A Few Drinks With Pennywise On Catalina Island

The boat left the Long Beach harbor on Thursday, August 11th, at 10:00 a.m. to go to the private Pennywise Concert in Catalina, sponsored in part by SURFING Magazine. By 11 the majority of passengers were drunk -- or, at least, well on their way.

Sitting down with Jim from Pennywise
The event, hosted by Epitaph records, was a premier of Pennywise's new album "Fuse". Fifteen hundred fans that were lucky enough to win tickets, either off the radio or by purchasing the new CD, experienced a full day of dirty rock 'n' roll and punk rock music, ending with an "up-close and personal performance" by Pennywise.

Sitting in the crowded galley of the Catalina Countess on the way over to the island, I factored in how the plethora of thirty packs and sporadic shots of hard liquor might mix with the two-hour boat ride. Calculating my odds, I bet SURFING Magazine's Market Coordinator Randy Bruce a round of cold ones that three or more Pennywise aficionados would loose their breakfast before we reached land. Unfortunately, I underestimated the crowd. Cut Dickies, tattoos, chains and piercings, this group could drink.

Happening upon Mark the lead singer of Guttermouth, who was hanging out casually with all of the boat's other passengers, I asked him his opinion about "The Fuse":

"They won't let you down," said he in between sips from his vodka/Red-Bull. "It's Pennywise, and the album sounds like Pennywise."

Taking place on the open grass knoll of the Descanso Beach Club in {{{Avalon}}}, the hyper-punk band A.D.D. opened the show, and was followed by Death by Stereo. The combination of energy that these two bands rallied peaked when Pennywise picked up their instruments...however before the show I managed to get in a few questions with Jim Lindberg, the lead vocalist about the band:

SURFING MAGAZINE: I heard you recorded this whole album in six months; did you have any particular inspiration for this one?

Jim: Well, this is our eighth record, so we've been doing it a long time. On this one, we just wanted to kinda go in there and bang it out and not stress so much on making everything perfect. We just wanted to record the songs as they were written, and we're going to play 'em that way today. It's the vibe of the original songs. And I like the way it came out, because it sounds more live. So it's that whole process.

SURFING: Did the current political situation give you any fuel?

Jim: It's a pretty confusing time for a lot of people throughout the world. I feel we've kinda made our statement on the last two records about our displeasure with the current regime that's in power. This current record as a whole is just kinda about humanity and the problems that are engaging us today. There's a song called "The Competition Song" and it's all about that, how people have this need to compete with one another in a time when we really need to be cooperating.

SURFING: Do you find it troubling being a part of a capitalistic society and profiting off of it, and then playing music that denounces it?

Jim: It's more about how you can work within that capitalistic society and still have a conscience and change that society for the better. That's what it's talking about: maybe we don't have to be so greedy, maybe we don't have to be using weapons to solve our problems all the time, maybe we don't have to fight so much over questions that we'll never know the answers to, i.e. like religion. It seems that a lot of the problems between Christianity and Islam can be solved with diplomatic solutions, but we're all so quick to use our new fighter jets, Hummers and tanks to solve our problems by blowing each other up and that's a tragedy.

The band whips up the crowd
SURFING: Are there any other countries that you feel we should be modeling ourselves off of a bit more?

Jim: Australia's a good example. I really like going there and I really like the people there. It seems like Australians are just a little more easygoing. Especially about political issues and things like that, they are just a mellower race of people. It's gotten so agro over here, I don't think this country's ever been more polarized, you're either on the left or right, conservative or liberal, and I think it would be well to look at some other countries like New Zealand and Australia — places where they're a little more easygoing.

SURFING: Two places where surfing's pretty popular. Do any of you guys surf?

Jim: Oh yeah, I grew up surfing. I consider myself a surfer before a musician. I've been surfing since I've been a little kid. I grew up at the beach, used to skate down there. That's how we got around when we were kids. I've been a huge fan of the whole surf scene since the days of Mark Richards, {{{Rabbit}}} and Shawn Thompson — all those guys. That's when I grew up, and I've been a big follower of that scene. It's just I was really lucky to grow up in a place like Hermosa beach and be really involved in that life-style. And those people who are land locked they can skate and snowboard and do other things like that. There's a lot of bad things about living in L.A. but one of the good things is that you've got it all right there — surfing and skating, and snowboarding's only two hours away. And the music scene is right there.

I used to surf El Porto. I surf there every day, but that smell gets bad — that's another thing. I work a lot with Surfrider and try to stay involved with that, and it's a good cause. I live in L.A. and the biggest sewage treatment plant in the world is about half a mile from where I surf and it's disgusting. It's up to us as people, and especially surfers, to get involved and make sure that the different entities are doing there part in keeping our oceans clean. If we don't our checks and balances on that — as we've seen from the past — they'll just dump all their crap in the ocean.