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Such sentiments may strike a few observers as mawkish and didactic, but Lindberg feels that anyone who has a negative reaction to them has "a misconception about the band. They may think we preach too much, but what people have to understand is that we're talking to ourselves in these songs. We're not going out and telling someone to get a life. The song 'Get a Life' is just a way of saying to yourself, 'Don't sit around all day and waste it, because obviously it can be taken away from you any second.'"
That said, Pennywise is definitely not shy about climbing onto a soapbox. The band has long been involved in fighting against corporate and government polluters, and to further this cause, its members support the Surfrider Foundation, an organization established by surfers that seeks to promote responsible maintenance of the planet's oceans. (They contributed a ripping version of "Surfin' U.S.A." to M.O.M.: Music for Our Mother Earth, a CD that benefited the foundation.) "Go Away," from Circle, deals with these issues, which Lindberg, a longtime surfer and beach resident, sees as vital. "The reason they keep dumping sewage right in front of our house is because none of the people who enjoy going to the oceans are doing anything about it," he asserts. "A song like 'Go Away' is trying to raise awareness and inspire people that there are things they can do. It's basically a song about choosing your own battles and letting your voice get heard."
The Pennywise four are doing just that as part of the Vans Warped Tour, one of several traveling festivals making the rounds this summer. Lindberg champions it in part because its admission prices are lower than those for the H.O.R.D.E. and Lollapalooza jaunts. In fact, Pennywise turned down an offer to play the main stage at Lollapalooza in 1995 because, in Lindberg's words, "thirty bucks is a lot for our fans to come and see us and not care for any of the other bands on the bill." This realization led indirectly to Pennywise's association with Warped. Lindberg was exploring the possibility of organizing a mini-festival starring bands popular in the skate world when he was contacted by promoter Kevin Lyman, who had already put together a tour with a similar theme. Lyman subsequently offered the outfit the co-headlining slot alongside NOFX at the second Warped event. Lindberg is even more enthusiastic about the prospects for the latest edition. "I think it's a testament to the strength and the health of the scene that Warped did so well, and it's coming back even stronger this year. In most of the markets, we've doubled the amount of tickets. To me, it's a great event. You get to see fifteen bands for fifteen dollars as well as seeing some of the best skateboarders in the world."
Of course, last year's Denver show, held at Red Rocks, was not without its pitfalls. Ticket-holders frustrated by a no-moshing policy pelted the stage with garbage throughout the day--an act of defiance that reached its apex during Pennywise's set. When asked if he has any advice for anyone interested in attending this year's concert, which is being held at a much more appropriate venue, Franklin Field in Boulder, Lindberg replies, "Yeah--don't throw trash."
Then again, Lindberg recognizes that getting pegged with disposable cups is a minor annoyance compared with what Pennywise has gone through since last July. "We've always been a band that does things honestly and put our personal lives in our music," he says. "And now we have an incredible tragedy to deal with."