Jim Lindberg of Pennywise and Black Pacific on The Other F Word: 'I Check My Kids' Facebook Profiles Regularly'
Jim Lindberg's 2008 book Punk Rock Dad: No Rules, Just Real Life described how the Lindberg, the man who sang "Fuck Authority" for the punk rock band Pennywise, raised three daughters. It was such an inspiring story that director Andrea Nevins offered to make a documentary on Lindberg and his family. The result, however, was more than just Lindberg talking about his life. ForThe Other F Word, Lindberg and Nevins roped in Blink-182's Mark Hoppus, Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea, Rise Against's Tim McIlrath and more to talk about how they navigate fatherhood even as they hold anti-establishment positions in the punk rock world.
OC Weekly: How did this movie happen?
Jim Lindberg: Andrea (Nevins), the director, and the producer Cristan Reilly came to me with the idea after they saw that I had written Punk Rock Dad. They wanted to follow me around and have it based on me. But I knew there were so many other bands in my position so I suggested other guys for them to talk to; I thought it would add a lot of variety.
What's really surprising about the film is people are thinking it will be a movie about how cute our kids are because we give them mohawks and we put Doc Martens on them, that it would be about kids as punk rock accessories. But it's not that at all; it's a very powerful film about the nature of fatherhood and authority, and people will walk away with a greater understanding of what motivates punk rock musicians.
What was your big motivation for writing the book?
Most people can identify that there are a lot of challenges just by being a parent alone. But when you are trying to be a good parent and a lead singer of a band, those two professions don't usually mesh well together.
I was up there cussing and spitting and singing about authority when I was supposed to be at home being an authority figure for my kids, so I knew it was a really unique situation. [As a punk rock kid I grew up with] a lot of ideology about rebellion and anti-establishment; a lot of that changes when you do become a parent. The book was a lot about that conflict but also offered a unique perspective on parenting.
So now, how do you describe your parenting style?
Spontaneous, at best. I try to respond to every new situation how I feel is best. I don't try to pretend to be the kids' best friend, I'm the exact opposite. I expect a lot from my kids. They perform well in school and do their chores; we have a blast together but I definitely want them to succeed and accomplish things in life. There's a choice; do I want to be the super cool parent who lets them do what they want, so they get into trouble like you did as a kid, or become a super strict disciplinarian? I just try to find a balance. I try to go wtih my instincts....
Does having three girls make it easier or harder to be a punk rock dad?
It makes it more stressful for me, although there's different obstacles with boys and girls. I check my kids' Facebook regularly to see what they've got going onl These days there's so much technology that makes it really easy for parents to spy on their kids--GPS, Facebook.
Have your children used that line, "I don't care what you think?" in an argument with you?
I have a 14-year-old and so I'm just starting to get that. I was completely that way with my parents. [That father-daughter relationship] is one that is fraught with peril.
Does that transcend to music? Do they care about punk music?
Over the years I've let them listen to whatever they want to, obviously. Their friends listen to Black Eyed Peas and Taylor Swift (I really think Taylor Swift is great. Each song has a great storyline and she's a great role model for young girls), but different times when I'm playing the Clash or Blondie and the Ramones, and they love that. That's probably one benefit to having a dad that's a musician. I've tried not to be overbearing when it comes to music and things like that.
Do your kids' friends get impressed with the fact that you're from Pennywise?
I don't know ... for these kids, growing up in LA/OC at the beach, everyone is super cool. The things that parents do--that's just an inadvertent fact of where we live. Their parents could be a hedge fund manager, a celebrity actor, a guy in a famous band--that's just par for the course. Nothing really fazes these kids and they're just in their own world. But I know my daughter likes it that people in her school wears hoodies or shirts that has their dad's band's name on them.
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