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There was much speculation that Pennywise were going to play at last night's Stanley Cup celebration in Anaheim, and indeed they did -- as demonstrated by the photo above (click for a larger view -- and note that Randy Bradbury and Jim Lindberg are sporting Ducks gear).

Looking back on this season, my interview with Pennywise guitarist Fletcher Dragge where we discussed the usage of Bro Hymn in sports and specifically the NHL, was one of my favourite interviews of the year. At that time, Dragge told me that I was the first media member to ever speak to the band about this subject.

We're experiencing a lot of traffic from Ducks fans looking for information on Pennywise, so I'm going to re-post the interview once more. Enjoy.


From TUC -- October 2006:

I spent Friday evening downtown at the Capital Music Hall interviewing Fletcher Dragge (far left in photo) -- guitarist from the Hermosa Beach, CA institution known as Pennywise. Pennywise is another one of those fantastic SoCal punk bands that I grew up listening to -- so imagine my surprise when the Ottawa Senators recently began spinning one of their tracks after a goal is scored.

The song is called "Bro Hymn", and the trend of hearing it played after goals didn't start in Ottawa -- it actually began in Anaheim during the Ducks' playoff run last year. Anaheim would play it religiously, and the fans eventually caught onto the catchy chorus. Here's a clip of the song as it's heard in both the Anaheim and Ottawa arenas:

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If a song is receiving regular exposure in the venues where a major sport is being played, you'd think the band would be thrilled, right? Not necessarily...because there's a lot more to "Bro Hymn" than just a great hook.

The song was written by Pennywise's former bassist, Jason Thirsk. During a leave of absence from the band in 1996 (a decision made to battle growing problems with alcoholism), Thirsk tragically died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Thirsk had originally written the song as a tribute to friends in his life who had passed on, but after their bassist's unexpected death, the band dedicated the song to him, closed every live show they have played since with it, and included Thirsk's name in the lyrics.

So what was Fletcher's take on their sacred song being used at NHL games?

"We're not upset, but it's not cool," Dragge said. "There's a deep meaning behind that song and it's weird for it to be used in such a fashion.

"I mean, we're not that upset, because it's a celebratory thing, and the song celebrates life. Jason loved sports. It all depends what it's being used for, right? I mean, if it were being played in a shampoo commercial, I'd be bummed."

The main issue currently irking the band seems to be the importance of the song getting lost in the shuffle.

"They're only hearing the chorus; they're not hearing any of the lyrics," Dragge pointed out. "They don't know any of the lyrics, but if they did, maybe they could relate better.

"We appreciate the recognition, but the importance of the song is being missed."

Pennywise's best-known song is also significant to its fans; the band regularly hears of it being played at funerals, and Fletcher even referenced a father and mother showing up at the Toronto show on Thursday, who had recently lost their 15-year-old son.

"They played (Bro Hymn) at the funeral, and they wanted to be at the show for their son. The most normal-looking people you'd ever see," Dragge said.

But the more traditional celebratory use of the song doesn't appear to be going away anytime soon. In fact, this isn't the first time it's been used at a sporting event.

"There's a Belgian soccer team that uses it -- you've got 70,000 people all at once singing it -- it's crazy," Dragge said. "We went over there, and no one knew who we were until we played the song. Then they went absolutely nuts."

No word of a mosh pit breaking out. Something tells me Thirsk would have loved to see that happen.

Bro Hymn lyrics

To our friend,
Present, past and beyond
Even though you weren't with us too long
Life is the most precious thing you can lose
While you were here the fun was never ending
Laugh a minute only the beginning
Jason Matthew Thirsk, this one's for you

Wooooaoooah Woooah Woooah Wooah

Ever get the feeling you can't go on
Just remember whose side it is that you're on
You've got friends with you till the end
If you're ever in a tough situation
We'll be there with no hesitation
Brotherhood's our rule we cannot bend

Wooooaoooah Woooah Woooah Wooah

When you're feeling too close to the bottom
You know who it is you can count on
Someone will pick you up again
we can conquer anything together
All of us are bonded forever
If you die I die, that's the way it is

Wooooaoooah Woooah Woooah Wooah

To all my friends,
Present, past and beyond
To all those who weren't with us too long
Life is the most precious thing that you can lose
While you were here the fun was never ending
Laugh a minute was only the beginning
Jason, my brother, this one's for you.