Interview: Jim Lindberg of Pennywise
Tue, 19 Jun 2007 12:15:27
In his new book Punk Rock Dad, Pennywise frontman Jim Lindberg argues that his title isn't an oxymoron; you can grow old, change diapers, change your priorities and still remain a card-carrying member of the punk community. Granted, teens on message boards may have a different opinion, but Lindberg has been at the helm of Pennywise since those kids were in diapers themselves, selling over three million albums in the process.
Punk Rock Dad follows Lindberg to a crossroads that confronts many parents, but especially those who have followed a strident anti-authoritarian path: how can you then impart rules on your own children without being a massive hypocrite? Lindberg's style lacks pretense and he avoids sermonizing, instead choosing to relay colorful and especially earnest anecdotes.
With a busy summer for Pennywise looming on the horizon—a new album and another season on the Warped Tour—Lindberg chatted with ARTISTdirect about his crossover into the literary world.
Did Punk Rock Dad have positive momentum from its inception, or did you encounter some resistance early on?
I think it was 85% positive—but as with everything in the punk scene, there's always these tough guy kooks who are like "Punk rock's not about being a dad." Sometimes you have to put up with a really caveman-like mentality in the punk scene. But besides that, everyone got into it, because obviously people who grew up listening to punk rock are now at the age where they're having kids and getting mortgages and getting into the real world and having to face a lot of different situations that they probably never thought they'd have to face. I think my book wasn't about telling you how to do it, it was about "You're not alone; here's another idiot trying to do it."
And I think in many ways it transcends punk—there are things that are very specific to the punk background, but I think it appeals to any father who is sacrificing some of that 'no compromises' idealism from youth.
Yeah, and I talk about holding on to that idealism, because punk rock can change individual lives and can make things happen. All the causes you fought for as a kid are still relevant, but now you've got a world that also includes violin lessons and breaking up fights over the last cookie. Your existence changes a little— that's inevitable.
Were you conscious about not wanting the book to be too insular to the punk community?
I think it just kind of came out that way. I wasn't going to go for absolute detail, like "Like it says on track two on the UK Subs' third album"—that would just be off-putting. I've heard [feedback] from my mom's next door neighbor; he never had kids, he's about 75 years old, he's an art teacher, and he loves the book.
And I don't have kids, either, but foresee that on the horizon, so it was an interesting read from that vantage point, too.
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