Interview: Jim Lindberg of Pennywise Talks ‘SpeakEasy’ Stage and BeachLife Festival

Jim Lindberg - Courtesy image

By JOHN DALY

As BeachLife Festival in Redondo Beach lures music fans to the South Bay of Los Angeles, California Rocker sat down to talk with Jim Lindberg of Pennywise. He’s curating a new stage at the festival this year, called SpeakEasy.

California Rocker: What made you decide on the musicians you curated for the SpeakEasy stage? Do you have any anecdotes about any of the musicians playing?

Jim Lindberg: Some of the guys like Jason Cruz of Strung Out, Trever Keith of Face to Face and Jason Devore of Authority Zero I’ve been playing shows with around the world for years. They are three of my favorite singer/songwriters in the business and all three just kill it on the acoustic as well. All the anecdotes I’d have about any of them have faded into a rambling Hunter S. Thompson fever dream of chaos and abandon. Tom Curren and Steve Caballero are absolute legends of surf and skate who also rip hard on the guitar. There’s just so much talent on the Speakeasy stage I doubt anyone will be watching the main stages. Sorry.

CR: How does it feel to have a festival in Redondo Beach, as you are a South Bay local. Is it an important event for the South Bay?

JL: Goes beyond words to say how important this is and the impact it’s having on the community. It’s long overdue. I’m actually pissed it took this long. I grew up here on the beaches of the south bay. Ate three square meals in the sand. Learned to do all the physical bodily functions right there on the beach at 30th stree where the Ironman started. Ocean water from the Pacific runs in my veins. Santa Monica had the Civic where I saw Devo play when I was 15. It’s about damn time we bring bands of their caliber down to our little slice of L.A.

CR: What did you do during the lockdown year and can we expect new music? Did you learn any new hobbies or anything while in lockdown?

JL: I mentored a young songwriter named Cooper Jones who is amazingly talented and happens to have Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy. You can follow his story at CoopersCure.org. I also wrote and recorded an acoustic album that will probably win a Grammy or a Razzie I’m not sure.  That and I fought with my band members over stupid stuff.  No new hobbies unless you count negotiating what festival t-shirt designs should look like. Mine are the best by the way.

Jim Lindberg – Courtesy

CR: What does the future hold for Pennywise? After Europe do you think you will tour the U.S.? 

JL: Death and taxes. Note necessarily in that order. But we’re lining up all kinds of shows right now. A couple metal festivals with Metallica. I used to go to Baja on surf trips listening to Master of Puppets on repeat so that will be fun. Would like to tour the U.S. Hoping independent stages will be back soon. Need to support the cause.

CR: People love Pennywise – do you answer a lot of fans on social media or in fan letters? What is the funniest request you ever got from a fan?

JL: To quit playing so many cover songs. I love playing songs by bands that influenced us growing up – Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Descendents, Ramones, The Clash, 7 Seconds, Dag Nasty – we may just become like the Replacements and do whole shows of cover songs. That would be punk. I answer some questions on social media but if I’m going to yell at my daughters all day to get off their phones I’m not going to do it all say either. Just shout your question to me from the stage. Be nice though – –  I’m sensitive and aggressive at the same time.

CR: Will you be performing on the SpeakEasy stage and if so can you give a hint of what you will do?

JL: I’ll be playing songs from my new album, cover songs, a couple Pennywise songs I wrote and also some Hungarian folk songs I plan to learn between now and the festival just to bum everyone out. Beachlife festival is all about ‘Good vibes’ but I think the Speakeasy stage will offer a few bad vibes just to keep things interesting.