Back in 2001, Pennywise called their album Land Of The Free? (the question mark pointed out the inequities of modern existence).
Now, in 2008, Pennywise–one of punk’s most credible and influential bands, who’ve sold over three million albums worldwide–will be giving away their next album for FREE. Beginning March 25, 2008, fans around the world will be able to obtain a high quality, DRM-free download from MySpace for a period of two weeks. Longtime PENNYWISE fan and seasoned producer Cameron Webb (Social Distortion, Motorhead, Sum 41) has signed on to produce and mix the upcoming CD.
This music industry precedent is a result of the collaboration between the seminal Southern California punk band, their new label MySpace Records, MySpace.com and Textango (provider of creative solutions for distributing music via text messaging). This marks the first time a U.S. record label has provided an artist with the opportunity to offer a new album free of charge and the first time MySpace has offered a full album download with a worldwide push.
On the same day, PENNYWISE and MySpace Records will also release an enhanced CD/DVD version of the as-yet-untitled disc to retail outlets for sale, with the CD containing the same songs as the downloadable version. There will also be a vinyl version available with two extra exclusive tracks.
To download the album for free beginning March 25, 2008, users simply have to add promotional partner “Textango” (www.myspace.com/textango) as a MySpace friend (anyone can create a MySpace account for free).
“We know that this will piss off a lot of people in the music industry,” says guitarist FLETCHER DRAGGE, “and what do we say to that? ‘Who cares?’ We’ve been pissing people off for 18 years. Why stop now? We have been telling people to get our records by any mean necessary for 17 years. As a band, we decided that it was time to come to terms with the facts. There are a lot of people out there who want their music for free, so we got proactive and with the help of MySpace Records and Textango we found away to make it happen…we couldn’t be more stoked…PENNYWISE FREE TO THE PEOPLE.”
Says lead vocalist JIM LINDBERG: “I think for a band like ours that has put out eight albums already, it’s a great way to give back to our fans for their support over the years. We can also potentially expose our music and message to people around the world who may have never had the opportunity to hear it because they either couldn’t afford to buy a CD or they didn’t have access to music outlets or good distribution. It’s a way for us to instantly expand our music into places it’s never been before. Maybe there’s someone in Sri Lanka that is a huge Pennywise fan but just doesn’t know it yet.”
Adds FLETCHER: “All on the same day–March 25–you will be able to go out and buy our new record, download it and then go buy it, or just download it for free and sit back and check it out. How cool is that…an option for all ways of thinking?”
“Getting it for free is like being able to take something for a test drive,” says JIM. “There will be some extras that come with the actual physical CD and a few bonus tracks on the vinyl version which we think will help get more people going into their local independent record stores.”
The upcoming disc from PENNYWISE–JIM LINDBERG (vocals), FLETCHER DRAGGE (guitars), BYRON MCMACKIN (drums) and RANDY BRADBURY (bass)–will mark their ninth studio album after having enjoyed a successful lengthy relationship with Epitaph, where they released their self-titled debut album in 1991. The new album “will be a combination of what are fans expect from us with a few curveballs thrown in here and there,” says JIM. “We have to be happy with what we’re doing before anyone else, so it will all be about trying to challenge ourselves.”