[pullquote quote=”I’m a fan, first and foremost, and I’m the guitar player second. I know, from a fan standpoint, I can’t stop listening to this record. “]”Even if they don’t like the album, they’re not going to be able to say it’s a bad album. There’s no way. I know because I’m a Pennywise fan. I’m a fan, first and foremost, and I’m the guitar player second. I know, from a fan standpoint, I can’t stop listening to this record,” said Fletcher Dragge, guitarist for the iconic Californian punk rock band.
“All or Nothing,” the title track single from their upcoming album out on May 1st, ”encompasses the theme of the album and what we were going through as a band,” explained Dragge. “Anybody that’s listening, that’s in that situation in life that knows they need to keep on swinging, will be able to relate to the song.” The song debuted this afternoon on KROQ’s 4:20 with Stryker.
According to Dragge, “All Or Nothing” is how they see the state of their career. Releasing their tenth album four years after 2008’s Reason To Believe, Pennywise are either “going full” or they’re done–especially with the drama surrounding the departure of their ex-lead singer, Jim Lindberg and his replacement with Ignite’s Zoli Teglas.
Dragge didn’t just have a lot to say about the tempestuous writing situation on the new album or the meaning of the song “All Or Nothing.” The Pennywise guitar player set the record straight on how Lindberg’s “guise” of leaving the band for family reasons left “none of them feeling good.”
Dragge just feels this means Pennywise has more to prove. “We’ve got to deliver big for our fans. We’ve got to let them know that we’re still here. We didn’t give up,” he asserted passionately later. “The bottom line is: we didn’t quit Pennywise. We didn’t quit our fans. Jim did.”
“Not only was it a triple slap to all the band members in the face, it was kind of a slap in the face to the fans. These fans have been neglected for years and years,” stated Dragge, irately describing how Jim’s new band, Black Pacific, which he apparently joined a day after quitting Pennywise, did a five-week tour in Europe during the winter holiday season. [pullquote quote=”It became wide open. Nobody’s feelings were spared. You’d kind of fist fight it at 10am and laughing about it at 12 o’clock, drinking a beer and eating Numero Uno pizza or something. “]
Something which Lindberg allegedly wouldn’t allow when he was with Pennywise.
Towards the end, Lindberg didn’t show signs that he wanted to be there “one hundred percent” and the band got into a “rut” and felt “stagnant” because they were afraid to piss Jim off.
“None of us feel good about it at all,” replied Dragge when asked about the situation. “Because we went to some great lengths to kind of keep him in the band and keep him happy. He went ahead and quit the band under the guise of no more touring, staying home with my family, and working on all these other projects, but came to find out he started a band a day later.”
A band which Dragge said sounds like a “watered-down” version of Pennywise.
“You know, whether he hates us or just doesn’t like the music or whatever it might have been, we would have been totally accepting of that,” continued Dragge. “A little bummed, of course, but instead he kind of told us this whole big story.”
With Teglas now on vocals and in the studio (Dragge said he “kind of sounds like a young Jim, back when Jim’s voice was higher”), Pennywise has gone back to their “old school roots” and are getting “out of their box” while simultaneously making the studio into a veritable boxing ring.
[pullquote quote=”We were a thousand times worse than Metallica…We would have made them look like school children if they had cameras running. “]”Being able to get Zoli in the band really opened the door for communication. Because in the early days of Pennywise it was a lot of yelling and screaming and everyone just saying, ‘Eff you. That part sucks. You suck,'” elucidated Dragge.
“It was pretty unpleasant making a Pennywise album because there’s so many opinions flying around and everyone had such strong opinions. But I always say at the end of the day, everyone felt like they got their hands in the cookie jar and helped write the song.”
“And even if it was arguing over a snare roll and how long it should be and how long a break down should be or whatever–it was everybody involved and no one cared about anyone’s feelings.”
“At the end of the day, you went out and drank a beer and got hammered and it was all good, so with Zoli it became that again,” laughed Dragge. “It became wide open. Nobody’s feelings were spared. You’d kind of fist fight it at 10am and laugh about it at 12 o’clock–drinking a beer and eating Numero Uno pizza or something.”
The guitar player likened the whole experience to that portrayed in the provocative Metallica documentary, Some Kind of Monster. Only way more dramatic.
[pullquote quote=”I’m talking, seriously, almost fist fights and physical altercations with no therapist on hand to stop it.”]”We were a thousand times worse than Metallica,” Dragge said. “We would have made them look like school children if they had cameras running. I’m talking, seriously, almost fist fights and physical altercations with no therapist on hand to stop it. Unfortunately, it takes that kind of energy to make a good Pennywise album.”
That aggressive energy is sublimated into songs like “All Or Nothing” which Dragge dubbed a “wake-up call to everybody that’s living in the world.”
[pullquote quote=”We’re always the band that’s saying, ‘Get off your a** and break something. If it’s not right, don’t just sit there and wait for your demise. Take action now. “]”We’re in a crazy spot,” Dragge elaborated. “Besides just the band drama that’s happened with Pennywise, the world’s in a crazy spot. Economies are melting down; the government’s getting more controlled…Society’s getting more and more complacent and letting big business take over the country and then the world in general.”
“That becomes really scary for citizens of any country around the world, ” continued Dragge. “So, it’s kind of like, ‘What’s the f**king problem with the world today? You need to get up and stand up and go 150% to rectify this situation.”
“We’re always the band that’s saying, ‘Get off your a** and break something,'” concluded the guitarist. “If it’s not right, don’t just sit there and wait for your demise. Take action now.”*
- All or Nothing – 2:29
- Waste Another Day – 2:22
- Revolution – 3:25
- Stand Strong – 3:10
- Let Us Hear Your Voice – 3:43
- Seeing Red – 2:54
- Songs of Sorrow – 3:35
- X Generation – 3:15
- We Have It All – 2:59
- Tomorrow – 3:17
- All Along – 3:09
- United – 2:49
Pre-order your copy of All Or Nothing here.