Pennywise was formed in 1988 in Hermosa Beach, California by four members Jim Lindberg (vocals), Fletcher Dragge (guitar), Byron McMackin (drums) and Jason Thirsk (bass). They released two EPs: A Word from the Wise (1989) and Wildcard (1989). Each of the band members had played in other bands in the Hermosa Beach, California area and attended the same high school. The group signed to Epitaph Records in 1990 and released their first album Pennywise (1991). The album quickly spread throughout the punk community, earning the band some nation-wide recognition.