My Greg Salem punk rock PI series revolves around a fictional SoCal band called BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, but the music and musicians that inspired these books are very real.
The playlist includes songs from the 70s to the 2000s, ranging from Black Flag, The Runaways, Lagwagon and Minutemen to The Gun Club, Pennywise, The Bags and Face To Face. There are thousands of other songs I could have included, but 30 seems right for now.
I’m loosely defining SoCal as the region between San Diego and Santa Barbara. Likewise, the definition of “punk” is also pretty loose because it’s one of those words that means something different to everybody.
So…save your aggression for the pit, bro. As Descendents would say—Enjoy!
SoCal’s South Bay community (including Hermosa Beach) has long been considered the cradle of American hardcore. Once home to the legendary church immortalized in The Decline of Western Civilization, this laid back beach town has produced an endless flow of punk bands over the decades including the big four—Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Descendents and Pennywise. Formed a decade after their forerunners, Pennywise picked the flag up and continues to carry it around the world thirty years later with hard-hitting songs that are often about positivity and self-reliance.
“Date With Destiny” from their 1997 album Full Circle exemplifies the band’s sound, but the lyrics would make a great short story. Our narrator opens by describing a series of untimely deaths ranging from a plane crash to an earthquake. It’s clear that he’s having extreme thoughts about the nature of life and coming to grips with the inevitable demise awaiting us all. More than just a morose examination of mortality, our protagonist challenges us to examine the way we lead our lives. He asks what we would do if we only had one hour to live, ultimately pleading with us to live every hour like it was our last.
Read the lyrics for Pennywise’s “Date With Destiny” HERE.
My podcast interview with Pennywise lead singer Jim Lindberg:
I recently spoke with two punk singers about their favorite authors and books. If you like punk rock and reading as much as I do, you’ll definitely dig what Joey Cape (Lagwagon) and Jim Lindberg (Pennywise) have to say. These two episodes were part of a podcast mini-series called “Books on the Bus.”
Rock and reading have long been two of my biggest obsessions, but I’ve discovered a third in the last few years—podcasts. A combination of all those influences led me to create Books on the Bus, a five-part podcast mini-series about the intersection of rock and reading.
Each episode features a musician sharing about their favorite books and authors, how books inspire their lyrics, the best rock biographies, and what they like to read on the road. I originally posted them over the course of a week in January, but have collected all five episodes here. Enjoy.
For the fifth and final episode of the Books on the Bus podcast mini-series, I connected with Jim Lindberg, lead singer of Southern California punk band Pennywise. I’m thrilled to connect with Jim because Pennywise is among a handful of legendary South Bay bands—along with Black Flag, Descendents and Circle Jerks—that fueled my Greg Salem punk rock P.I. novels including BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, GRIZZLY SEASON and HANG TIME.
In addition to writing the autobiography PUNK ROCK DAD, Jim writes most of the lyrics for Pennywise, with self-reliance as a running theme throughout their catalog. He also has a degree in English and counts Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau among his influences, citing them as America’s “first punk rockers.” We also discuss DARK MONEYby Jane Mayer, FLOW by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and ON THE ROAD by Jack Kerouac, among many others.
Here’s “Books on the Bus,” episode 5:
Find out more Jim Lindberg’s passion for music and reading HERE. Find out more about Pennywise HERE.
Here are the four previous episodes of Books on the Bus:
Rock and reading have long been two of my biggest obsessions, but I have discovered a third in the last few years—podcasts. Radio shows like Somewhere Out There with Joe Frank, This American Life, and Radiolab were my gateway drugs. Once in the podcast universe, I quickly expanded to WTF with Marc Maron, Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, Cracked, Re:sound, Freakonomics, and Snap Judgement. Lately, I’ve been digging Desert Oracle Radio, Kurt Vonneguys, and The Hilarious World of Depression.
It was a discussion about our favorite podcasts that compelled Eric Beetner and me to create the monthly crime and mystery podcast, Writer Types. And now my podcast fascination has led me to a new solo project that I’m calling Books on the Bus—a five-part podcast mini-series about the intersection of rock and reading. Each episode features a musician sharing about their favorite books and authors, how books inspire their lyrics, the best rock biographies, and what they like to read on the road—in addition to some unexpected tangents. A new episode will be posted daily between January 29 and Friday, February 2 over on the Rare Bird Radio podcast platform.
To say that this project brings together all of my favorite things would be a huge understatement. My guests include:
Jan. 29: Jeff Whalen—Tsar
Jan. 30: Joey Cape—Lagwagon, Me First & The Gimme Gimmes
Jan. 31: Todd Pasternack—Ominous Seapods, author of LESSONS FROM THE ROAD: MUSICIANS AS BUSINESS LEADER
Feb. 1: Marko DeSantis—Sugarcult, Bad Astronaut
Feb. 2: Jim Lindberg—Pennywise, author of PUNK ROCK DAD