Interview by Adrian Hextall
With a successful tour celebrating 25 years of Blackout in the Red Room now behind him, Jizzy Pearl returns to the UK in March 2017 with another milestone release also celebrating its 25th anniversary, Wasted in America.
Jizzy took some time to speak to MGM about the tour, managing your own affairs and a new album being issued later this year via Frontiers records.
MGM: We’re getting you over soon, aren’t we? You’re coming to see us I believe in March?
JP: Yes, yes. I’m gonna be there for a whole month. The month of March.
JP: So that’s coming up fast.
MGM: And another 25th anniversary tour.
JP: I know, I know but after that I’m all out of anniversaries.
MGM: I presume the tour this time is almost, not just because of the anniversary but the late 2015 tour that you did when you were looking at the 25th anniversary of Blackout I mean that went down very well. I would imagine you’ll get to repeat the experience.
JP: I hope so, this will be the first time that I’ve played Wasted in America record in its entirety, you know. So it’s gonna be new for me as well. And you know a lot of people do have a lot of love for that record and so it will be fun.
MGM: Are you still handling all of the aspects of the tour like you did the last time around?
JP: You mean roadie/tour manager/singer/caterer/ —
MGM: That will be the one, yes. Pretty much if there’s a title associated with it, it’s you.
JP: Yeah I guess the short answer is yes. It’s just easier for me that way, I mean we’re not Def Leppard so it’s too much production on my shoulders. But yeah, I take care of the travel and pay everybody and I did book the tour myself without an agent. But saying that a lot of these are places or venues that I’ve played many, many times. And so I have a relationship with a lot of the promoters.
MGM: And in terms of your support acts, are they guys that you knew or are they bands that the promoters have recommended to you?
JP: The band, the primary support band is a band called Knock Out Kaine. And I met them in 2013 when I was here a couple of years ago. And it worked out well. They’re a good bunch of guys and we get along when touring together. So I thought why not have them up again on this tour.
MGM: And what about your band this time around. Are you using The King Lot [2015’s backing band] again?
JP: No, I’m not. They weren’t available for a certain part of the tour before and so I made other plans. I’m using Christian and Steedy who play in Warrior Soul and I’m using Mickey Richards who plays in Ryan Hamilton’s band and that what I’m using for my band and they are busy learning all the songs and rehearsing as we speak, so we should be good.
MGM: Tell me if you would a little bit about Wasted in America. As you’ve said, it’s the first time you’ve played the album in full. If we can go back to the roots of the album I understand the first time you put the songs in for the album, the record label said no and you had to revisit it and redo it from scratch, is that right?
JP: Not technically from scratch, what happened was we went into the writing process the same way we always did, we sort of demoed up songs in our home studio and I was sick, at the time I had a cold and it was just one of those things in the back of my mind I knew that I wasn’t singing 100% because I was sick and I thought maybe we should just wait.
You know maybe we should wait a bit until everyone is in perfect health but we were very impulsive and a lot of times no one could tell us right from wrong and so we decided to forge ahead and send demos that probably weren’t as good as they could have been.
And so basically, the label didn’t say, “Start over you sucked”. They said, “Why don’t you come back with some more songs”, and so being slightly chastened individuals scolded by our schoolmaster we went back and then actually you know what? It was a good thing because sometimes you get a reality check and it makes you work harder and you come back with better material which we did and it all worked out for the best anyway.
MGM: It’s noted as a very, very solid follow up to the debut as well and very well received by your fans. I mean I would imagine since the tour has been announced you’ve had communications from people looking forward to this. Because it has never been done before.
JP: The key to doing well over in the UK is to come back all the time. You know I tell my American counterparts that don’t understand that the UK fans, a lot of it is based on loyalty; a lot of it is based on the fact that they know that you’re coming back and that you’re making the effort and so they make the effort. You know what I mean?
It’s harder to get people to come out and see live music these days. It just is, I mean you’ve got YouTube, you’ve got kids and wives and people got to get up in the morning and I totally get it. You have to have a good strong commitment to showing up and so I hope that this tour will do the same game busters as the last one did.
MGM: Yeah and as you say if you leave it too long, people do sort of think, “Oh you don’t care about us”. But if it’s not too long a break then I always find the UK crowd is the same if not bigger with people willing you to come back. And you’re giving them a different reason to come and see you again, aren’t you with this second album being played as well?
JP: Yeah. Well and later this year – God willing – there will be a new record, I’m working on a new record right now for Frontiers and a full length album and that will be out probably later on in 2017 and then we can start the ball rolling again. Going behind that.
