For all of you who feared Jim Lindberg would be a fulltime punkrock dad after leaving Pennywise last year, rest assured. The good man pretty much immediately started a new band called The Black Pacific. They are currently gearing up to release a self-titled debut album which will be out September 14 on Side One Dummy. While the songs on it do bring back memories of his former band, it's different enough to sound fresh and invigorated. Read on to see what Lindberg himself had to tell us about both The Black Pacific and Pennywise.
PRT: Did you already regret not calling the band The Black Atlantic? With the whole BP thing it could have generated a lot of free publicity. How did you come up with the name The Black Pacific in the first place?
Jim: We named the band and then the whole BP oil spill thing happened the next week so maybe it was prophetic in a sense. I grew up at the beach in the South Bay of Los Angeles and so I wanted the name to reflect that in some way. Adding the ‘Black’ part was meant to reflect the whole yin and yang of good vs. evil and all that. Basically I just liked the sound of it better than the Jim Lindberg Explosion or something ridiculous. It seems these days a lot of bands just name themselves after a quote from a bad television show or something.
PRT: Was there any ever doubt in your mind about starting a new band or did you immediately start writing new material?
Jim: There was never any doubt in my mind that I’d start another band. I’ve been playing guitar and writing music since I was 12 years old. I played in a few bands before I was in Pennywise. Some pretty good, others really bad, but I always had fun doing it. This is what I do, for better or worse. I play music and write songs and play shows, and when I’m not doing that I’ll write books and use my writing in other ways. I’m unbelievably appreciative for the opportunity we had in Pennywise and I’m glad that a lot of people enjoyed the band and themusic we made together, but for me it was just time to move on. No one’s fault. I just wanted to be happy playing music again, and for whatever reason it wasn’t happening in my last band anymore. So the minute the decision was made, I literally picked up my guitar and haven’t looked back. I hope people can understand that, but I also understand if they don’t. Like the saying goes, you’d have to walk a mile in my shoes to understand things from my perspective.
PRT: The other two guys in the band are Alan Vega and Davey Latter. How did you hook up with them?
Jim: I’ve gotten to know a lot of musician’s over the last two decades, and unfortunately the stuck up, wannabe rock star a-holes outnumber the nice, cool, down to earth people about 2 to 1. My first priority for this band was to find normal, well-adjusted, cool people without attitudes. I met Alan on the Warped tour and we hit off right away. I sent him a track to put some drums on and he just killed it. He loves being in the studio and working on songs and so that’s great also. Davey has been my friend for years. We played in a cover band together and even though we played a few really embarrassing songs, we had fun doing it so I always wanted to be in a band with him again. We’re having a crap load of fun which is exactly what I wanted. That’s always been my focus for playing music and it always will be. Never been about money or fame. That shit’s ephemeral and overrated. I couldn’t care less what anyone else thinks.
PRT: On the one hand The Black Pacific is a new band. But you also have all your years in Pennywise behind you. How much of this feels like starting over?
Jim: It’s completely starting over. New band, new label, new everything, so that’s really great. A lot of bands from when we started out are going through a serious mid-life crisis right now. Some implode, some evolve and some just keep milking it. Basically I just wanted to rediscover what I loved about playing music and luckily I got that chance. Starting all over makes it all fun again. You can look at everything from a new angle, which makes it interesting.
PRT: I have to congratulate you on the album…it sounds extremely fresh and more diverse. Was it liberating for you to be able to write whatever you wanted to? Because with Pennywise it seemed as if you had certain criteria a song would have to live up to.
Jim: It’s definitely liberating to have the freedom to write whatever and however I want, and that goes for everything surrounding the band not just writing. Thepigeon hole that we were allowed to slip through seemed to be getting narrower instead of broader after 20 years. It’s hard not to feel stifled and frustrated in that situation. But I think this first album then is a transition from where I was to where I want to be. You have to make your own happiness in life and that’s what I had to try and do. The band is just getting started and there’s a lot of influences I haven’t explored yet that I think will surprise people, both lyrically and musically, that I didn’t have the freedom to pursue those before. There was always a sense I was writing for the Pennywise sound and representing thePennywise outlook. That wasn’t the other guys fault, I felt that more than anyone, that I was writing words and music that had to adhere to a certain list of constraints, so in that way it was easy to get trapped creatively, but now I’m free to do whatever I want. Which hopefully won’t result in some really bad disco salsa techno music at some point.
