Pennywise was formed in 1988 in Hermosa Beach, California by four members Jim Lindberg (vocals), Fletcher Dragge (guitar), Byron McMackin (drums) and Jason Thirsk (bass). They released two EPs: A Word from the Wise (1989) and Wildcard (1989). Each of the band members had played in other bands in the Hermosa Beach, California area and attended the same high school. The group signed to Epitaph Records in 1990 and released their first album Pennywise (1991).
The album quickly spread throughout the punk community, earning the band some nation-wide recognition. Lyrics in the album endorsed a positive mental attitude, helping promote progressive ideals for Generation X. Lindberg left the band soon after the debut record. Bass player Randy Bradbury joined the lineup as Thirsk took over lead vocal duties.
In 1992, The Vandals lead singer Dave Quackenbush took over on vocals for a brief stint. Bradbury left the band and Thirsk returned to bass. Lindberg got married and returned to the group in 1992 in time for their second album Unknown Road (1993), an underground hit that established the band as a force in punk music. By 1995, punk bands The Offspring and Rancid hit the mainstream and Pennywise refused invitations to join several major labels.Make Pennywise Playlist