Indy: A main story line with the band's new CD, Coming Home, is that the punk influence of the previous four albums is missing. What happened to the punk?
Pundik: It wasn't a conscious effort for us to say, "OK, no punk songs on this record' because we did write some. We had some 30-odd songs written. ... We were going through the songs and it was more of like, [the fast songs] just didn't fit.
Indy: Fans were also surprised to see you change producers, from Neal Avron to Thom Panunzio. Panunzio's background is in classic rock, not modern rock. Why did he make sense to produce Coming Home?
Pundik: We love Neal, and Neal's amazing and he's one of our really close friends. But after three records with him ... we kind of wanted to try something different. ... Thom's a good friend of ours, too, and he's an A&R [representative] at our label, too, and he would always come and hang out. When he was listening to the songs, he was like, "Man, these songs are awesome." He fell in love with the songs, and he was like, "Man, I should just produce this record."
Indy: You wrote Coming Home while renting a house in Malibu. Did being together as a band change the writing process?
Pundik: It's always been a collaborative thing. We all write equally, but this time Chad [Gilbert, guitarist] had a big part in coming up with lyrics and vocal things with me and Steve [Klein, guitarist]. This time, more than ever, it was an even bigger collaboration just because we were there together 24-7.
At Denver's Ogden Theater, Oct. 17.