MGM: Just the right amount of time again for people to get interested, excited, new material coming out. And is that new material going to be under your name, what brand are you doing on that one?
JP: Oh it’s a Jizzy record. It’s definitely Jizzy record. You know there isn’t really a lot of confusion in the fan’s minds when it comes to, is it Love/Hate or is it not Love/Hate. Basically I’ve been doing this by myself for the most part, for the better part of 20 years.
You know so when people see my name associated with the Love/Hate name, they know what they’re getting. So there shouldn’t be any misconceptions about what they’re going to hear and they’re gonna hear the songs that they dug, sung by the guy that can still sing them.
MGM: What about the new material, Frontiers have a habit of saying they want something in a certain style, are they expecting an album from you that harks back to 25 years ago, or is it gonna be however you feel now and a modern feeling sound.
JP: Well it’s not gonna be opera if that’s what you mean. No, I think it’s gonna be without, technically saying, that’s it gonna be just like the Blackout record. I think it’s gonna be a lot harder than my last Crucified record. I think it’s gonna be a lot more high energy and what people expect to hear.
MGM To be able to get that deal with Frontiers, was that the sort of thing you were looking for as well because you know you’ll get the promotion behind it. You’re already able to tour on the back of these things but the record deal is potentially, was that the elusive bit you were looking for?
JP: Not really elusive, it’s just that you came at the right time I guess is a good thing for me. You know, I was gonna do a record anyway. It was time to do a full length record. So it was just a good timing thing for them to call me up and say, “Hey you know we’re excited, we wanna do this”, and so I just said yes and I’ve been writing a lot of songs and I planned to go into the studio when I come back from the UK in April.
MGM: What about other things, now of course over the years you’ve had slots with some of the others big LA bands that have been around. I’m guessing now from what you’re describing, your focus is on your own tours and your own album as well? Will you avoid, for want of a better description, the distractions of any of the other bands hanging over you?
JP: You’re partly right. I did want to focus on doing some of my own stuff. I didn’t want to do my own record you know and having to tour all the time in another band. But that being said, if an opportunity came up you know I would consider it. I would be remiss if I didn’t do that. So it’s energy, it’s budgeting, it’s timing. A lot of times in this music thing, something comes to you when you least expect it. So you have to always be ready you know to jump on something if you get the call.
I mean when I sing for Ratt, back in — what was it 1999 or 2000 something like that. You know that was just something that came up. You know I never would have thought that I would have slipped into that band and I did and it was fun and I did it for almost 7 years so you know that’s how these things work sometimes.
MGM: Let’s just say for arguments sake, you managed to focus solely on the solo material and the tour as well, does that give you any opportunity or the space you need to do writing, and I don’t mean lyric writing I’m talking about the books here. When I spoke to you last time, the one thing you did point out was to be able to write a book you need the time and space to be able to do it. Does this potentially give the opportunity to reevaluate what you might do from a book perspective?
JP: Sort of a no for the time being. Songwriting takes a lot of — for me anyway, I have to get away from people, I have to get away from social media, I have to get away from television, I can’t listen to music on the radio because I’ll end up rewriting the Led Zeppelin song I just heard, you know. So that’s how it works for me you know I just need to get away from outside distractions and stuff and book writing is even harder because you know 6-8 months to write a book, that’s a large block of time to commit to something like that. So right now, I mean just today I’m in the midst of writing and when I get off the phone with you I’m gonna put down the lyrics to a new song that I wrote yesterday. So I’m kind of in the thick of it right now as we speak.
MGM: If you are say — turning off the radio and you’re turning off the TV, what drives your inspiration for a lyrical content and things like that? Where do you look for that material to help you put the songs together?
JP: I don’t know, I guess it’s different for different people, but for me it’s just — you know when you get into that zone, that writing zone where things come to you and I don’t know, it sounds very metaphysical but you just start playing stuff. You start putting stuff down on guitar and phrases could come to you. Sometimes it’s writes itself and sometimes it’s totally agonising and you wanna tear your hair out. Which I have on occasion…..
MGM: Does 25 years of life experience in the music business play a part or do you try and avoid what could potentially result in cliched lyrics as a result of that?
JP: Well for sure definitely. I have never subscribed to writing the kind of cookie cutter stuff that some people put out and think that they’ve somehow rewritten Stairway to Heaven. It’s just I would say that the hardest part about doing a new record is that when you’ve done a bunch of records, you know, it has to stand up to what you’ve done before. You don’t want to put up material that you know in your heart is sub par.
