Pennywise head back to future

By Paul Harper

They've buried the hatchet and are excited to headline an all-star punk line-up, finds Paul Harper.

Pennywise's tumultuous past few years guided the decision to go back to explore their past.
Pennywise's tumultuous past few years guided the decision to go back to explore their past.

A lot has changed for Pennywise in the eight years since the Southern California punk rockers were last on our shores.

Here's a quick recap: In 2009 singer Jim Lindberg announced he was quitting the band. Bassist Randy Bradbury, guitarist Fletcher Dragge and drummer Byron McMackin continued without him, bringing in Ignite frontman Zoli Teglas as his replacement.

But Teglas lasted only one album - 2012's well-received - before a back injury forced him to quit.

Despite bad blood between Lindberg and Dragge, who had aired the band's dirty laundry in the press - including an interview with the Herald - the pair buried the hatchet and Lindberg was welcomed back to the band.

Given their recent history, Pennywise's upcoming New Zealand tour and album release makes sense. Titled Tomorrows, the new album - out in June - will feature songs written over the course of the band's 26 years but never recorded, including four or five written before the band's 1992 self-titled debut.

Bradbury admits Pennywise's tumultuous last few years influenced their decision to go back and explore their past. "It just felt like those were the good times ... it just feels like we can't go wrong if we go back and do these great songs that shaped the band and will keep us who we are. But also there is that desire to get those songs out there," he says.

"So it did seem like this was a nice way to get our feet back in the water and get into the studio, because we just can't mess it up - these songs were written. They just have that energy. So we all just felt comfortable this would be an easy way to get going again and see how we feel in the studio."

Pennywise have always struggled in the studio, Bradbury says.

"We have a lot of arguments in the studio about how songs should go or what we should do, so obviously we wanted to avoid that. We're just happy to be back together. You know, it feels like we've got the family back together, we got all the pieces back and we're all getting along, so let's do something fun. I think wanting that desire is what inspired us to go back to those old songs."

Pennywise were among the wave of US punk bands to have commercial success in the mid- to late-90s, with tracks Society, Alien and Land Down Under enjoying radio play in New Zealand.

They were last here in 2006, playing a crowd-pleasing, high-energy set at Auckland's Powerstation, and they'll be here next Thursday headlining an all-star punk line-up at Auckland's Logan Campbell Centre on a bill that includes Alkaline Trio, Less Than Jake and Sommerset.

Bradbury admits it has been too long between New Zealand tours.

"We tried to get there in 2012. I couldn't even tell you [why we couldn't come]. I mean, we love it too much to not go, because I only have good memories of being there. So I don't have a good excuse.

"I'm really looking forward to it. I always have a great time with Alkaline Trio and Less Than Jake, those are good dudes - so I know we'll be having fun."

Bradbury, who has been with the group since 1996, acknowledges the band is fortunate to have had such longevity.

"We have fans that get us and want to keep coming to see us and want us to keep making new music," he says. "So obviously that's our lifeblood.

"But also for just us as a band, we're like a very determined people. We're almost a bit stubborn. We just want to keep playing and it's like a survival instinct to keep going and to keep doing this."

What: Pennywise
Where: Logan Campbell Centre, Auckland
With: Alkaline Trio, Less Than Jake and Sommerset
When: Thursday, March 6
Essential listening: About Time (1995), Full Circle (1997), Straight Ahead (1999). New album Tomorrows due out in June.

- TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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