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Pennywise were one of the key bands of the punk revival of the '90s. Using California hardcore as a foundation, the group incorporated funk-metal and skatepunk into its sound, developing into something that functioned as edgy, post-punk frat rock -- it was speedy and occasionally stupidly catchy, with heavy, propulsive rhythms and positive, optimistic lyrics that stood in pointed contrast to their grunge-addled peers. Through constant touring and recording, as well as appearances at surfing and snowboarding concerts and in videos, Pennywise developed a dedicated following among post-hardcore punk audiences, and were positioned to follow Bad Religion, Green Day, and the Offspring into the modern rock mainstream, but internal problems, culminating in the 1996 suicide of founding bassist Jason Thirsk, prevented the band from being anything bigger than a popular cult band in the vein of NOFX.

Jim Lindberg (lead vocals), Fletcher Dragge (guitar), Byron McMackin (drums), and Jason Thirsk (bass) formed Pennywise in 1988, naming the band after the monster in Stephen King's cult horror novel It. All of the members attended the same high school in Hermosa Beach, California, where they were involved with both punk rock and surfing. Thirsk had played in a local hardcore band called PMA, while the other members played with several other groups before the band actually came together. In 1989, they released their debut EP, A Word from the Wise, on Theologian Records. A local college DJ passed the record to Brett Gurewitz at Epitaph Records, and he signed the group in 1990. Pennywise's eponymous full-length debut appeared the following year. Pennywise became a word-of-mouth hit among the underground punk, surf, and snowboarding community, and the group headed out on its first national tour.

Six months after their debut was released, Lindberg left the group due to his frustration with its lack of motivation and the lack of security in rock groups. Thirsk moved to vocals and his bass teacher, Randy Bradbury, filled in on bass. Following his departure, Theologian released the previously unissued Wildcard EP, backing it with A Word from the Wise on its CD release. While he was separated from the band, Lindberg married, but decided to rejoin the group in late 1992. At the time, Pennywise were attempting to record their second album with Thirsk on vocals, and they were glad to have him back. During his time off, Pennywise had decided to focus on their career, and that increased focus was apparent on their second album, 1993's Unknown Road. Due to constant touring and appearances in snowboarding and surfing videos, the album sold around 200,000 copies. Before they recorded their third album in early 1995, Pennywise were courted by several major labels, which approached the band following the unexpected multi-platinum breakthrough success of Green Day and the Offspring. The band elected to stay with Epitaph and completed About Time, which was released in the summer of 1995. About Time became an indie hit, and the band's live shows became popular attractions. In particular, Dragge became notorious for vomiting on his audience, most notoriously on DJ Riki Rachtman at a show for the influential alternative radio station KROQ, as a veiled protest against the station.

As the band was preparing to record its fourth album in the summer of 1996, Jason Thirsk took a leave of absence from the group to try to control his growing alcoholism; Randy Bradbury again stepped into the bassist role for Pennywise, and he was scheduled to move to rhythm guitar once Thirsk conquered his addiction. Sadly, Thirsk was unsuccessful; on July 29, 1996, he committed suicide after a drinking binge. Pennywise were shaken by his death, yet decided to continue performing, adding Bradbury as a permanent member. The band's fourth album, Full Circle, was released in April 1997; Straight Ahead followed two years later. In fall 2000, Pennywise trudged on to release the live album Live at the Key Club, which was recorded at the tiny club in Los Angeles in front of a crowd of 600 fans on the band's previous tour. New studio albums followed in 2001 (Land of the Free?) and 2003 (From the Ashes). Pennywise had always been political and confrontational. But Ashes amplified those notions with its reaction to the volatile political climate in America on the eve of the 2004 presidential elections.

When Pennywise returned in August 2005 with Fuse, they were no less conscious of politics and society. But the album also returned to a more muscular sound, and included a few classic punk rock anthems for the kids to believe in. In March 2008, Pennywise released Reason to Believe on MySpace Records in the United States and Epitaph in the U.K. Fans also had the option of downloading the album for free, thanks to a partnership between MySpace, Textango, and the band. In 2010, vocalist Jim Lindberg amicably left the group, and it was announced that Zoli Teglas, the lead singer of Ignite, would become his replacement. After breaking in the new frontman for the next two years with constant touring of Europe, Japan, Australia, and the States, the seminal So-Cal punks returned to the studio for their tenth album, All or Nothing, which was released in spring of 2012. That year saw Teglas put out of commission by a back injury, so Lindberg rejoined the band. After touring All or Nothing, Pennywise got back into writing mode. Digging in the archives, they decided to freshly record some songs written years before by their late bassist Jason Thirsk, which were more positive and life-affirming than their usual angry political fare. The songs appeared on their next album, Yesterdays, which was slated for release in July 2014. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography


Track List: All Or Nothing (Single)


Track List: Let Us Hear Your Voice (Single)


