Pennywise: Jim Lindberg (vocals); Fletcher Dragge (guitar); Randy Bradbury (bass); Byron Chase McMackin (drums).
Recorded at Stall #2, Redondo Beach, California.
Along with other California third-wave punk bands like NOFX and MXPX, Pennywise came to fame in the '90s as a major part of the skater/extreme sports milieu. Though the Offspring had more financial success with a pretty similar sound, Pennywise always had the market cornered in terms of street cred with the skater kids. By the time of STRAIGHT AHEAD's release, the revered Cal-punk quartet were already seasoned vets, having gone through the death of a band member (bass player Jason Thirsk), toured ceaselessly, and released several records on top-dog punk label Epitaph. As this 1999 release shows, Pennywise never abandoned their commitment to the classic West Coast skate-punk sound; fast-and-loud Bad Religion-descended hardcore brushed with thrash-metal dynamics and catchy but unobtrusive pop hooks. For as much as the rabble-rousing lyrics decry the sociopolitical state of things, the churning, frenetic guitar and drums offer an immediate, visceral escape from the malaise.
What the critics say...
Spin (8/99, p.152) - 7 (out of 10) - "...Pennywise inherits [Bad Religion's] puritanical fervor, get-a-grip sloganeering, and...an anti-government self-reliance that includes down-with-taxes rants....these are the kids your parents hoped you would be."
CMJ (6/7/99, p.26) - "...The group's pure, unfiltered passion saturates its music, which works as an ideal soundtrack for the daily lives of both half-pipe dwellers and alienated punk intellectuals."
Guitar Magazine (7/99, p.96) - "...STRAIGHT AHEAD is an apt title for both the record and the band's lyrical and musical attitude....perfectly tapped into the zeitgeist of male teenage America..."