Jizzy Pearl is no stranger to the UK, and will be crossing the Atlantic again very soon. I caught up with the former Love/Hate vocalist as he prepared to celebrate a milestone in his lengthy career.
First of all, without getting all Hello magazine… Happy Wedding Anniversary! You posted a great pic on your Facebook page of yourself and your wife taking your vows surrounded by Marshall Amps!.. and you also used the same bible that Elvis used for his wedding? Incredible!
“We got married at a friend’s rock club in Las Vegas, Danny Koker the ‘Count’ of TV’s Counting Cars. I thought it would be a cool Rock ‘n’ Roll wedding to get married on stage at his club, Vamp’d, and to have him do the honours, since he is also an ordained minister. The Elvis vows and Elvis Bible were an added bonus.”
Of course, another impending anniversary is the 25th birthday of Love/Hate’s second album ‘Wasted In America’. Obvious question would have to be: did you think that 25 years later you would be about to launch a tour in celebration of the album?
“Back in 1990—1992, I couldn’t think about anything that far in the future. We were in the extreme present. ‘Living the Dream’, as they say. The fact that I can celebrate an anniversary of a record that came out 25 years ago speaks to the power of the music, and the loyalty of the fans. I’m just along for the ride.”
Not only touring the album, but still looking and sounding the part. What do you put this down to? Hard work? Good genes? Abstention… All of the above? I’ve been to many a gig where the band have let themselves go and are way out of shape, struggling to play or sing.
“Father Time is a bitch, that’s for sure. That said, it isn’t too hard. You have to want to be good, and that means exercise and keeping your vocal chops up. As far as other musicians lacklustre performances, maybe they just don’t give a shit as much as I do.”
When ‘Wasted In America’ was released in 1992, the music business was completely different to what it is today. Record companies were massive and MTV were king-makers. 25 years later, it’s artists doing it for themselves, and YouTube replacing MTV. How are you enjoying the current way of doing things?
“I’m just happy I’m still doing it, and doing it well. I haven’t retired or given up so I weather the peaks and valleys of the new technological age. Some of it is good, and some of it diminishes the music, I think. I used to rail against the whole downloading thing, but now I just say ‘Fuck It!’, and make new music.”
Looking back to when Columbia Records insisted on releasing ‘Happy Hour’ as the lead single off of the album, instead of ‘Miss America’, did you see this as the beginning of the end with them?
“That was a definite mistake on their part. One record company exec, in particular, who thought we were the second coming of the Chili Peppers, and not what we wanted to be, a rock band that could cross over to radio. We wanted the song ‘Miss America’ to be the single, the UK label already had records printed. When ‘Happy Hour’ bombed in the States, we were blamed for it, and fell out of favour with the label.”
To me, ‘Happy Hour’ was indicative of the Love/Hate sound… metal and funk mixed with some punk. Some people struggled to get their heads round that, and just lumped you into the “Hair Metal” category, a sub genre where the band did not belong.
“We didn’t fit into any category, which helped us and hurt us. We did get signed out of the Sunset Strip post Guns N Roses explosion, so I guess we were sort of a part of the ‘Hair’ thing… and we did have hair! Lots of hair! Happy Hour is a strange sort of song, many twists and turns, for sure. We’ll be playing it on tour this March.”
The first time that I saw Love/Hate was on your first tour, when you played King Tut’s in Glasgow, a memorable night for many reasons… mainly the floor collapsing due to the crowd bouncing so much and me and many others falling down a few feet! Anyone that wasn’t there doesn’t believe me, but you can confirm that this actually happened, right?
“Yes, there was mass death, and the city erupted into a panic not seen since the Great Plague of 1605. We’re going back to Glasgow this March, and I hope to make amends…”
Haha! The UK took to Love/Hate pretty quickly. For instance, I remember seeing you on Skid Row’s arena tour in 1991, and it was obvious that you were put on that bill for a reason, to bring in a crowd! Why do you think that the UK “got” Love/Hate so quickly?
“We were different. We weren’t your typical cookie cutter L.A. metal band, I suppose. The drinking songs certainly helped. I never questioned it, I just embraced it.”
In a short space of time, you went from playing clubs over here to decent, mid-sized venues. Decadent times?
“Again, a phenomenon. Selling out UK tours months in advance, TV, radio, video, a whirlwind of record store appearances, and plenty of beer to wash it down with. I savoured every moment.”
Danny Worsnop has just released a video for his new single, and he burns an actual house down in it. I was thinking that’s a bit nuts, but then I remembered you “crucifying” yourself on the Hollywood sign, and that sort of beats burning a house down! How many times during it did someone shout Monty Python’s Life Of Brian quotes at you?
“To your question about Python… actually, not once! But the Hollywood sign event has endured for its originality and utter contempt for corporate greed. It started as a joke. I suggested that we all crucify ourselves on the sign in 1987. We were broke, angry, and desperate… and there was the sign up there for all to see, sort of mocking us. I thought maybe what our band needed to kick start our careers was a good old fashioned human sacrifice!”
Coming back up to date, opening on the tour in March will be Knock Out Kaine, a great band to get the crowd going for sure!
“Yes, yes. Good guys. Great drinkers! Also Emperors Of The Wasteland are playing selected dates. Look out for them!”
You are also playing at HRH AOR Festival in Wales. Looking forward to catching up with some old friends?
“The people at HRH are professional and always gracious, and I just signed on for HRH Sleaze September 3rd. Long Live HRH!”
Excellent! When Love/Hate were out on the road with so many established bands, did you ever fall prey to any good-natured shenanigans from the headliners?
“Dio fucked with us a bit, but we fucked with him back. That man was much loved by me, and we all truly miss him.”
As do we all. After the tour, it’s back to solo album business. What can you tell us about the forthcoming album? Who is playing on it, when can we expect it, and how is it sounding?
“This record will be a trip back to the Red Room. I want to recapture the vibe of the first two records, and once again let people hear my lovely Brian Johnson-style vocals like nails down a chalkboard. Mike Szuter from Magna-fi on guitars, Blas Elias from Slaughter on drums, and my old pal ‘Muddy’ Mark Dutton on bass. Just like old times.”
Sounds good to me. And will you be back over for some more dates in support of it?
“Plan is to record the album in April, after my UK tour, then look for selected dates after that. As I said before, I’m coming back to the UK September 3rd for HRH Sleaze in Sheffield with my good friends Faster Pussycat. Good times!”
Thanks for your time, Jizzy. I’m looking forward to seeing you perform in March, and good luck with the other plans.
Interview: Dave Stott