The Dirty Pearls Reign Over NYC’s Rock Scene


Bret Michael’s Rock of Love Bus Tour truly made a “‘pit stop” as they pulled into Montclair NJ’s Wellmont Theatre on 3-22-09. Kicking off the show was New York City’s own The Dirty Pearls, who I was lucky enough to see open for Twisted Sister back in December. The Pearls’ “dirty” yet gleaming aura recalled bands from an earlier, more carefree era of rock. Although electric and unruly, The Dirty Pearls aren’t flamboyant like early Poison, but just as raucous. With Bret Michaels more concerned about his expensive European wigs, and reality shows geared toward middle aged women, The Dirty Pearls have swooped in to fill the gaping void of loud, rambunctious, party band.

Rock bands who have grabbed the opening slot on a tour are frequently more entertaining than the band you’re actually there to see. It’s a challenge to even catch a new band live unless they’re opening for an established act who phones in their performance every night. Just based on sheer desire and enthusiasm, the fairly unknown opening band is more apt to blow you straight through the back wall of venue. That said, The Dirty Pearls have been added to my list of “must see” bands, the ones who let their appetite for stardom erupt onstage.

The touring scheme has changed drastically. Not only are many tours evolving into mini festivals to boost ticket sales, but there just seems to be a total lack of bands that make you KILL to be at their concerts. There are several reasons for this epidemic. First, the headlining bands tend to lose their “eye of the tiger,” while the middle card bands’ ego inflates because they aren’t in the bottom slot anymore. It’s a lot like high school. This “rockarchy” seems solidified for good unless more bands like The Dirty Pearls stand up and usurp the rock reigns.

The Dirty Pearls merit sole billing. Out of what seems like millions of concerts I’ve been to, The Pearls deliver that one-two punch of old school rock and roll that I crave. I’ve always likened a rock show to a quickie. Wham-bam thank you ma’am. Rock bands should tear shit up, rock the f–k out, and disappear to the next town. Rock music should arouse feelings and by observing The Pearls performance, it’s clear they’re prime objective is satisfying the crowd. Here you can watch them perform “Sucker for a Sequel”

The Dirty Pearls have joined a new corps of bands who know what rock is all about. Instead of Hinder, Nickelback, or Theory of a Deadman, my dream festival would include bands like Endeverafter, The Binges, the Last Vegas, and of course The Dirty Pearls. These are not the types of bands who will spiral into their fat, bloated, Elvis stage where their minimal effort is flung like poo at your face in a 3-D imax movie. Of course, all that could change when they hit the big time and Paris Hilton totally uses The Dirty Pearls lead singer Tommy London to make a sex video just to keep herself relevant. During that time, drum annihilator Marty E. is in talks with Dreamworks to voice a character in their next installment of Monsters vs. Aliens. What happens to the music? Does it fall by the wayside? The bigger bands half ass it, and the hungry ones get the opening shaft, er…shift. Those are the scenarios that tend to worry me, but for some reason, newer bands like The Dirty Pearls are a smarter, bolder breed and I doubt they’d let such greatness slip away after all the hard work they’ve put in.

Drummer Marty E. introduces the band “Whether you like it or not… we are the Dirty Pearls from New York City!” They aren’t boasting like another sorta-famous band from NYC did. Even when they were rookies KISS first introduced themselves as “The hottest band in the world.” The Pearls aren’t making promises but they’re telling us they don’t give a crap and they’ll do whatever they want. From takeoff and throughout the entire set, The Dirty Pearls exemplified the classic rep of an up and coming New York City rock band with attitude.

The Dirty Pearls realize that grunge ended 10 years ago and now it’s time bring rock and roll back to it’s prominence. It’s about hard rocking music, big personalites, and hairstyles, all of which are reasons to see them play live. With his eyes cloaked with aviators, frontman Tommy London worked the crowd (and the ladies) like a rock version of Dean Martin, or even Dirk Diggler. Marty E.’s spun and/or chomped on his sticks like Animal from the Muppets. Doug plucked away on bass, while afroed guitarists Johnny and Richie stood at each side of the stage rocking out like two of those adorable troll dolls. If you’re unsure about seeing them live, you don’t have to worry, The Dirty Pearls are not somber or reflective, they don’t feel the need to enact bondage scenes on stage, and they’re definitely not storming off the stage in a giant temper tantrum.

As for the tunes, The Dirty Pearls lyrics were like gunpowder as London shot them out. They play a blend of rock and punk while injecting beautiful melodic undertones. In other words, you’ll remember the songs, hum them later, all while pumping your fist in the air. Already proving to be one of my favorite songs ever is “You’re Not My Lady, But You Can Stay If You Want To.” It was so rock, yet so pop at the same time. If the song existed in the ’60s, I could almost hear a British invasion band singing it. If early Beatles were more amped up and a little more crude, that song has John Lennon all over it.

When reading the various reviews from music mags and websites, the amount of bands that the Pearls are compared to musically is infinite. I’d rather stay away from pigeonholing them. How cliché is it to state that a band sounds like “a sleazier version of AC/DC?” That would be a disservice. The influences are loud and clear and easily identified if you take a listen to the tunes posted on their Myspace page. There you can also purchase their first two demos. I will tell you that there’s definite hints of Ramones, NY Dolls, and Thin Lizzy among many others. Check out their tunes:

Have you seen Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist? If I was traversing New York City all night long on a scavenger hunt to find a secret concert, I would certainly hope the band we’re going to see is the The Dirty Pearls. Right now they epitomize the New York rock music scene and all other NYC bands need to take a lesson from them.

You can catch The Dirty Pearls headlining The Bowery Ballroom in NYC on 4/25.