Love this band
censoredmunk y 8 8
terrible write up...still a dope band!
I wonder if I'm the only person that thinks the CD sounds WAY better than compressed Pennywise. It's always sounded underwater to me, since the mp2 came out.
These guys are performing in Albuquerque, New Mexico tonight & I'm going with my boyfriend. Yes b**ch!
Fletcher is the guitarist. Jim is lead vocals.
PW is the s**t I love skating to them and getting pumped to paddle out!
No longer pennywise .... Should have chose jay Navero ......dagger s !
Don't read this because it actually works you will get kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. However if you don't post this comment you will die in 2 days.Now that you've started reading don't stop. Put this on at least 5 songs in the next 143 minutes when done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters. This is scary but it actually works. Don't read this because it actually works you will get kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life.
WAITING....L o o k i n 4 another way..... LOVE THIS TUNE!!!!!!
f**k the frat boys....PW kicks serious a**.... i thought Zoli is a decent replacement 4 Jim..... he fits great w/ Fletch n the guys.... Been into them nearly 20 yrs n still one of my favorite bands in punk
Pennywise is a decent band. I do their music.
I hate how the description of pennywise makes them sound, "stupidly catchy". This band is amazing an f**king groundbreaki n g in their genre of music. One of my favorite bands. Give them the respect they deserve. F**k!
Good advice from a rational and thoughtful group of young men. This s**t is how I ended up a 35 yr old married father of 4 still addicted to a job in the oil field 1200 miles from home.
I've yet to hear a song by them that I didn't like.
In the vein of "cult" band NOFX. Steven you are way off base. This band is equal or superior to fat mike and his jolly band of corporate punk rock. PW is more talented than NO FX.
Surf with all band back in redondo beach
hell yes!
they are F U C K I N G amazing
After my first taste back in late '95, I have collected just about everything they've released & this is in my top 5 Penny-jams.. . . DEEP in the top this f**kin tune, & Straight Ahead has to be my #1 PENNYWISE ALBUM...
Oh no I'll sell em for a dollar
yoohooster_m a t t
another classic punk band - Agent Orange, loved them too!!
so glad that Jim is back!!
Saw Pennywise in Adelaide in 2013. First time I have ever seen a wheelchair crowd surf. Love intelligent articulate punk.
Cali bands kick a**
Their making a new album soon and jim is in it so look forward to that
I want to like the new album, but I just cannot get over the fact that it is not Jim singing. New stuff is not bad, it's just not the same anymore for me.
Does Byron use double bass pedals? Sure sounds like it sometimes
takes a niqqa Back when skatin wasnt criminal.. F**k the police.
Rip jason thirsk
Best F uckin band
jeremysciran k o
homebrew614: Obviously you're not a golfer -J. Lebowski
CLEAR YOUR MIND, HIDE YOUR FEARS....... . P E N N Y W I S E WAS HERE!!!!! It was sooooooo freaking awesome to see them again at Riot Fest!!!! THE SET WAS WAAAAAAAY TOO SHORT THOUGHT!!!! :-( I hadn't seen them since I was a teen, but that didn't stop me from jumping around, screaming and singing along! Hee hee! Too much fun! To anyone who hasn't seen the documentary THE OTHER 'F' WORD......IT IS A MUST SEE! :-)
Woooooowooow o o o o o o o o o o o o o w o o o o o o w o o o o w o o o w o w o o o o o w o o o o o o
Frat rock?! BaahaHaha theese fools must be faded as fuckk.. Pass that shiit pandora you boggart asss niqqa, And get this s**t right... That was foul.
Pretty much has been my Tough Mudder training soundtrack.
This makes you want to say a very overly used phrased used by young delinquents. F**k da police.
simply amazing
Can someone tell me about more punk bands like pennywise?
What other can you say except that they will be immortal on the world of punk rock. Amazing!
one of the first punk bands i ever heard. got a cd from my sister. she didnt know what it was and neither did i. I popped that s**t in and fell in love with punk. there is nothing better to skate to.
Oh know I can here you yes I like haveing fun lots of ways sometimes I see a lot but some times I get better stuff stolen from me and then out rages stuff happens
F**king amazing band
Love them so much !! Got my P.W. tattoo when I was 16,about to be 33 and I still skatt and they still make my heart beat faster !!
Damn good band!!!!!
homebrew... fast as f*ck punkrock has drummers like PW's drummer. Listen to something else, you are not very appreciative of what SoCal skatepunk of the 90s grew up on. You go heads up w/ their drummer and we'll see who wins. And change there to their
There drummers inability to play his kit more creatively, and change the beat up from one song to another is the only thing about PW music I'm not a huge fan of. It wouldn't be so annoying if the rest of the band wasnt so bad a**. Fletcher is a bad mofo on the guitar and has written some of the baddest, fastest guitar riffs I've ever heard. It blows my mind that fletcher allows Byron to play the same beats on every song. What's up with that? Did Byron give him a kidney or something
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