The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

 

Shane Rockpit talks to PEARL ADAY

 

 

Until recently most rock fans would have known Pearl Aday as the daughter of Michael (nee Marvin) Lee Aday – the legendary Meatloaf to you or I – or as the beautiful wife of Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian.

 

After nine years singing backing vocals both live and in the studio with her Dad’s band, and a year touring as backing singer with Motley Crue among other things, she formed her own band around 2005 with Marcus Blake & Jim Wilson of Mother Superior fame (Mother Superior is The Rollins Band without Henry Rollins, effectively).

 

With a fantastic debut album “Little Immaculate White Fox” under her arm, featuring guest appearances from Ted Nugent and Jerry Cantrell, not to mention Blake & Wilson and her husband Ian, Pearl has recently completed a European tour supporting Meatloaf, and an American club tour of her own.


Australia, she says, is definitely in her sights.

 

“I’m looking forward to it! There are no [definite] plans right now, it all depends on what the financial situation is in terms of whomever is the money fairy… But I would say to look forward to it”

 

The album title came about from a story told to Pearl by her mother, Leslie Aday when she was heavily pregnant with Pearl. The story goes that Leslie was certain she was having a boy, but a friend dreamt otherwise, picturing Pearl as the ‘Little immaculate white fox’ of the future album title.

 

 

I start by explaining to Pearl that when I first heard the title I assumed it might have been a beautiful Native American name. Pearl explains further:

 

“Its funny you said you thought the name was native American ‘cos it came in a dream from my mothers’ friend, she was very spiritual and she believed in sprit guides and she believes that my spirit guide came to her and told her what my name was going to be. Because she and I had a great – well we have a great connection and we still do. And I barely see her any more but if I ever see her its like I saw her an hour ago.”

 

Nice – it’s a lovely story

 

“Isn’t it great, I really love it!”

 

As too how spiritual Pearl herself is, she shows a wistful side of herself “You know, it’s interesting, I haven’t ever really sat down and studied it or, ummm, spent a lot of time researching it, I just sort of go by feel – I think if something feels right or something feels good you should just sort of go towards it…”

 

That wistful side shows itself throughout our conversation, revealing an almost hippyish self confidence coupled with an innocent girlishness which only adds to her magnetism.

 

 

I tell Pearl that we loved the album, rating it four stars out of five [CLICK HERE FOR OUR REVIEW] and if anything we’ve found it growing on us since then. It seems the response worldwide has been uniformly positive?

 

“That’s what it feels like it… first of all thanks man, that really makes me smile, that makes me happy – I’m glad you like it.” Pearl has the ability to be disarmingly friendly, even midway through a gruelling promotional schedule. “Well… yeah, the response we’ve been getting has been uniformly positive, I haven’t read any reviews that were negative…it’s been getting a really great response!”

 

When questioned about the album’s diversity, Pearl is adamant that they just follow where the songs themselves lead.

 

“We would come up with ideas and the songs just grew into their own. We didn’t sit down and say lets make a song which sounds like this, it was kinda like, well we’ve got this idea, we would sit down and Jim Wilson and Marcus Blake who are from the band Mother Superior who I wrote all the songs with - and Scott collaborated on a few - they’d say we’ve got ideas, so I’d go to their place and sit down on the living room floor and they’d play me their ideas, I’d record it – the skeletal idea of it – and go back home and start plugging the words in then we’d get back together and flesh it out…

 

“Every song… there was never an intention to make each song sound different from each other, to me I hear rock n’ roll, I don’t…. you know what I mean?”

 

I agree that the album sounds like an old school seventies rock n’ roll album, where the songs sound organic and do what they’re meant to do, rather than [a lot of albums] nowadays where everything is so obviously aimed at a “market”.

 

“Right, exactly. Organic is a great word, exactly. Yeah that’s what really struck us about the album, it’s got so much in common with those old seventies rock albums.”

 

The first two songs especially leap out and grab your ears and you just want to sit through the whole album after that. So it seems to me that in this day and age where a lot of people only download or listen to individual songs, you’ve gone and made an ALBUM in the old school sense of the word – was that the goal from the start?

 

“I think so – that’s the way I like my albums. I came from where albums were a story, and you sometimes even walk into a store and buy an album ‘cos you like the picture on the cover, then you go home and open it up and you’d put it on and play it… what comes out of it is like an adventure, you know what I mean?

