory announced the departure of founding member and rhythm guitarist / lyricist Steve Klein late Wednesday night—a sudden and totally unexpected move. The pop-punk act released seven studio LPs with Klein and this is the first lineup change for the Coral Springs, FL-based group since 1997.
Klein has always been in the band's shadows: Live in concert, frontman Jordan Pundik is the bouncing focal point; hulking guitarist Chad Gilbert busts out signature punk stage moves; drummer Cyrus Balooki flails behind the kit and bassist Ian Grushka has insane antics with his oft-shirtless belly hanging out. Klein is the least showy, strumming to the side.
But as many NFG know, he's the band's secret weapon. He's been the primary songwriter, helping the group reach a level of fame in the early 2000s with memorable singles like "Hit Or Miss," "My Friends Over You" and "It's Not Your Fault." He was the mastermind behind many lyrics that might've been your AOL Instant Messenger "away status" in middle and high school.
Sadly, Klein's departure doesn't appear to be agreeable. "We've had our differences with Steve over the years that have led us to this decision," read the band's Facebook announcement. "We love Steve, however personal differences have guided this decision and we no longer feel we can work with him."
For a group that considered themselves as brothers before bandmates, the news comes as a shock for longtime fans. Don't expect answers anytime soon; Fuse's requests for an interview with NFG have been denied.
As an era ends and NFG continue without Klein on their next LP, let's reflect on the band's best work with the lyricist, guitarist and songwriter. Fuse has compiled notable tracks from the band's 15-year career with Klein, complete with commentary, to honor the end of an era for NFG fans.