As Pennywise are due to hit the country soon in April as a part of their 25th anniversary celebrations, we decided to take a trip back in time to 1995 when the band toured the country not once, but actually twice in the same year.
The year was 1995 and in April, Pennywise made their first journey south to Australia, as a part of the Alternative Nation Festival lineup, joining the likes of Faith No More, Primus, Body Count, L7, Tool and a bunch more for three dates over Easter in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Alternative Nation was put together by tour promoters Michael Chugg and Michael Coppel in an attempt to rival the success of the Big Day Out. Due to the late withdrawl of headliners The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Stone Temple Pilots, coupled with cyclonic conditions at most of the shows, the festival lost a lot of money, totally flopped and was never heard of again. Pennywise were riding high on the success of the acclaimed "Unknown Road" album and had garnered a huge following in the skate/surf/snow community, who were familiar with the band's music through video soundtracks.
The band were well received at the Sydney show held in the mud at Eastern Creek Raceway. According to Fletcher, "We were playing in Sydney for the Alternative Nation Festival, we were playing against Live, they were on the main stage and we were on the side stage, there was literally 5 people in front of us. We were thinking “What the hell are we doing here?”, then 15 minutes later we had people pouring over the hill. They literally broke the barricade down, they brought in extra security; kids were rushing the stage. The energy was insane, it was great that everyone accepted us and just went nuts."
Footage from this show made it into the Pennywise video "Home Movies" released in November of the same year.
In December of the same year Pennywise returned, hot on the heels of the release of their third album "About Time" in June that made it to number 55 on the Australian albums chart. A pretty big deal for a punk band at the time. This time around the band had teamed up with surf video filmaker Taylor Steele for the premiere of his latest movie "Good Times". Taylor Steele had revolutionised the surf video market by producing movies that captured the modern day progression of rising stars like Kelly Slater and Rob Machado backed to Epitaph / Fat Wreck soundtracks that helped propel the popularity of bands like Pennywise, Bad Religion and Unwritten Law. Joining Pennywise on the launch tour were Melbourne's Bodyjar, Blink 182 and One Inch Punch for most of the dates too. Given Pennywise had only made the three Alternative Nation festival appearances in April and their popularity had further risen with the release of their new album "About Time", this was in reality the first Pennywise tour of the country that covered most of the East Coast as well as Perth and Adeliade too.
You can check out a short documentary of the tour filmed by Blink 182.
I went to the Selinas show of the tour, which from memory was sold out and the response for Pennywise was pretty incredible. They covered Black Flag's "Nervous Breakdown" and Minor Threat's "Minor Threat" along with the cheesy rendition of "Stand By Me". Was great to finally hear tracks off the first two albums live and I still hold "Unknown Road" in a very high regard to this present day.You can check out most of the Pennywise set from the Narrabean Sands Hotel show below.
Blink 182 were good friends with Taylor Steele and had been involved with the US tour launch of "Good Times" as well. The band had recently released their "Cheshire Cat" album as just Blink and had to adopt the 182 moniker to avoid being sued by a German techno band. The track "M&Ms" was starting to gain a bit of radio play and was given a lot of exposure on video soundtracks. Fletcher from Pennywise believed in the band so much, he paid for their airfares over to Australia so they could do the tour. The band played under Bodyjar and over One Inch Punch on the bill and really sounded terrible live. I wasn't a fan of the band to begin with, but naturally had heard them and was actually shocked at how amateurish they sounded in comparison to the two Melbourne bands. This was very early in their carreer and was pre Travis Barker joining. Who would have thought they would go on to make billions of dollars with their fart joke mentality.
This was prior to the release of their breakthrough album "Rimshot" for Bodyjar, but already they were "THE" punk band in Australia and more than worthy of the tour support. Blink 182's Mark Hoppus did join Bodyjar to sing the vocals to their Descendents cover of "Coolidge" on this tour.
For One Inch Punch this opportunity was pretty amazing, their first tour support that would expose them to audiences all over the country. This exposure really helped to increase the band's popularity and for a lot of people it was the first time they got to see the band. I think they didn't play all of the dates as in the Narrabean Sands video above, Pennywise singer Jim thanks Downtime for playing. Their debut album "Lost In What We Lack" was released early in 1995 and the original 750 copies they pressed, sold out quickly, and so it was re-mastered and re-released in greater numbers in time for this tour.
Full Tour Dates:
Dec 1, 1995 The Roxy, Brisbane
Dec 2, 1995 The Scream, Alexandra Headlands
Dec 3, 1995 The Roxy, Brisbane
Dec 5, 1995 Newcastle Workers Club, Newcastle
Dec 6, 1995 Sands Hotel, Narrabeen
Dec 8, 1995 Waves Nightclub, Wollongong
Dec 9, 1995 Selinas, Coogee Bay Hotel, Coogee
Dec 10, 1995 UNSW Roundhouse, Sydney
Dec 12, 1995 Metropolis, Fremantle
Dec 14, 1995 Liberty, Adelaide
Dec 15, 1995 The Palace, Melbourne
Dec 16, 1995 The Palace, Melbourne