Love/Hate singer Jizzy Pearl
WHY DO YOU THINK THEY CALL IT DOPE?
Jizzy Pearl is not ready to give up on Love/Hate, so neither should the rest of us
By Gerry Gittelson
Metal Sludge Editor at Large
HOLLYWOOD — Jizzy Pearl is pulling Love/Hate from the ashes. Once among the most promising young rock bands in Hollywood 25 years ago when the group signed to Columbia in 1988 and put out an amazing debut record, “Blackout in The Red Room” and toured with AC/DC, Skid Row and Ozzy Osbourne, among others, Love/Hate is making a last-grasp bid for fame and fortune.
With a batch of incredible songs like “Blackout” and “Why Do You Think They Call it Dope,” Love/Hate had all the potential in the world, but the cruel realities of show business got in the way of the band’s ambitions, and to this day Love/Hate is not a household name like it very well should be.
Not that the bad breaks have stopped Jizzy Pearl, Love/Hate’s god-voiced singer. He has done everything possible to keep Love/Hate alive, including separate touring lineups, one including originals Jon E. Love (guitar), Joey Gold (drums) and Skid Rose (drums) for local shows and another lineup featuring the great guitarist Keri Kelli for a European tour this coming spring.
The original Love/Hate plays Saturday in Las Vegas at Vamp’d, and Pearl, in a great mood as usual, proved ready and eager to check in with Sludge about all things good.
Love/Hate classic shot from RIP magazine
SLUDGE: Hey, Jizzy Pearl, how are you doing?
PEARL: I am dealing with drama as usual. Skid, our bass player, his marriage apparently broke up over Christmas, and now he can’t do the show in Las Vegas. He’s up north in Sacramento, and that’s what happened over Christmas, so that’s what I am dealing with again. Robbie Crane is going to step in and replace him on bass. The original guys do the local shows only, because they can’t tour, so Robbie will be joining me for the European tour this spring, but I had to ask him to do this Vegas show, too, because of Skid’s marriage breaking up.
SLUDGE: What about the old saying, “The show must go on.”
PEARL: Well, what can I tell you?
SLUDGE: If he was getting paid $25,000, I bet Skid would find a way to be there, Jizzy.
PEARL: That’s probably true, but this is not a $25,000 show, and Love/Hate is not a $25,000 band.
SLUDGE: How are things otherwise? Are you feeling good? Do you have good serenity?
PEARL: Well, 2013is starting off with a bang and a boom. I am doing the UK run with Robbie and Keri Kelli on guitar and Matt Starr on drums. We’ve got 12 or 13 dates scheduled, and it should be fun.
SLUDGE: Keri Kelli is one of my best friends. He’s a great guitar player.
PEARL: Of course he is.
SLUDGE: He and you and Robbie all came from the original Sunset Strip scene in Hollywood. Robbie was in all these different local bands like New Haven and a few others, and Keri Kelli was in Big Bang Babies.
PEARL: Big Bang Babies, Jesus. Robbie and Keri have done Love/Hate before when I wasn’t playing with the originals because we weren’t friends at the time, or we were going through some drama. They’re more than capable.
SLUDGE: I guess Love/Hate and myself kind of landed in Hollywood at the same time in the late 80s, and one of my earliest memories of the band was that everyone in the group loved marijuana. Is it still that way?
PEARL: I quit smoking years ago. I found that pot just made me tired. But yeah, we used to smoke a lot back in the day. Cheap barrio weed. We literally picked it up downtown. You literally drove through the barrio, like a self-serve place, and you pull up to a certain corner and 20 guys with weed would pop out and surround your car. It was like Home Depot. It’s been a long time. That was part of the growing-up process when you’re young. I mean, a lot of the songs of “Blackout” are pot songs and beer songs, and that just indicates what we were all about at the time. We were about struggling and being desperate and partying just like everyone else. You know, Gerry. You were there.
SLUDGE: I remember the guys would start the shows with some really odd dance movements.
PEARL: We’re still odd. Basically, that was part of the show, part of the whole show-biz thing. We were trying to be entertaining.