 

“That’s so wonderful and its so sad to me that that is being killed. Kids don’t understand that any more. [Kids today are like…] What do I like today? What’s hot today and tomorrow it’s… what next? Don’t get me wrong - I’m guilty of drunken itunesing too and I wake up in the morning thinking who the fuck is that song by… “

 

[Pearl laughs]

 

 

You obviously enjoy what Scott does with Anthrax, are there any other metal bands you listen to?

 

“OH YEAH!!! [enthusiastically]

 

“I love Slipknot, I love Every Time I Die – I don’t know what they’re considered nowadays… I love Maiden, I love Priest, I love Slayer, I love Metallica… errrrrrrr, who else am I loving. I said Slipknot right? Stone Sour… and of course Anthrax!”

 

When Pearl was 19 her Dad gave her a microphone so she could stand backstage and sing along with the band whilst offstage to see how she felt about doing it. I tell pearl I was touched by how gentle and fatherly a gesture this was, and wonder if she would’ve pursued singing as a profession had he not eased her in so softly?

 

“I think I would have for sure. He just gave me an opportunity to learn on a grand scale, I think. He takes his stage show very seriously and I think that’s why he had me audition, in a sense. You know I am his daughter and a lot of people screamed nepotism and I would too, but if I couldn’t sing a note and I looked like a sloth he wouldn’t put me up on that stage.”

 

It’s interesting, referring to it as an audition – I hadn’t looked at it like that, I just assumed he must have known how good your voice was and just wanted to get you confidence enough to do it first.

 

“Well yeah, there was probably a bit of that too. He came to me and said “we’re playing Madison Square Garden, how d’you feel about singing with the band?” So I said yeah, and he said learn the backing parts, we’ll give you a live mike, you’ll stand offstage so don’t worry about anyone seeing you, we’ll record your parts front of house and I’ll listen to it after and see how you did!

 

“Like I said he wasn’t gonna shove me out there unprepared ‘cos that wouldn’t have looked too good in his show either…”

 

Especially at Madison Square Garden!

 

“Yeah you don’t want to mess around! He doesn’t ever want to mess around anywhere, period…”

 

 

Why did it take so long to step out from the relative anonymity of being a backup singer to fronting your own project?

 

“I get that question all the time. Did it take so long? I mean, when am I SUPPOSED to do that? Is there an age when I’m supposed to do that?

 

“I think it needed – to take your word – it needed to happen organically. If I tried to get this album together five years ago I don’t think it would’ve happened. I think, y’know, I had to get to the place I am now in order to do what I‘m doing now.”

 

You’re a singer, you studied creative writing at university, you’ve had photos published… can you tell us something you’re NOT really really good at?

 

“Math! I’m TERRIBLE at math!”

 

 

You toured in 2000 with Motley Crue as one of their backing singers the “Crue sluts”. What’s something you learnt about the Motley guys that most of us probably won’t know?

 

“Ummm… Vince Neil likes Adam Sandler movies.”

 

[Laughs] Well that’s good to know…

 

“I don’t know about the guys… ummm… there were a couple of things I learnt that I didn’t know. There’s a yellow page book about 2 inches thick full only of listings of American strip clubs. I didn’t know there was a publication like that – I didn’t know it existed!”

 

That, too, is good to know!

 

“I also didn’t know – well, I learnt that women with breast implants have to change them out every ten years, sorta like changing tyres!”

 

Nice – I didn’t know that either, so I’ve learned something today!

 

 

Who are your favourite female rockers and the biggest inspirations on your vocal style?

 

“Oh man… Tina Turner, I can’t get away with not saying Janis Joplin, right? [I agree]. Bonnie Raitt, Chrissie Hynde, Stevie Nicks, Joan Jett…”

 

I was expecting to hear you say Ann Wilson

 

[Sharp intake of breath] “Ann Wilson is UNTOUCHABLE! Thankyou! Its funny when people ask me these ‘what’s your favourite’ questions, it’s like when you’re a kid and somebody asks you what you want for Christmas and you go absolutely blank… [we both laugh]. So, Ann Wilson FOR SURE!”

 


Despite the constant comparisons Pearl gets with Janis Joplin, I suggest that in her voice I can hear a lot more of the seventies hard rocking ladies like Ann Wilson and even Pat Benatar.

