Pennywise is a punk rock band from Hermosa Beach, CA. They originally formed in 1988 and named themselves after the evil clown Stephen King created in his book, It.
The band actually features almost all of the founding members. Those members are, Jim Lindberg as the vocalist, Fletcher Dragge as the guitarist, Bryon McCackin on drums, and Randy Bradbury, who actually joined in 1996.
The band's original bassist, Jason Thirsk unfortunately committed suicide at the age of 28. He did suffer from depression, and had also been to rehab for alcoholism. After his passing, the band did decide to continue on, which is where Randy came in.
Let's rewind for a second though and go back to the late 80's, when it all began for Pennywise. They released two EPs on their own in 1989 on their own and those were A Word From the Wise and Wildcard. A couple of the songs off of A Word From The Wise actually are featured on their latest album, "Yesterdays."
Over the years, the band has releaased eleven studio albums, a live album, two EPs and a DVD. The debut album came out on October 22, 1991 and was self titled. Neither it, or the second album, Unknown Road, which came out in 1993 reached any charts.
Around this time, the band's front man, Jim Lindberg got married and Unknown Roads assisted in getting them some better exposure. Despite not charting, they began getting some attention and went out on tours with bands like The Offspring.
The third one though is what started to bring them some attention. About Time came out on June 13, 1995, and it didn't do amazingly, but it broke the top 100 in five different countries. It only hit 96 here in the US, 55 in Australia, 76 in Germany, 84 in the Netherlands, and it actually reached 24 in Finland! So now they were on the map, and the attention began to come through a bit more. Obviously success always fluctuates but it started growing from here in various different ways.
In 1996, the band began recording their fourth album, and their bassist, Jason Thirsk left the band to deal with alcoholism. As we said before, he did unfortunately commit suicide, but this apparently was after a successful rehabilitation.
The album they had been recording was Full Circle, and came out on April 22, 1997, and was dedicated to Jason in his honor. Its highest chart rating was actually in Australia and reached number 13. It also hit 79 in the US, 38 in Germany, 93 in the Netherlands, and 36 in New Zealand. Making it the first Pennywise album to chart at all in New Zealand.
This album also features a re-recorded version of a song that was on their first album, to remember their late friend. The song is called "Bro-Hymn" and when they re-recorded it, they titled it, "Bro-Hymn (Tribute.)"
On June 1, 1999, Pennywise released their fifth studio album, Straight Ahead, and they received their highest chart ratings yet! This album hit number 8 in Australia and number 12 in New Zealand. It also hit number 62 here in the US, 93 in Germany and 193 in the UK. That may not sound great, but its another country they broke into for the first time, so that ais very exciting! Charting at all is extremely exciting actually. Tha album also had just one single, which was "Alien", and that one single reached number 36 on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks, so that's also exciting.
Land Of the Free? came out in 2001 and hit number 2, on the US Indie Charts, 21 in Australia, 32 in New Zealand, 67 on the Billboard 200, 89 in Switzerland and 134 in the UK. This to date is still one of the most successful albums here in the US, others have done well here like The Fuse (2005), and Yesterdays (2014) reached number 9, All Or Nothing (2012) reached number 10, and Reason To Believe (2008) reached number 12. All of those are on the US Indie charts, by the way.
Interestingly, they decided to remaster their first four albums and re-release them all in 2005, and there was also an Australian tour that got canceled. This lead to a lot of rumors of a break up, and something tells us that the rumors didn't exactly die down for a while. The band released Reason to Believe free on Myspace, and it did fairly well. 400,000+ copies were downloaded, and they had a good run for quite some time after that.
Then came a slight turning point. In 2009, Jim Lindberg decided to leave the band. His statement was as follows. "After 20 years, nine albums and thousands of shows around the world, my time in Pennywise has come to an end. Being the singer for this band has been an amazing experience, and along the way we made some of the best fans anyone could ask for. I want to express my deepest thanks to all of you for sticking with us over the years, especially through the passing of Jason years ago. It's your support and encouragement that kept me going this long. There are few things that made me more proud than seeing people at our shows singing our songs. I would also sincerely like to thank everyone who helped us along the way, in every capacity, we never could have done it without you, and I wish everyone in the Pennywise family the best of luck and continued success. Yours truly, Jim."
In his place was Zoli Téglás, singer for hardcore punk band, Ignite. He filled in on vocals for a festival, while Jim worked on a documentary that was based off a book he wrote. The book was called Punk Rock Dad: No Rules, Just Real Life and the documentary was called The Other F Word, and was released on November 6, 2011.
The band did announce that that Zoli was going to permanently take over for Jim, but that did not happen. He did contribute to the 2012 album, All Or Nothing, and did a bunch of touring with the band. Unfortunately though, he hurt his back in June 2012 while performing in Germany and had to have an emergency surgery. For obvious reasons, they did have to cancel all of their touring activity for the rest of the year, because back surgery is not something you easily bounce back for.
Supposedly Zoli wished to leave the band after all of this, and had been in touch with Jim, in the hopes he would rejoin. Jim agreed, and he actually returned at a show in Brazil as part of a South American festival tour!
Not long after, in early 2013 actually is when they began working on their latest album, Yesterdays! The album came out on July 15, 2014, and we have yet to hear of any new music in the works.
Instead though, Pennywise is going to be going out on tour and performing at many festivals. The touring starts on April 29 in Fort Lauderdale, and will go through May 15. During the tour, they will perform at Welcome To Rockville, Fort Rock, and Carolina Rebellion. Just five days after the tour ends, they will also perform at the 10th annual Rock On The Range festival!
For a list of exact tour dates, and more things they have coming up, please head on over to the official Pennywise website!
Psst! Before you go, we have reviews for a few of Pennywise's albums! We have reviewed All Or Nothing, Reason To Believe and Yesterdays! More reviews for Pennywise are hopefully coming soon, so please stay tuned.
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