PRT: Now that I dropped the P-word… how did you feel about stepping out of a band you helped start 20 years ago and have you already seen the band live with Zoli?
Jim: Here’s the problem. I don’t bus chuck – which means slagging people in public. I think it makes bands look really bad. At some point in my last band all of us acted like assholes at one point or another. I had my reasons for leaving Pennywise but it would be impossible to go over them without chucking people under the bus, especially people who, regardless of our differences, we did something really great together. Pennywise and our fans and our experiences mean the world to me, we had our differences and there didn’t seem to be anyway to fix them anymore without someone getting burned. When it became obvious it wasn’t working, I did us all a favor and took myself out of thesituation. Now they have a great singer and can carry on what we did together and I can start all over again.
I feel I did everything I could possibly do right in leaving the band. I didn’t jump out of the van in Europe or walk off during a show like some guys do. We made our last album, and did a shit load of touring for it. When things got to a breaking point, I called a meeting and tried to discuss the situation like grown men and I offered to help find a replacement if we couldn’t find a compromise. I don’t know many people who have left a band that way. I never wanted it to be a situation where we flip each other off and never speak again.
As far as Pennywise with Zoli goes, I like Zoli a lot and I love Pennywise. I am inextricably attached to the band, but I don’t follow what they’re up to now. Too weird to see someone else singing a song I wrote about getting kicked out of a frat party. I lived it. I know what it’s about.
PRT: One of the reasons of leaving Pennywise was that you didn’t feel like touring as much as the other guys. So what’s the plan with The Black Pacific? Will you be going out on short two-week runs or will it be more of a studio project?
Jim: That was reason number twenty of a hundred. I love touring and I love playing shows. I’ll tour my ass off for this album just like I did in the past. In the Punk Rock Encyclopedia, it says, we were popular “Due to relentless touring” – that’s not a mirage or some unfounded misconception. We did album then tour without a significant break for about two decades. I’ll tour now exactly how I want to tour but it won’t be at the same level or intensity.
PRT: After having read “Punk Rock Dad” I’m guessing that not wanting to tour as much has something to do with wanting to spend more time with your family. I heard something about an upcoming “Punk Rock Dad” documentary. What can you already tell us about that?
Jim: These friends of mine are doing it and I suggested people for them to interview for the doc. There’s everyone from Tim from Rise Against, Fat Mike from NOFX, Duane Peters, Lars from Rancid, Mark from Blink 182, Tony from theAdolescents, Hetson from Circle Jerks, just countless dads talking about growing up listening to anti-authoritarian music and then having to be an authority figure for their own kids. A lot of these guys came from broken homes, so it’s amazing to see the heart coming from these guys when they choose to be great dad’s for their kids after coming from a bad situation.
PRT: You’ve always been someone with strong opinions and outspoken ideals. Something that apparently hasn’t changed when I listen to songs like “TheSystem” and “Put Down Your Weapons”. Do you never become discouraged and tired of fighting?
Jim: Sure. Sometimes when I read the newspaper every morning I just want to stop reading it and build a cabin in the woods and retreat from it all. It seems to get worse instead of better the older you get unfortunately. A lot of the population is self righteous, idiotic, selfish, ignorant, greedy…you can supply the adjectives by just watching the news every night. Hard not get discouraged in that environment. Only way not to give in is to try and focus as much as possible on positive things and reduce the negative cognitive dissonance in your life, focus on family, friends, music, skating, surfing, art, Mexican food, helping old ladies across the street. Everyone just being decent to each other is the only real answer to the man made problems of the world, its not more complicated than that.
PRT: Your first show will be September 26 at the Epicenter Twenty Ten festival. What can people expect and are there already plans for more shows after that?
Jim: Yeah we are putting some stuff together. I think we are doing a Europe tour and then back here in the states we’ll go out next year after the holidays. We really want to get out there and start playing.
PRT: Any last words for our readers?
Jim: Yes – check out theBlackPacific.com and go online and watch “Flight From Death” if you want to understand why the world is the way it is. Don’t be a hater. Peace, love, barre-chords, backyard ramps, and a nice swallow tail.