On Pennywise’s self-titled debut, singer Jim Lindberg screamed about “Living for Today.” Thirteen years later, the Southern California punks still live for those days, as demonstrated by their latest single, “Yesterdays.”
“As you get a little older, you get a lot more responsibilities, so it’s kinda like a retrospect of when things were easy,” bassist Randy Bradbury said of the song, a favorite of tastemakers KROQ-FM. “All you had to worry about was getting home on time, getting something to eat, not making your parents mad and getting good grades.”
“Actually, all that stuff he said was a lie, because he never got home on time and he never got good grades,” guitarist Fletcher Dragge added. “It’s about the good ol’ days. With age comes responsibility and turmoil, and we liked it better when we were 14.”
With age also came political awareness for Pennywise. Their latest release, September’s From the Ashes, is their most political to date.
“We were more into social and personal politics when we were younger. But now that we see our tax dollars going for things we’re not into, we’re madder and sing about it,” Dragge explained. “It’s the way we feel. It’s not really popular for us to say we hate a lot of things about the government, because everyone’s all patriotic now. Of course we love America; we just hate the problems our government is creating for us. People who don’t travel to places like Europe, Japan and Australia don’t see how people feel about America and our overseas policies. They just kind of sit here and eat McDonald’s, drive BMWs and wait for the dirty bomb.”
Pennywise express their opinions on tracks such as “Judgment Day” (with the lyrics “It seems like the news is getting worse every day”), “Punch Drunk” (“There are jackals in power who feed on frustration”) and “God Save the U.S.A.” (“Apathy’s the national disease, and there is no end in sight”).
The latter song will be featured on Fat Mike’s upcoming Rock Against Bush compilation.
” ‘Cause it kinda says it all,” Dragge said with a smile.
“[Bush] is obviously doing a lot of damage, and we need to get someone else in there,” he continued. “It’s not looking too good right now, so every little bit anyone can do to get someone better in office is needed.”
As downbeat as From the Ashes may sound, Pennywise point to peppier moments aside from “Yesterdays.” “A lot of the songs try to talk more about hope and moving forward,” Bradbury said. “We’re like the phoenix,” he said, explaining the album title. “We rise again.”
Pennywise will perform at a Rock Against Bush concert later in the year. But for now the band has scheduled a headlining club tour with Guttermouth, Bleed the Dream and Stretch Arm Strong.
“It’s gonna be fun,” Dragge said. “We haven’t been in clubs for a while. We keep doing these bigger shows, like the Warped Tour, and we really want to get back to the intimacy of 1,500 people getting sweaty and stinky and beating the hell out of each other.”
Pennywise Tour Dates, According The Band’s Publicist: