Forever at last 

Photo: Trevor Henrich

Ten years back or so, it was nearly impossible to get away from the pop-punk craze. Just a half-decade later, it was just as hard to find it.

Then came along bands like The Wonder Years, The Swellers, Handguns and Forever Came Calling, and a revival was born.

“We’ve been touring for three years, and it’s crazy to think how different it is,” Forever Came Calling singer/guitarist Joe Candelaria said. “The first tour we did with Handguns back in 2010, there was no one at any of the shows, really. The last one we just completed, there was so much energy and anticipation … and people. It’s wild to see how much it’s grown in two years’ time.”

It’s encouraging to Candelaria, who wouldn’t and couldn’t grow out of his first passion, and really didn’t intend on doing so: Pop punk lives again.

“It’s cool to see this resurgence of a scene I grew up with,” he said. “I can’t say how much it means to see kids getting into that stuff again. There’s still a want for it. If you make people remember what they loved about it in the first place, there always ready to open there ears to it again.”

That’s the sentiment Forever Came Calling had going into its debut album, Contender: wanting to find — or force — a way to make a living doing what the members loved, be it in vogue or not.

“It was the idea of coming from a small town, a place where almost everyone did something. That’s everyone’s story, like, the kid who was really good at football, got drunk and crashed his car, and ruined his whole career. I got tired of that mentality,” Candelaria said. “You have to decide that you don’t want to waste your life at the bar, that you want to make something for yourself. That’s our mission statement. We want to do something with this.”

The band has worked its tail off to do just that, both on the road and while recording Contender.

“We walked away knowing we gave it everything we had. That’s all you can do,” Candelaria said. “We had this attitude in the studio that we were going to do something until it was the best we could possibly make it.”

The positive response has emboldened the group, which heads into 2013 with a sense of confidence and reassurance — swagger, even.

“It’s like ‘all blinders off,’” Candelaria said. “I’m not afraid to say exactly what I think about things. People will relate or won’t, but it doesn’t matter. I feel really good in what we’re doing now.”

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