Rock / Punk / Hardcore
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Iím not a huge fan of social networking sites, but I have to say that if it werenít for MySpace, I would never have met so many interesting up-and-coming musicians. Thatís where I first heard of the California-based band Pennywise and after hearing their solid rocking tunes, I just had to spread the word about them.
Pennywise began their musical journey in 1988 in the south bay of Los Angeles as a four-member band. Jim Linderberg performed the vocals, Fletcher Dragge was the guitarit, Jason Thirske performed on the bass guitar and Byron McMackin was on drums. The band created an EP called Word to the Wise that received terrific reception, followed by a 1991 self-titled album that launched them to the top of the West Punk Movement.
The band has faced some adversity with the tragic loss of Jason Thirske in 1995, family tragedy in the loss of Fletcher Draggeís brother in April of 2009 and the stepping down after 19 years of lead singer Jim Linderberg in August of the same year, but still they muscle on, proving that their music is strong enough to weather any storm. With Randy Bradbury on bass and Zoli Teglis temporarily filling in on vocals, the band will be heading out to the 2009 Smokeout Festival in San Bernardino, California on October 24, 2009.
I recently had a chance to check out some of the music from their latest album, Reason to Believe, on MySpace and I find it hard to believe that I havenít heard Pennywiseís music playing on local stations here on the east coast. Pennywiseís sound is a mix of the rock and punk worlds with hardcore, slamming beats and rocking guitars. Thereís a bit of the alternative rock scene in there as well, with vocals that are reminiscent of groups like All-American Rejects, Fall Out Boys, and Blink 182.
The lyrics are intelligently written and the messages behind them are things we can instantly relate to. Have you ever loved someone, but been helpless to stop their downward spiral as they lose control over their own lives? One Reason is a song about someone who has been hurt one too many times by someone just like this. The Western World is a social commentary on the destruction of society as we knew it in this hemisphere. All We Need and Something to Live For are songs of pain and tragedy and looking for something more in life.
The music makes you want to play air guitar and drum out those slamming beats. It makes you want to jump around your living room and create your own mosh pit. The lyrics make you stop and think. Pennywise isnít your average punk rock band. This is a band with music that instantly grabs you and lyrics that are not only catchy but deliver a message to the listener. I canít wait to hear more from Pennywise in the future. This is a band that is definitely going places!