SLUDGE: You put out some incredibly great songs with “Blackout in The Red Room,” and you were opening for AC/DC, and so you must have figured you were on like a jet stream to success. How ambitious and optimistic were you at the time? Did you feel like you were on the verge of fame?
PEARL: Everyone in every band thinks that they’re destined. Even the shittiest band in Akron, Ohio thinks they’re destined to be a millionaire and to sell millions of records. That’s how you overcome the adversity when people tell you that you suck and that you’re never going to make it. You have to believe. It’s a leap of faith.
Of course, we got an amazing record deal, so we thought we were on our way to selling a lot of records, but looking back on it, I never feel like we got gypped. In fact, we were blessed. We toured with amazing people and had all the grandeur that used to come with it – MTV, tour busses, all the pomp and circumstance. I feel blessed we got to do all that stuff, and we never felt like we were ripped off. Here I am, 20-something years later, still playing music. It’s been a great run.
SLUDGE: I was good friends with your original drum tech, David Mogley, who ended up dying very young in a motorcycle crash. The kid had a great spirit. Do you still think of him and remember him?
PEARL: Yeah, I still remember getting that phone call that he died. That was a real tragedy because Mogley was a young kid. At the time, his family couldn’t afford a burial, so we did a benefit at Gazzarri’s to raise money. Today, he would probably be a professional roadie making $50,000 a year.
SLUDGE: $50,000 a year? That’s almost as much as Stevie Rachelle makes!
PEARL: Stevie is another survivor. He and I, we’re the Omega men. We’re the last survivors. We fend off all the zombies.
Jizzy with Ray West of Spread Eagle
SLUDGE: Actually, it was Mogley that once told me that you NEVER miss a note, especially the high note on “Blackout.” Do you take a lot of pride in that?
PEARL: Now that Youtube is upon us, you can’t afford to suck anymore. You have to assume that every time you’re on stage, someone is videotaping you with the technology of the phones these days and what not. It behooves people to take it seriously. There are a lot of Youtubes out there. All you’ve really got to do is take care of yourself, and you’ll still be able to sing for a long time, even in your 60s like Roger Daltrey (The Who) and Brian Johnson (AC/DC) and people like that. I look to them for inspiration. You don’t have to sacrifice quality.
SLUDGE: But weren’t you one of those guys who used to drink and party like crazy and stay up all night and that sort of thing? You must be a strong guy, right?
PEARL: What can I tell you? I got good lungs.
SLUDGE: How is your guitarist Jon E. Love doing? He used to party hard, too.
PEARL: He’s great. We were just talking this morning, of course, because of the situation with Skid not playing. Jon E. Love is doing the Vegas show on Saturday – unless his marriage somehow falls apart between now and then. (laughs)
SLUDGE: What about you? What’s going on with your love life?
PEARL: My love life? (laughs) I was married years ago to Josie, who would become a reality TV star in “Married to Rock.” She’s married to Steve Stevens now and has big boobs, new and improved.
SLUDGE: So you never got to enjoy those boobs? Are you resentful about that?
PEARL: No I never got to. As far as I know, there was no second season on her reality show, so that speaks for itself. It’s been about 10 years since we’ve been divorced.
SLUDGE: Have you seen the new reality show “Ex-wives of Rock”? Everyone says it’s horrible.
PEARL: Aren’t all reality shows horrible?
SLUDGE: Well, not “Survivor.”
PEARL: I mean, all reality shows are a little mindless and silly. My friend, (drummer) Chad Stewart, his ex-wife is doing a reality show. I kind of winced when he told me that.
SLUDGE: Have you fallen in love again?
PEARL: I’ll state for the record that I have a girlfriend, Nina, and she does NOT have a reality show.
SLUDGE: I’ve got to ask you about your name, Jizzy Pearl. If you realize what it means, it’s very rude and nasty. Through the years, have others found it offensive?
PEARL: It’s funny because back in the day in Hollywood, everyone had a silly name. You almost had to have a silly name to get any notoriety on the Strip. It was cool back then, but little did I know that in 2013, in my 50s, I would still have to carry the torch of being named Jizzy Pearl. You can’t really change my name, and sometimes I think it’s a silly hindrance, but you are what you are in this world, and the name has stuck.
