DIRTY PEARLS “WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT”
The hair-bandesque, flash-metal single, “Who’s Coming Back To Who” has this wild, big-budget, eighties-style video like, “Love Is A Battlefield” or “Beat It”, where the leather-jacketed urban dwellers have a rumble in the bar with the stock-broker Ken dolls.Pretty rad, and the rocker gang even have gang jackets claiming Rivington St. as their turf. Weirdly, that’s exactly where I lived in the ’85-’87 era, next time you go traipsing down the C.B.G.B.s end of Rivington Street, try to imagine no high-end bars or hotels, all grated, gated, dive apartments, covered in graffiti, vomit, junkie piss, crazy wild eyed winos, hookers, and Dominican drug dealers everywhere, and me, as a Ramones-y teen, makin’ a scene with my older Bianca Jagger lookalike girlfriend on the filthy, slushy, Eastside sidewalk, on our way back from copping, down past the Rivington Street Art-Park sculpture garden, arguing over dope and Nick Zedd! Ena Kostabi surely remembers seeing us there. That was my old stomping grounds. I can’t imagine a world of $8 smokes and $10 beers, the most money I ever, ever made was ya know, maybe $8/hr., and that was for less than a year. How do all these guys live to rock in Manhattan, if they ain’t Marlon Richards? I wish I knew. I never got the secret handshake. In addition to all my noted flash n burn, drunk-rock groups, I’ve had at least four all heavyweight rock’n'roll line-ups, where everyone could play, write, and looked fabulous, but we invariably argued about nonsense, and always went absolutely nowhere fast, and I do mean, FAST. I could never figure out how D-Generation, or Road Vultures, or any of those guys could afford to live in the world’s most expensive city, record non-stop, keep it together, stay half-sane, pay rent, get along, print fliers, and release lp after lp after lp on indie and/or major labels. Man, they make it look so effortless, too. That town brutally spat me out twenty times. I dunno how they do it, honestly, for me, it’s just a hopelessly baffling MYSTERY! I think I just lost my mojo, back in my late twenties. As L.A. Guns drummer, Steve Riley says, “I know how to make tours happen, I know how to make records happen, I know how to make things happen. Not a lot of people can do this, they might have the drive artistically, but when it comes to business, you have to dig in and you have to be a tough son of a bitch. If you want to survive in this business you’ve got to be tough.” Dirty Pearls must be some tough sons a bitches.
DIRTY PEARLS were first brought to my attention several years back by Sleazegrinder, in the pages of glossy import, “Classic Rock”. Along with Semi-Precious Weapons, NY JUNK, and the Compulsions, Dirty Pearls represent a new generation of glammy, commercial hard rock, carrying on in the tradition of Electric Angels, the Throbs, Smashed Gladys, Michael Monroe, Joker Five Speed, the Disruptors, Toilet Boys, NY Loose, Princess Pang, etc., etc. I knew lead rockstar, Marty E., from years ago, in the seedy D.I.Y. rock’n'roll underground, he’s a fellow reptile, and a full-time rock’n'roll motherfucker-D.J., actor, writer, drummer, man of many cool leather hats.
“Whether You Like It Or Not” has a jaded quality reminiscent of all your favorite throwback rawk, maybe not quite as retro as NY soul shakers, Brass Knuckle Evangelists, or Jim Jones Revue, but it definitely rocks with a vintage vibe, like say, the Romantics. Not at all what I expected from five swanky NY dudes who look like the Strokes havin’ a bad hair night. “Caffeine & Gasoline” is catchy as hell, like summa the more under-rated 90′s rock bands you might have loved-like say, American Heartbreak, Belvy K.’s Libertine, Three Colours Red, or 60 Ft. Dolls. Some cool lyrics and absolutely priceless “ooh oohs” and “whoo whoos” all us aging Cheap Trick heads are always suckers for. “Static” reminds me of Duran Duran, believe it or not: “No..No..Notorious”! “You Got Me Where You Wanted” is full of feeling, a real song, well sung, a tear-jerker in the tradition of Skid Row and Plain White t-shirts. Nice one, lads. A really beautiful ballad. “Bring On The Night” has that totally contemporary sounding, emo-friendly, radio-ready sound, but it FEELS like all the old music we liked as youngsters. “Sucker For A Sequel” has a Bang Tango/Billy Idol metal groove certain to appeal to Rocklahoma ticket buyers and the hipster chicks you see in the mall with the jeggings and razor cut side swept bangs, on their way to Hot-Topic. I can honestly say I like Dirty Pearls better than Velvet Revolver. “Mayday” conjures up images of big city bathrooms, coke spoons, models and rappers, hedge-fund managers and creepy show-biz kids, yellow-taxis, fascist Mayors, dirty cops, expensive shoes and heartbreak. I dunno how my old amigo, Marty E. Concussion, survives that modern fast-fuck Manhattan money world. it’s gotten way, way, way, way, too treacherous for my old blood, but he’s the kind of badass who keeps friends with diamond geezers like Peter Fonda, Ronnie Wood, and the Sleazegrinder. ”New York City Is A Drug” explores that very theme, and it is extremely reminiscent of Electric Angels and the Loveless’ ace best pop songs. Dirty Pearls vocalist, Tommy London, has loads of magnetic babe appeal, he kinda looks like a young Weiland raided Brides Of Destruction’s wardrobe closet in one of Nikki Sixx’ warehouses. A commercial cross between Billy Idol and Richard Butler with a voice for pop. Tommy London has one of those lucky, solid gold, radio voices like Shane from Electric Angels, John Waite, or Kyle Vincent. A shimmering set of pipes on him. They’re all good-looking cats, stylish, some of the production’s too slick for me-particularly the chorus on “Who’s Coming Back To Who”. It’s just a little too, um, boy-band epic, for my filthy punk and garage-rock sensibilities. AOR metal harmonies always bugged me, which is the band, Adler’s primary downfall, in my meager opinion, but what do I know? I can’t even get a job at the goth boutique, no more. That’s the only bit on the disc I wasn’t all that keen for. Guitarists, Sunny Climbs and Tommy Mokas remind me of all the great major guitar duos. Dougie Wright’s bass is in your face and all over the place, and I’m just jealous Marty E. doesn’t smash cans for one of my ill-starred, gutter-glam bands. The whole thing basically screams, “Hit Record”.