The Dirty Pearls are one of my favorite rock bands…ever. For me to put a band in such a prestigious category is a testament to just how damn good they are. About 8 or 9 years ago they began to pump blood into the New York City rock scene. Their kickass songs, showmanship, and rock and roll attitude elevate them from an independent band driven for success into what I consider legendary. If it sounds like I’m embellishing, I’m not. These guys have been friends of mine for many years and I’ve simultaneously been one of their biggest supporters from the very early days.
The Dirty Pearls flawlessly incorporate sleek guitar riffs and headbanging drums with pop hooks and serve it all up on a grand scale. Every time I witness them on stage it’s as if they are a masterful arena rock band who skipped a grade. To top it off they pull a Springsteen and refuse to leave the stage until you are 100% in awe.
Although they are primarily known for their NYC shows, once in a while, they’ve thrown New Jersey a bone. Over the years, they’ve played down the shore in Asbury Park at The Saint, The Stone Pony, and The Wonder Bar, and even up in North Jersey at the Wellmont Theatre in Montclair. They’ve opened for KISS, and so many other giant acts, but their New York City shows are iconic.
In this post I’ll describe songs that I have memories attached to and that’s a lot to say for a modern, independent band. It’s easy to claim to have awesome memories of songs from bands you grew up listening to or discovered in your teenage years because they’ve lasted a lifetime. Those songs may have gone from the mix tape you used to play in your Walkman, to the mix CD you blasted in your car, to the iPod playlist you listened to while sharing earbuds with your favorite girl (or guy!) The impact that the ‘Pearls have had on myself and their fans is thanks to their tireless commitment to their music, and their fans. They perform unforgettable concerts and have created moments that will last a lifetime. Check this out, here’s one that I was front and center for. It was when the ‘Pearls and DMC joined together on stage for “Walk This Way.” It was insane. The place went nuts, the floor was literally shaking.
These guys are amazing songwriters. It’s not often that modern bands get truly get commended for their songwriting abilities, but the ‘Pearls are an exception. What makes their tracks so original is that it’s not easy to pinpoint exactly the influences because they love it all. The entire band are music fiends. You can’t call them a “junior” version of any previous band. The Dirty Pearls songs flawlessly intertwine their passion for the music they love and the music they want to hear which equates to truly original rock/pop tracks for this generation. I connect with these songs. All of The Dirty Pearls songs are staples on my iPod, but here are 6 of my absolute favorite tracks from The Dirty Pearls.
6. “Sucker for a Sequel” The Dirty Pearls EP
There are 2 versions of this song. My preference is for the early version from the The Dirty Pearls first EP, not only because it was the one that I listened to for a long time before their full length debut album was released, but also because only some of the tweaks that were made in the latter version were better than the original. After speaking to frontman Tommy London about it, much of the changes were influenced by their debut album producer, David Kahne, but he won a Grammy so I digress.
The original version is some badass bombastic bluesy bar rock, you might pick out an early Aerosmith vibe and some booze fueled sleaze in the vein of Faster Pussycat. There’s also a brilliant breakdown that calms the mood only to leave you primed for the chorus again. The newer version, still great, lacks the natural flow of the predecessor and has a noticeable pop sheen, which is never a bad thing, but the irony here is that this song is actually a sequel to their song about being suckers for a sequel. If you understand that, then great, either way, I’m still a sucker for the original!
5. “Gimme Gimme” – The Dirty Pearls Volume 2 EP
This “oldie” from the band didn’t make the cut on their debut, Whether You Like It Or Not, but it still embodies the type of party rock with a punk streak that will blow you away at a Dirty Pearls show. This one will have your fist in the air and ready to rock out.
4. “Dynamite” – Unreleased (…so far!)
Not sure if frontman Tommy London will get mad at me for even writing about this, but they played this track at the Stone Pony back in May 2013 and I have no idea if it will surface on their upcoming sophomore full length album, but I’m really hoping it does. I recorded the song at the Pony so I’ve been able to hear the live version often, but for the masses, I’d love if you could hear a studio version! It’s a simple, energetic, hard rocking pop gem with a dash of the ’80s. Imagine a harder rock version of The Romantics if they were produced by Ric Ocasek. The result is nothing less than “Dynamite.” With the refrain “…Your love is like dynamite,” this one is sure to be the soundtrack to think about your crush, if it surfaces.
3. “Who’s Comin Back to Who” from Whether You Like it or Not
Much of Whether You Like It Or Not
was pop influenced, and I’m so on board with the pop/rock marriage, especially when The Dirty Pearls are delivering the vows. Infectious vocal harmonies, giant drums from Mary E., an insane guitar solo, and a phenomenal breakdown beat will make you clap your ass off. And a fun fact for ya: I WAS IN THE F’N VIDEO! It doesn’t get much cooler than that shit. It’s the unnominated
winner of Best Video at the MTV VMAS in 2011. It’s such a kickass video directed by my friend, Jersey guy, and Starkiller lead singer, Jasin Cadic, check it out above. Finding me in the video is like Where’s Waldo. To read more about my experience in the video read this
2. “Static” from Whether You Like it or Not
The video for this song was directed by Matt Weckel and filmed with an Xbox Kinect! It’s one of the coolest videos since The White Stripes were big. The sick visuals merge perfectly with this track that’s a pounding pop rock assault with some sick grooves. Put this on when you’re alone and you’ll be singing and dancing in front of your mirror like a silly asshole in no time. I know from experience.
1. “New York City Is a Drug” – Whether You Like it or Not
This one was originally a single released to iTunes, but was a no brainer to be included on their debut album since it captures the essence of the band. I’d say it’s gospel that this is The Dirty Pearls signature track and there’s probably not too much debate on that. Although, with two EPs, a debut album, and another whopper of an album on the way, I bet they have a couple of other classics up their sleeve.
Take Sinatra for instance, sang about New York City. Old Blue Eyes was from Hoboken, just a short swim across the river, but still, Hoboken wasn’t the pounding heart of the world. Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” is bar none unbeatable, but it’s not inspiring any headbanging as far as I know, unless you do some serious audio editing. That brings me to KISS. They sang about Detroit, but they were from New York City, so go figure. Thanks to The ‘Pearls, we have our quintessential rock tribute to NYC. This atmospheric track will make you envision all that late night debauchery in the lower east side of Manhattan, but with a bit of drama and bombast.
This song hits home to so many people, you may not be one of them yet if you aren’t familiar with the band, but you will be soon. It’s dedicated the downtown New York scene, it’s for the crew of people at the bars who love to party, it’s for the crew at Jerome’s, it’s for their fans, the late nights, the fun, the booze etc, and conversely it’s not only for New Yorkers, it’s for anyone who loves and thrives off being with their crew on their own stomping grounds. Hell, if there was anything cool to do in New Jersey, this track would’ve inspired me to write a song about my exploits, but in the meantime I’ll just continue to live vicariously through The Dirty Pearls enjoy
The sentiments in this song and leaving a Dirty Pearls show always leave me feeling high on life. Or maybe it’s just the vitality of New York City? Sure I’m all about New Jersey, but they’re singing about a metropolis that looms over my town merely miles away in the distance – New York City is where it all goes down.
The rest of my favorites list includes tracks like “Caffeine and Gasoline,” “Whether You Like it or Not,” “Bring on the Night,” and “Love Sick Love.” Get their track on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, and their videos are on YouTube. Click Here for their official site!
The Dirty Pearls are LIVE! Tonight at the Brighton Bar in Long Branch, NJ