Pennywise was formed in 1988 in Hermosa Beach, California by four members Jim Lindberg (vocals), Fletcher Dragge (guitar), Byron McMackin (drums) and Jason Thirsk (bass). They released two EPs: A Word from the Wise (1989) and Wildcard (1989). Each of the band members had played in other bands in the Hermosa Beach, California area and attended the same high school.
The group signed to Epitaph Records in 1990 and released their first album Pennywise (1991). The album quickly spread throughout the punk community, earning the band some nation-wide recognition. Lyrics in the album endorsed a positive mental attitude, helping promote progressive ideals for Generation X. Lindberg left the band soon after the debut record. Bass player Randy Bradbury joined the lineup as Thirsk took over lead vocal duties. In 1992, The Vandals lead singer Dave Quackenbush took over on vocals for a brief stint. Bradbury left the band and Thirsk returned to bass.
Lindberg got married and returned to the group in 1992 in time for their second album Unknown Road (1993), an underground hit that established the band as a force in punk music. By 1995, punk bands The Offspring and Rancid hit the mainstream and Pennywise refused invitations to join several major labels. About Time (1995) was another indie hit.
In 1996, Pennywise began recording their fourth album. Thirsk left the band in an attempt to conquer alcoholism. He was successful but relapsed and died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest on July 29, 1996.
Following Thirsk's death, Bradbury rejoined the band and recorded their next two albums, Full Circle (1997) and Straight Ahead (1999). This was followed by a live album, Live at the Key Club (2000), as well as Land of the Free? (2001) and From the Ashes (2003).
Home Movies, the band's only video, was re-released on DVD for the first time in 2004. The video was originally released in 1995 and had been out of print since 1997. More footage of Pennywise can be seen on 45 Revolutions: A Slice of XVI St. Life, XVI St. being the place where Jason and Fletcher hung out in Hermosa Beach.
The band's eighth album, The Fuse, was released in Europe on June 27 and in North America on August 9, 2005. The band's Australian tour was cancelled leading to breakup rumors, which Lindberg denied. Also that year, digitally-remastered versions of the first four studio albums were released.
Pennywise recently recorded a cover of Sick of It All's "My Life" for the band's tribute album Our Impact Will Be Felt.
The band returned to the studio in 2007 to begin work on their ninth album, Reason to Believe, which was released on March 25, 2008. In addition the album would be for sale in stores through MySpace Records in the United States and Epitaph in Europe.
After 19 years with Pennywise, Jim Lindberg has decided to step down as lead singer.
The new singer is Zoli Téglás (hungarian), the front man of hardcore band Ignite.
For more information, go to: www.pennywisdom.com
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