Pennywise Look Straight Ahead and Down Under

Pennywise Look Straight Ahead and Down Under

The killer clown, Pennywise, was resurrected this year for IT Chapter Two, 27 years after his run-in with the Losers’ Club. 28 years ago the namesake band of that clown released their debut self-titled album. Eight years later they released their ARIA chart number eight feature album, ‘Straight Ahead’. Now the California skate-punk band are bringing the 18 track album down under to celebrate its anniversary.

“I would say it makes me feel old but for some reason, I refuse to grow up. At this point I cannot believe the fact that that album is 20 years old and that we’ve been around for 30 years which is ridiculous but it’s definitely pretty crazy,” admits guitarist Fletcher Dragge. “We feel super stoked to be coming down. The first time we ever did a full album show was in Australia on the ‘About Time’ tour and it was one of the best tours we’ve ever done in our entire lives so we’ve kind of just dubbed Australia as the place where we go play full albums. This will be the first time playing it, and we’re looking forward to it for sure.”

Including their version of the real Australian national anthem, ‘Down Under’, the boys will be in for a challenge. ‘Straight Ahead’ hits hard from the bass line beginnings of ‘Greed’ all the way through to curt closing of ‘Bridge Of Pride’ but Dragge anticipates the mosh pit will be next level wild for it.

“This record is – I mean obviously we don’t sit around listening to Pennywise records – but you hear a song here or there on the radio or someone has a mixed tape or some shit but putting this record out and listening to it in its entirety is scary because it is a pretty crazy album. I mean to play it is extremely fast, it’s got a lot of complicated parts for us at least, and it’s definitely going to take some work and it’s definitely going to be scary but I think we like a challenge. I feel like listening to this record it’s definitely one of my favourite Pennywise records we’ve ever done and it’s kind of non-stop from the first song until the last song, so I think there’s no way that a couple of hundred or thousand drunk Aussies aren’t going to go crazy when they get in that room with us. I think it’s going to be off the hook.”

Not only are the tracks complicated and full-on high energy for the entirety, but some of the tracks also have never seen the light on stage with the band having to completely learn how to play them again.

“There’s about six or seven songs that we’ve never ever, ever played live, so that’s going to be a crazy learning curve. The funny part about playing these album shows is you can’t say ‘I don’t want to play this song tonight’ or ‘my arm hurts’ or ‘my voice hurts’ or ‘my wrist hurts’ – there are no excuses. We’re going out there and we’re doing it,” Dragge says.

Our thoughts go out to drummer, Byron McMckin. With such full-on tracks, McMckin will be floating in a pool of sweat by the final kit strike. “Our drummer is freaking out because the drums are crazy as fuck on this record. He’s got his work cut out for him, I feel sorry for him. I don’t know why drummers don’t get portable AC fans.”

Hmm, solid point Dragge. Hey Forum Theatre, include portable AC’s, an inflatable pool and maybe some paddles on Pennywise’s rider, things are about to get sweaty!

Pennywise take to Forum Theatre Thursday 6 February. Tickets to see the punk legends are on sale now at Live Nation.

Written by Tammy Walters
Photo by Josh Coffman