Pennywise Flaunt Authority On New Record

California punk revivalists thrash for activism on Land of the Free?

WEST HOLLYWOOD, California — When Pennywise singer Jim Lindberg shouts "F--- authority!" on his band's new single, he's counting on fans to use some discretion before they make any moves — or better yet, listen to the rest of the lyrics.

"The idea behind the song is to get people motivated and let their voices be heard when a WTO [World Trade Organization] protest comes or when President Bush gets rid of subsidized Planned Parenthood," Lindberg said.

"F**k Authority" is the first single from Land of the Free? (released June 19), an album loaded with political ideology and calls for fans to get up, stand up. Lindberg said his lyrics were inspired by such recent events as the presidential election and the Los Angeles Police Department's Rampart Division controversy (a scandal that has led to more than 100 overturned criminal convictions).

"The stuff they uncovered was 10 times worse than the Rodney King beating," Lindberg said, referring to the videotaped thrashing of black motorist King in 1991 by four white police officers who were later acquitted of assault. "When you consider that the government is leveraged by lobbyist groups and corporate influences and special interest groups, it's like, 'Whose authority should you respect?'"

While Land of the Free? — which follows 1999's Straight Ahead — delivers plenty of the frenetic punk rock that Pennywise fans expect, the band occasionally settles into a groove. Lindberg credited producer Joe Barresi (Queens of the Stone Age, L7) with helping the group achieve a smoother sound this time around.

"Our other records were very urgent-sounding," Lindberg said of his band's six earlier records. "This album relaxes a little more, even though I would never consider Pennywise a relaxed band."

Pennywise planned to celebrate the album's release by staging a free show Tuesday (June 19) in the parking lot of Tower Records on Sunset Boulevard, but the city of West Hollywood revoked the permit. The band claims a city representative cited "F**k Authority" as the reason for yanking the permit, but West Hollywood mayor John Heilman said officials had security concerns after police shut down a recent Pennywise concert due to unruly fans.

Pennywise is among the headliners on the Warped Tour, launching Friday in Phoenix.