Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Aging punk rocker still swears - but not near the kids

Aging punk rocker still swears - but not near the kids
Tue May 8, 2007 5:51 PM IST

By Belinda Goldsmith

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - As the singer in a punk rock band, Jim Lindberg faces the dilemma of many of his graying contemporaries - how to swear and lead a life of rebellion while raising children and paying the mortgage.

Lindberg, lead singer of California band Pennywise, still dyes his hair and plays songs at full volume but he also drives his three daughters to school, lets them listen to Britney Spears, and pays his taxes.

Lindberg, 41, is one of the aging breed of punk rockers from the 1970s and 1980s who are finding a way to reconcile a life of rebellion with parental responsibilities such as disciplining children and worrying about media violence.

"This is the graying of punk rock where a lot of people who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s are now at an age where they are having kids and getting mortgages. It is a new experience for us," Lindberg told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"The strangest part for a lot of my peer group is that we grew up championing the rights of expression but then you see some slasher movie and won't let the kids watch it."

Lindberg has just written a book about raising a family while staying true to his punk core which is called "Punk Rock Dad" - but he admits he probably won't let his daughters, aged 3, 8 and 10, read it due to the bad language and party talk.

Lindberg said he is one of millions of dads who grew up in the 1970s following Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols and Joey Ramone of the Ramones, adopting punk rock's rebellious attitude toward the establishment and distinctive clothing.

Pennywise, named after the monster from the Stephen King horror novel "It", formed in Hermona Beach, California, in 1988 and is still going, with plans for a new album this year.

In 1996 the band's former bassist Jason Thirsk shot himself at the age of 28 after battling alcoholism.

Lindberg said Thirsk's death was a real wake up call and then he became a father which really made him grow up although some of his peers have changed little from the early days.

"Generation Xers are suffering from prolonged adolescence. You have a lot of people aged 40 and up trying desperately to hold on to their youth, shirking responsibility," said Lindberg.

"It is almost certainly defined by those who do have kids and those who don't. Those with kids have cut down on the party circuit and try to limit time away from their family but those without kids still act like they are 18."

But Lindberg believes becoming a father, who promotes the benefits of vegetables and early bed, does not necessitate abandoning punk rock.

He argues punk music is more about freedom of expression than anti-social behavior - and punk rockers can be conservative and make good, role-model fathers .

"I probably began with the idea that punk rock dads are different from others but I came out the other side realizing that we are really all the same," he said.

"But I think as long as you stick to the ideals of punk music, you can be a grey punk rocker."

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