JIM LINDBERG // Pennywise’s Jim Lindberg On His Biographical Album ‘Songs From The Elkhorn Trail’

After fronting the iconic So-Cal punk act Pennywise for over two decades, Songs From The Elkhorn Trail comes as a massive changeup for Jim Lindberg.

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Being the first release under Jim’s name, the now 56 year old ‘punk rock dad’ spoke of how as an album, it marks a culmination of over 30 years in the making.

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“It’s been a long time coming,” he laughs, “in fact, I’ve been playing acoustic guitar since I was a kid so it’s almost 30-40 years in the making.”

Spanning a collection of sounds that highlight the different influences Jim has had throughout his life and taking a much deeper and more introspective lyrical approach, Elkhorn Trail feels almost like an auto-biography. According to Jim, it more or less is.

“I’ve been writing songs since I was a little kid and one of the songs on the album, ‘The Basement’ I wrote when I was about 15 years old,”

When asked if he was listening to The Cure as a 15 year old, due to clear inspiration of the electronic drum loop, he laughed and said “I was actually, a lot. But I listened to all kinds of stuff and always have.”

“I feel that because we play fast skate-punk people think that it’s all we listen to but I was really into The Cramps; and rockabilly and bands like The Cure and all kinds of nutty and different stuff.”

“That song in particular, I had written years and years ago about living in the basement of my parents house. I moved down there to get some space away from the family and it had all bugs and spiders and all kinds of crazy things down there. But it was Ted Hutt, the producer who actually added the drum track on it and I instantly thought it was really cool. The song had always reminded me of The Violent Femmes and then when Ted added that drum track it went in a completely different direction. I love that. I love it as the album goes on it’s all acoustic with some strings and horns and then as it goes on there’s this song with a cheesy Casio looped drumbeat, it sounds cool.”

I feel that because we play fast skate-punk people think that it’s all we listen to but I was really into The Cramps; and rockabilly and bands like The Cure and all kinds of nutty and different stuff.
[ Jim Lindberg ]

Although, considering this collection of songs has been so many years in the making, it begs the question; why have they never been released?

“Coming into Pennywise, we were really trying to write anthemic skate punk songs that were very influenced by bands like 7 Seconds and Dag Nasty and obviously Bad Religion. We were going for the anthems and for more of the movement and cause of ‘us against them’.

“But that being a song, there are some songs like Nothing, which is about my battles with God and religion and a song called It’s Up To Me, which sounds like I’m singing about someone else but I was really trying to inspire myself to live a better life and on my own terms. But as a whole this album is much more personal. There’s a song called Don’t Lay Me Down which is about my dad dying of alzheimers and is a very personal song which features a lot of details about what that experience was like.”

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“A lot of the riffs I’d had for a long time but hadn’t put lyrics to until recently. Palm Of Your Hand for instance I’ve had forever; initially I called it Against Moi because I thought it sounded like a song that Against Me! would write. It actually wasn’t until right before the album that I fleshed it out with lyrics.”

“So in a way Songs From The Elkhorn Trail has a real mishmash of different time zones and era’s scattered throughout the album.”

Purchase and stream here.

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