SLUDGE: The name implies you’re a sex-crazed, red-blooded guy.
PEARL: The term sex-crazed has come into play. I just think I wanted a name that would make me stick out among the thousands of bands clamoring to get a record deal. I guess the names has offended some of the mothers of girlfriends through the years. You have to remember, the Sunset Strip was a very different place back in the 80s than it is now. It was thriving community, and there were people getting record deals. You actually thought you had a chance, like “Who wants to be a millionaire?” There were actual record companies and people signing bands, and there was MTV. With record companies came record-company money. Nowadays, I don’t have any idea how music is done. I don’t know how bands tour if there is no tour support and no real videos anymore. No one buys records anymore. I wonder how bands survive. I wonder if they do survive.
SLUDGE: The band is called Love/Hate. Which side are you on, the Love side or the Hate side?
PEARL: I’m on the love side. Like I said before, I look back on the Love/Hate period as a very rewarding one. I don’t feel like we were ripped off or gypped as far as my career goes. I went on to sing in L.A. Guns and Ratt, so I still managed.
Jizzy cleans up well in his 50s compared to his Hollywood years.
Pearl doing what he does best!
SLUDGE: Ratt was still a very big band when you were in it.
PEARL: Yeah, we were playing big arenas, and that was pretty surreal. I remember when I first joined, on some gigs we were headlining big sheds, and that was good stuff.
SLUDGE: You left when Ratt’s original singer Stephen Pearcy rejoined. What kind of relationship, if any, do you have with Stephen Pearcy now?
PEARL: The good thing about Stephen is during the period I was in Ratt, he never mother-fucked me, and I never mother-fucked him. I really feel strongly about staying respectful when you’re doing this kind of stuff, singing in a band, so consequently when I did see him again after all those years, when he was back in Ratt, we were able to hang out. There was no animosity. There were no resentments about not being in Ratt anymore. When I left, it was just time for me to move on. I wasn’t feeling the love. That was in 2006, and I’ve seen all those guys through the years. I see Warren and Bobby Blotzer, and we’re fine about all that.
SLUDGE: Going back to Love/Hate again. After the first record, you guys moved to New York City. You were kind of the princes of Hollywood at the time, so that was a huge decision. Why did you do that?
PEARL: Well, we didn’t sell millions of records on the first one, and one of the guys who was instrumental to us was David Kahne, a producer who has worked with a bunch of people. We had wanted him to do the first record but it didn’t fit his schedule, but I thought since he loved our band so much that we should rent a loft in New York City, similar to what we did in Los Angeles, and kind of group together again to make the second record. Moving to New York seemed like such a romantic notion, a great time, and we got to live in a Real World-style loft, a four-story mansion in Greenwich Village where we recorded there and had the best parties, too. It was a great experience.
SLUDGE: What happened at the end? Where did it all go wrong?
PEARL: At a certain point, people start to get older and reality starts to intrude on your life. You get married and want to provide for your wife, or if you have a kid, you have to provide, and music doesn’t always pay the bills every month. It’s a capricious existence, feast or famine, a big paycheck or nothing. Like I said, reality intrudes on fantasy and on the whole reason you got into it in the first place, so people start to move on.
That’s what happened. Skid and Joey got married, and they had to get real work, so the band became less and less of a priority. There were arguments and drama, too, but basically it was just growing up. In this world, you don’t hang out with the people you went to high school with, and that’s kind of what happened. It wasn’t like we went out with a bang. More of wimper.
Gerry Gittelson can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org
Going back in Metal Sludge history Jizzy has been a long time Sludgeaholic if we may say so. Aside from columns like "Tales from the Jizz", tour diaries and more Jizzy has done a slew of interviews over the years.
Jizzy’s "20 Questions" on May 3rd 1999 while he was the singer for L.A. Guns
Jizzy’s "Re-Wind" from May 18th 2000 while reforming Love/Hate
Jizzy’s "3-Wind" September 9th 2002 while he was fronting RATT
Jizzy’s "Back 4 More" April 26th 2004 touring with Love/Hate
Jizzy’s "Best of Jizzy Pearl" feature from April 4th 2006