Of course its fucking political!!!! When President Bush got into office in the farce that was the American Election the kids needed someone to speak up for them. Pennywise are that band and with a new album "Land Of The Free?" in shops now they're hammering home the message harder than ever. We caught up with frontman Jim to discuss their Utopian manifesto and why they'll always walk it like they talk it.
Q: You're headlining tonight on the Deconstruction tour. Must feel good?
A: We never really look at it that way. Were just playing with a bunch of bands and I think all the bands have the potential to play last, its just that were the suckers that have to do it!!! But I like all the bands on the tour and i'm a big fan of Avail and Sick Of It All.
Q: The new album "Land Of The Free" is out in the shops now. Very anti-establishment, anti-government isn't it?
A: Well its a very critical time in American politics cos' President Bush getting in office is a real blow to anybody who believes in democratic principles which they tend to disregard. If your anyone who cares about politics or the way the world is heading in you've got to be concerned. But the Republican Conservative Right are terrorists in office who do it through banks and policy instead of with bomb.....they break people in other ways.
We've always been a band who has had political issues in our music so when things like this happen its obvious what type of record were going to put out.
Q: Do you think its just America or a world-wide problem?
A: You know its interesting....at home there's such a high level of apathy about what's going on in government. People are like "hey, as long as i've got my job" and they don't worry about it. I think abroad in Europe people are more pissed off about Bush than anywhere else. When he doesn't sign the Kyoto agreement about producing emissions that are going to affect other people in other parts of the world I think its quite dis-heartening for people all over the world.
I think America tries to push its ideas on other countries all over the world and it pretty distressing for us when your pretty anti-government authority.
Q: You talked before about the apathetic nature of the general American public. Is it just apathy or laziness or is it a general stream of mis-information?
A: Its all three. I think its mainly that because of the Hollywood-isation of politics its become such a cult of personality. It doesn't matter what anybody's saying, its how they look on TV. Its not about the issues and its not about any type of real change - its about keeping the status quo.
Unfortunately if you see what's happening, its been exported to other parts of the world. That's why your having all these WTO protests, because everybody is realizing that these companies behind the scene's are planning all their different way to exploit the environment and human rights and workers rights and they're not letting people like Greenpeace be involved.
It was really inspiring for us to see all those protests and see people getting involved cos' that's the only means or weapons that people have to counter-act. We want this album to be an inspiration to people are pissed off and want to go out and make some noise about it and that's what were doing.
Q: Apparently on your website there's your Utopian manifesto. Would you like to tell the readers what its all about?
A: Well I think if you're going to be a band like ours that spouts so much political rhetoric and complaining so much about how things are you have to come up with some concrete ideas about how things can be changed for the better. Were very opinionated about things and how they could be for the better so its like a term to say "These are our ideas on the environment and organized religions influence in politics and if it was this way it would be better for everyone".
Then when people say what have you done we can say "Its on the website. You want to know what our answers and beliefs are in concrete black and white". I think its important to either put up or shut up because if you don't offer any answers you're just somebody making a load of noise.
Q: Do you think kids listen to the lyrics and the message at a gig like this?
A: I'm sure a lot of them don't but I'm sure there's a few who do and I know I did when I was younger. I was exactly the same and didn't give a fuck about anything except getting laid, drinking beer and having a good time That's all well and good but then there were certain bands that came along and got me thinking about things and opened my eyes to a lot of things. If punk music can change me, it can change one or two kids out there.
Q: You have to watch yourself when you talk - you only have to look at Lennon, Marley and Tupac and all the conspiracy theories surrounding them. Do you worry if the band ever gets to that stature you may be bumped off?
A: That's the thing and its something Chomsky said. He founded a lot of the ideas which we believe in and reading him is one of the biggest inspirations for our lyrics. Whenever they try to talk about him personally (Where do you grow up? What's your favourite colour?) he'd always turn the attention away from himself because its about his ideas. Its something we've always tried to and there so many things we could do to hype ourselves up or change to be a more popular band but that's not what were in it for.
Q: Do you think there are some people like that. I.e. Marilyn Manson, who is anti-government and anti-establishment but in the same respect is so......?
A: And also I see that as its more tearing things down than trying to build things up. More of a negative undertone in everything. Its like everything sucks and there's no religion and we'll all go out dressed like fucking vampires. All this gothic stuff is well and good if you want to pretend its Halloween everyday but in the real world I thinks its important to look at the real issues.
That's pretty dis-heartening if your someone who believes in the band and you come to find there just in it for the money and the fame, drugs and the women. If that's what some bands want to do then that's great and its who you are. Its really important for us that we walk the talk.
"Land Of The Free?" is out now via Epitaph