Pennywise are one of those bands kindling a flame that seems to be getting brighter and brighter as the years roll on. As undeniable heroes of the melodic punk scene their fully-charged ball-busting approach, coupled with a positive socio-political message that belies many of the Californian scene’s fake-punkers, has seen them rise to the forefront of the modern punk rock league.
And to top it all off, they’re nice guys too. Like, really nice. I remember one time shortly after their Reading ’97 appearance when Sick Of It All’s Lou Koller once confided in me about how Pennywise magnanimously gave them £1000 of their own money for each night of the warped tour because although they were earning more as headline band, they could see that Sick Of It All were creating a bigger mosh-pit and crazier crowd than they were!
So, gearing up to release their eighth studio album ‘From The Ashes’ DiS took the opportunity to send them a bunch of questions to see what keeps today’s Pennywise going. Just don't blame us for bassist Randy's lazy response!
1. Is there anything different this time around that you've tried to achieve with the new record? "We really don’t try to do anything different in our music. We just keep trying to put out quality albums that our fans will appreciate along with ourselves, and will make you feel like beating someone around the face and neck."
2. It's the age-old question, but in the current light of bands such as Good Charlotte and whiny middle-class Dawson's Creek-style emo bands clasping for space under the 'punk' umbrella, what do you think actually constitutes a 'punk' band?
"Forming and Breaking up before 1984!"
3. Epitaph have just been bought out by a major label - I know the band are all good friends with the guys at Epitaph and you were there when Brett was receiving offers thanks to The Offspring - so what do you think was the deciding factor this time around?
4. Being in a punk band, and one that's so popular, have you sometimes felt any pressure to prove yourself to the MRR punk-police types, especially considering the fact you've been offered ridiculous amounts of money to have your songs featured in car ads?
"We didn’t accept any offers to be in car ads because cars cause air pollution, leading to the premature demise of the world, blah blah blah. We only feel a need to deliver to our fans, not MRR or any other publication."
5. What fuels the band to keep going?
6. Who do you look up to and find inspiration from?
7. Black Flag, Circle Jerks and The Descendents have all come from Hermosa Beach in the '80s. Do you feel there is still an identifiable scene there and if so, in what ways does it differ from
a) the scene in the 80s?
"Bigger beer guts."
and b) other scenes such as Huntington Beach, with Stairwell and Avenged Sevenfold?
"There is an incredible amount of talent in SoCal. These bands are bringing metal influences to the forefront of the Orange County scene."
8. Ozzy Osbourne and Arnold Schwarzenegger have both decided to run for governor of California. Do you know about any of the policies and would you vote for either if you had to?
"Jack Grisham for Gov."
9. What new bands should our readers be checking out?
"Tragedy from Portland, Oregon.
1208 from South Bay.
For crap, checkout the Locust."