In a split that can only be described as amicable, vocalist Jim Lindberg has left longtime melodic punk band Pennywise. In a statement released late last week, the remaining members of the band supported Lindberg in his decision to leave the band after nine studio albums and almost two decades.
"After 19 years with Pennywise, Jim Lindberg has decided to step down as lead singer," posted the band on their MySpace page. "Pennywise has long stood behind the motto that you should always follow your heart and pursue what makes you happy, and we wish Jim the best of luck in his new ventures, whatever they may be."
Lindberg released his own statement the same day, thanking the band's fans for their ongoing support, in particular during tough times for the band, most notably the suicide of original bassist Jason Thirsk in 1996.
"After 20 years, nine albums and thousands of shows around the world, my time in Pennywise has come to an end," Lindberg said. "Being the singer for this band has been an amazing experience, and along the way we made some of the best fans anyone could ask for.
"I want to express my deepest thanks to all of you for sticking with us over the years, especially through the passing of Jason years ago. It's your support and encouragement that kept me going this long. There are few things that made me more proud than seeing people at our shows singing our songs. I would also sincerely like to thank everyone who helped us along the way, in every capacity, we never could have done it without you, and I wish everyone in the Pennywise family the best of luck and continued success."
According to Punk News, Lindberg is currently working on a documentary film based on his book, Punk Rock Dad: Not Rules, Just Real Life, and is set to begin recording for an as-yet-untitled solo release.
Meanwhile, Pennywise have put a halt on writing and recording material for their tenth studio album until they find a replacement for Lindberg, but the band's future is definitely not in question, according to remaining members guitarist Fletcher Dragge, drummer Byron McMackin and bass player Randy Bradbury.
"Pennywise has become a way of life for a lot of people, and has definitely become a way of life for us," said the band. "As the three remaining members of Pennywise we feel that we are not done delivering our message to our fans. The band has always been about moving forward in life no matter what obstacles stand in front of you. We will begin our search for a new singer immediately. We will continue to tour the world and we are looking forward to writing new music. We've had a lot of good times and survived the hard times thanks to the undying support of our fans. We're looking forward to what the future may bring."
Pennywise's most recent album, 2008's Reason to Believe, was downloaded for free by over 500,000 fans via their new label, MySpace Records.