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Pennywise

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
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Yesterdays (Deluxe Edition)

1. What You Deserve

2. Restless Time

3. Noise Pollution

4. Violence Never Ending

5. Am Oi!

6. Thanksgiving

7. She's A Winner

8. Slow Down

9. Public Defender

10. No Way Out

11. I Can Remember

x

Track List: All Or Nothing

1. All Or Nothing

2. Waste Another Day

3. Revolution

4. Stand Strong

5. Let Us Hear Your Voice

6. Seeing Red

7. Songs Of Sorrow

8. X Generation

9. We Have It All

10. Tomorrow

11. All Along

12. United

x

Track List: The Fuse

1. Knocked Down

2. Yell Out

3. Competition Song

4. Take A Look Around

5. Closer

6. 6th Avenue Nightmare

7. The Kids

8. Fox TV

9. Stand Up

10. Dying

11. Disconnect

12. Premeditated Murder

13. Best I Can

14. 18 Soldiers

15. Lies

x

Track List: From The Ashes

1. Now I Know

2. God Save The USA

3. Something To Change

4. Waiting

5. Salvation

6. Look Who You Are

7. Falling Down

8. Holiday In The Sun

9. This Is Only A Test

10. Punch Drunk

11. Rise Up

12. Yesterdays

13. Change My Mind

14. Judgement Day

x

Track List: Land Of The Free

1. Time Marches On

2. Land Of The Free

3. The World

4. F**k Authority

5. Something Wrong With Me

6. Enemy

7. My God

8. Twist Of Fate

9. Who's On Your Side

10. It's Up To You

11. Set Me Free

12. Divine Intervention

13. WTO

14. Anyone Listening

x

Track List: Live @ The Key Club

1. Intro (Live)

2. Wouldn't It Be Nice (Live)

3. Living For Today (Live)

4. Final Chapters (Live)

5. Can't Believe It (Live)

6. Unknown Road (Live)

7. Homesick (Live)

8. No Reason Why (Live)

9. Fight Till You Die (Live)

10. Peaceful Day (Live)

11. Society (Live)

12. Straight Ahead (Live)

13. Pennywise (Live)

14. Perfect People (Live)

15. Minor Threat (Live)

16. Same Old Story (Live)

17. Alien (Live)

18. Bro Hymn (Live)

x

Track List: Straight Ahead

1. Greed

2. My Own Country

3. Can't Believe It

4. Victim Of Reality

5. Might Be A Dream

6. Still Can Be Great

7. Straight Ahead

8. My Own Way

9. One Voice

10. Alien

11. Watch Me As I Fall

12. Just For You

13. Can't Take Anymore

14. American Dream

15. Need More

16. Never Know

17. Badge Of Pride

x

Track List: Full Circle

1. Fight Till You Die

2. Date With Destiny

3. Get A Life

4. Society

5. Final Day

6. Broken

7. Running Out Of Time

8. You'll Never Make It

9. Every Time

10. Nowhere Fast

11. What If I

12. Go Away

13. Did You Really

14. Bro Hymn Tribute

x

Track List: About Time

1. Peaceful Day

2. Waste Of Time

3. Perfect People

4. Every Single Day

5. Searching

6. Not Far Away

7. Freebase

8. It's What You Do With It

9. Try

10. Same Old Story

11. I Won't Have It

12. Killing Time

x

Track List: Unknown Road

1. Unknown Road

2. Homesick

3. Time To Burn

4. It's Up To Me

5. You Can Demand

6. Nothing

7. Vices

8. City Is Burning

9. Dying To Know

10. Tester

12. Give And Get

13. Clear Your Mind

x

Track List: Pennywise

1. Wouldn't It Be Nice

2. Rules

3. The Secret

4. Living For Today

5. Come Out Fighting

6. Homeless

7. Open Door

8. Pennywise

9. Who's To Blame

10. Fun And Games

11. Kodiak

12. Side One

13. No Reason Why

14. Bro Hymn

x

Track List: All Or Nothing (Single)

1. All Or Nothing

2. All Or Nothing

x

Track List: Let Us Hear Your Voice (Single)

1. Let Us Hear Your Voice

x

Track List: Yesterdays

1. What You Deserve

2. Restless Time

3. Noise Pollution

4. Violence Never Ending

5. Am Oi!

6. Thanksgiving

7. She's A Winner

8. Slow Down

9. Public Defender

10. No Way Out

11. I Can Remember

Comments

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According to Pandora, Pennywise is edgy, post-punk frat rock. Go Fack yourself Pandora.
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Glad Jim is back was not pennywise with him gone was s**t
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yeah!
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randwortendy k e
.
Exo plasmic
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a.gill14
They all float down here!
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I freaking LOVE PennyWise
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Still awesome
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Anyone remember Marc Smith playing bass for them?
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More like c**k rock! Ohh nah. These guys were cool, just never got into them
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almabee1
growing up in hermosa beach in the 90's , going to garage band parties with Pennywise... . . was living! its the Bro Hmmn that lives on and on, I saw them again at the Observatory for their come back tour last year 2014, was one of the best concerts I've seen. - its about brotherhood.
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toferlewis
I like Pennywise, so don't go ape on my comment, but I must agree that the Frat Rock label is pretty accurate. I've also heard Blue Collar Bad Religion.
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Frat rock... yep pretty much.
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Oh, & PANDORA, who the f**k would call a band like PENNYWISE Frat rock? OOOOI know .... you !- M.K.
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Gotta give it up for Zoli on this song.
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gannon_kevin
Hermosa Beach Kicks A**
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Coming up on 2016 and Pennywise still holding true. F**king. Awesome. Music.
Report as inappropriate
F**K AUTHORITY
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melissaranso m 1 3
rip jason. dont leave again Jim....u r the bomb!
Report as inappropriate
Funk Metal? What about Pennywise makes one think Funk Metal?? Terrible Bio here.
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Silly
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worst bio.
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post-punk frat rock...WTF?? ? ?
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F**ked up eyes stupid grin perfect people won't let me in
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punkdaddy131 3
Worst Bio I have seen on Pandora. A complete insult to the band.
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love Pennywise!!
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dgaf1914.dh
One of those bands that Thirsk was in is an amazing one known as humble gods. RIP Jason.
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Didn't catch the fact that this hack called pennywise "frat rock" until the comment section. From the surface, this guy is not giving respect where it is do.
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killer clown music, hell ya!
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I am gonna find the twatwaffle that did the bio and donkey punch his b**ch a**.
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if ya don't like why in da hell r u listening
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where are dim punks at
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thank you!!
Report as inappropriate
slimlucas14
Its time 4 the warp tour 2 start again
Report as inappropriate
Frat rock? Stephen Thomas Erlewine, you sir are a moron.
Report as inappropriate
slimlucas14
Love this band
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censoredmunk y 8 8
terrible write up...still a dope band!
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chronus_1
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.
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These guys are performing in Albuquerque, New Mexico tonight & I'm going with my boyfriend. Yes b**ch!
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jjtporter1
Fletcher is the guitarist. Jim is lead vocals.
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UM FLETCHER IS THE LEAD SINGER NOT THIRSK (RIP)
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PW is the s**t I love skating to them and getting pumped to paddle out!
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Pennywise
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No longer pennywise .... Should have chose jay Navero ......dagger s !
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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.
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WAITING....L o o k i n 4 another way..... LOVE THIS TUNE!!!!!!
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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
Report as inappropriate
Pennywise is a decent band. I do their music.
Report as inappropriate
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!
Report as inappropriate
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.
Report as inappropriate
I've yet to hear a song by them that I didn't like.
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