 

“Pat Benatar – yes!”

 

Do the Janis comparisons bug you at all?

 

“They don’t bug me, ‘cos I think she’s so incredible. I find them flattering but I don’t agree ‘cos I think she’s one of a kind forever and always and [there was] nobody like her before and nobody is gonna be like her ever again. I’m flattered ‘cos I think that she is such an amazing talent but I don’t agree – I don’t sound like Janis.” [Pearl laughs a beautiful throaty laugh]

 

I don’t think you sound LIKE her, but you have the same sort of raw bluesy soul to your voice, a sort of a magical tone

 

“I can agree with that… I’ll go with that, for sure.”

 

 

Your website – www.cheersloverock.com – where did the name come from?

 

“Oh that’s just something I’ve always said. Just something I sign the ends of my letters with, and something I say to everyone. And I have it tattooed on my wrist too of course…”

 

Oh sweet – mine was always “Peace, Love, Happiness & Magic”

 

“There ya go!”

 

Is that the best place for fans to go to buy your cd, merch, and for news, information, etc…?

 

“They could go there, I also have a Myspace – www.myspace.com/pearl, and [the album] should be on Amazon, I think worldwide now”

 

 

Between your Dad and Scott you must get a lot of generic questions thrown your way, can you share with us one of the worst?

 

“One of the questions that I loathe and I get it ALL the time is “What’s it like having Meatloaf for a Dad?”…”

 

Well …good, at least we didn’t ask that one!

 

[Pearl laughs that laugh again]

 

What happens to Scott’s place in the band if scheduling clashes happen when Anthrax fires up again?

 

“We’ll either find somebody to fill that spot – and I’ve got somebody in mind who I’d just love to have… or we might just give it a go without a second guitar… its not a crazy thought!”

 

Watching a couple of YouTube clips of you live from the Jimmy Kimmel show, I was really impressed by how confident and magnetic you were on stage - you really commanded the audience’s attention to the point where it was really hard to take eyes off you. How hard was it to develop that stage craft, that front person thing, or did it just come naturally?

 

“Well, I grew up watching Meatloaf on stage!”

 

Good point – touché!

 

[laughs] “I guess if there’s anybody to learn that from, and study and watch, then there’s nobody really better than him”

 

One of the best, definitely

 

“Exactly!”

 

 

I was also really struck by how Scott – even though he was paying really classic rock, bluesy songs, Scott was still looking like the archetypal metal riffmonster. Do you ever have to tell him to play slower or turn down?

 

“We were recording a song in the studio and it was an acoustic song, and I remember having to tell him “Not so angry please” [I laugh] Yeah, play it like you’re sad please…”

 

The final question we ask all our interviewees is… what is the meaning of life?

 

After a long pause – “What is the meaning of LIFE? What are you tryna do to me??!! [mock groans]

 

“The meaning of life… I guess is to… to do what makes you happy, without hurting anyone!”

 

That’s an excellent answer!

 

Thankyou so much for your time – it’s been awesome. Good luck with everything and we hope if you do get to come over to Australia we do get to see you then

 

“That would be awesome, I look forward to that - Thanks for giving me your time to help spread the word!”

 

 

And with a click she is gone again, leaving behind a sincere smile and a warm fuzzy feeling – the same feeling I get when I listen to “Little Immaculate White Fox”, in fact. Some of Pearl’s answers have since appeared almost verbatim in other interviews, but I guess this is the nature of the beast when facing a daunting and gruelling media promotional schedule – the fact is that no matter how many times she may have talked about her father & her husband, or relayed the story about her album title, she never sounds for a moment like se is reciting a prepared answer by rote – some of the stories may be the same, but her answers remain sincere and heartfelt.

 

Pearl may have a famous father and husband, but she has proven with "Little Immaculate White Fox" that she is a prodigous talent in her own right, and one look at her live YouTube clips will convince even the stoniest anti-nepotism crusader that this girl knows her chops. And then there is that gorgeous throaty laugh, able to melt herts at ten paces!

 

We can only hope the album sells enough that some canny promoter decides to play “money fairy” and brings her out Down Under to play the album live for us!


Thankyou to Chris at RIOT RECORDS for setting us up with the talk with Pearl


Shane Rockpit
July 2010