And that comes from experience. I just did this interview the other day and the guy asked me about technology and isn’t it great that pro-tools and garage band and a lot of this new technology has made it easier for artist to make records and I said yes, for a guy like me that’s been doing it for a long time and has the experience and the skills, yes it is a lot easier because you can put a song on garage band and it sounds like a real song but, it’s the guys that haven’t had the experience that get the pro-tools and they make a record and they think it sounds like Sgt. Pepper.
And of course it’s not Sgt. Pepper so, I guess that would be the main difference is that the longer you do it and the more you know right from wrong and good from bad, you know I’ll write 10, 20, 30 songs and end up with 12 I would call good ones…
MGM: Have you got a vast reserve of songs that you’ve never used that may one day see light of day or if it was never considered good enough for the time, is it never going to come back?
JP: More to the point of — I have stuff that doesn’t fit the current collection.
For example a really good ballad you know that’s well written but just doesn’t fit with the other songs. And so what do you do? You know, you hold on to it I guess for the future but there are songs that are like that and maybe someday I’ll use them and maybe I won’t.
MGM: You’ve got to hope someday you can. Especially if you know it’s a good song but it just doesn’t fit right now. That’s got to be a point you would hope when it does come in.
JP: As long as I can keep writing songs, as long as I have the passion to want to do that. I don’t know I think a lot of times people in this business, they just — when we first started, when the whole downloading thing started you know there’s a lot of negativity associated with making records because — and coming from myself as well you know, just going “well why should we even make records anymore, people don’t buy records anymore blah, blah, blah” But you can’t, you’ve got to get past that. You’ve got to think why do you make records, you make records because that’s what you wanna do because you want to create your music.
It isn’t to make money, I mean essentially you’re doing it because that’s what you want to do, that’s what you are, that’s how you express yourself. So, yeah, I guess I hope I don’t ever lose that anyway.
MGM: Presumably for you as an artist the buzz comes from playing live in front of a receptive crowd and for the crowd seeing you passionate about what you’re doing.
JP: Well especially in the UK, I mean I can go to YouTube right now and pull up videos, they just — you know my friends can’t believe it. They just think it looks like a riot. So I mean and I say to them, I just go yeah, I mean it’s not something you can buy, it’s not something that you can — you know it’s not an act. Basically when I go play London, I know that I got a couple of 100 people that dig it and are going to go crazy and it’s an interactive mob scene and it’s bad ass and it’s great.
When I first came to the UK, Blackout was embraced by Kerrang! and the fans and we kind of exploded over there very fast. I mean it went from playing the Marquee Club to selling out the Astoria and Rock City and the Barrowlands and it got big really fast and I don’t know it’s not something that you can explain, it just happened and we were there and experienced it.
MGM: Leaving nothing but great memories I would imagine. That’s must have been a good time.
JP: Oh yeah. Again, I tend to look at the glass half full.
You know, when people say, :Oh isn’t it tragic that you never got as big as Guns N’ Roses” or something like that I just think to myself you know, it could have been much worse. I could be loading boxes on to a truck right now bitching about life.
MGM: The reception you will get at the Underworld and the reception at the Underworld last time was fantastic and it’s really good to see you know that people get into it. You get a real mix of ages in the crowd. That’s quite encouraging?
JP: Well, you know I think that it’s because the music still stands up. People are discovering it right now. They’re finding Blackout in the Red Room and they’re just — they can’t — they are digging it. So it ends, the reality is that music is good.
That’s why. If the music sucked, then I wouldn’t be able to tour the way I do and people wouldn’t care like they do.
FORTHCOMING UK TOUR DATES:
Wednesday 8th March, Bannermans Edinburgh, Scotland
Thursday 9th March 2017 The Live Rooms, Chester, UK
Friday 10th March 2017, AOR Festival
Saturday 11th March 2017 Iron Road, Evesham, UK
Sunday 12th March 2017,Snooty Fox Wakefield
Thursday 16th March 2017, Trillians
Friday 17 March 2017 Real Time Live, Chesterfield, UK
Saturday 18 March 2017 Waterfront Studio, Norwich, UK
Sunday 19 March 2017 The Underworld, Camden, UK
Thursday 23rd March 2017 Wolverampton
Friday 24 March 2017 Tivoli, Buckley, UK
Friday 31 March 2017 Audio, Glasgow, UK
Saturday 1st April 2017 The Bullingdon, Oxford, UK