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.

Chicago’s the Last Vegas Steals the Show in Atlantic City!

Chad Cherry of The Last Vegas
Chad Cherry, lead singer of the Last Vegas

On Friday Night March 6th, at the Borgata in Atlantic City NJ, the Last Vegas from Chicago easily upstaged Theory of a Deadman and Hinder. I could’ve left after the Last Vegas, that’s how good their performance was. I felt so revved up and satisfied; it was exactly how one should feel after seeing a kickass rock band live. The headliners, Motley Crue, were still to come! Waiting through the next two bands wasn’t easy. 

Tyler Connolly from Theory of a Deadman
Tyler Connolly, lead singer from Theory of a Deadman

With only a few above average songs, Theory of a Deadman was passable. They seem to play by the book with no shenanigans. I always considered them a much cooler version of Nickleback. No offense to the legions of Nickleback fans, but perhaps you should make the switch? You went from Starbucks to Dunkin’ Donuts, Myspace to Facebook, so how about Nickleback to Theory of a Deadman?

The climate in rock music for the past few years seems to be fueled by ’80s rock, which makes sense. Considering the rock music that was immensely popular when these newer bands moving up the ranks were growing up, they most likely were listening to stuff like Warrant and Slaughter. **Rob Mason has hopefully saved Warrant from Jani Lane’s tarnished rep. I don’t care what you say, “Down Boys” is phenomenal.
When Austin Winkler asked the audience to yell “Up All Night” I was certain that a cover of Slaughter’s “Up All Night” was to follow. I’m sure there’s 50 other songs in existence with the same title, but when I hear it, I think of Slaughter’s. Unfortunately, Hinder’s song “Up All Night,” is completely unrelated to Slaughter’s and not a quarter as good. 
Hinder’s heart is in the right place, but their attempt at capturing the party rock type atmosphere of the ’80s era ultimately fails, for me at least. For fraternities around the country, Hinder’s a huge WIN. To say that I don’t like their music wouldn’t be totally accurate, since they did perform one or two songs that I thoroughly enjoyed. But judging by their lax performance, they seem to show signs that they’ve already been bestowed a “best band award.” These guys scored a hit, had Emanuele Chriqui in their video, and now they’ve feel like they’ve “made it?” Give me a break! You’re still FNG’s as far as I’m concerned. Take some pointers from the Last Vegas and Buckcherry. If I ever have kids, will they reach their 30s and be going to see opening acts who were inspired by bands like Fall Out Boy and Tokio Hotel? Oh that’s so sad. 
And now for an exlusive peek into the contents of my personal letter to Austin Winkler, lead singer of Hinder:

Austin Winkler of Hinder
Dear Mr. Winkler,
You’re clearly seeing the effects of the rock and roll lifestyle. Singing all those mindless songs about drinking, and getting stoned (i.e “Get Stoned”) will take it’s toll. Life imitates art as they say. Unless you’re in the gym constantly “working on your fitness,” then you’re going to get a nice big beer gut. Oh what do you know, you already have one! oops. I couldn’t stop thinking that if Peter Delouise played a washed up, drunken rock star, who sported a bob haircut in a real life biopic on the Lifetime channel, it might be about you. Put the beer down, step away from the Nascar race on your 70 inch LCD, and get your ass to the gym.
You need to work hard to connect with the audience. Humble yourself. Remember, you are opening for MOTLEY CRUE. You are eons away from ever being as big as the legendary Motley Crue. Be mindful that many of the people in the audience have no idea who you are. Plenty of fans of ’80s rock swore off listening to new music when grunge rolled around. It’s your job to win them back! Stop writing generic, ’80s style music. Show us why you’re not just a bunch of guys who “thought it would be cool to be in a band.”
Lucky for us, there’s bands out there like the Last Vegas who really “get it.” They grabbed my attention forcefully and didn’t let go their entire set. The Last Vegas was rocking our buts off way before they won the Guitar Center On Stage contest. After seeing them live it’s obvious why they’ve captured the opening spot on Crue Fest this year. The band plays energized, dirty, old school rock and roll. They’ve got some ACDC thump, and a little GNR swagger. 

Adam Arling of the Last Vegas
Guitarist Adam Arling of the Last Vegas
Frontman Chad Cherry is the real deal. He exudes rock and roll and never for a moment looks like a wannabe as he struts and jumps all over the stage. Cherry’s strong voice is the center of attention. There were moments when his voice recalled Tom Kiefer’s of Cinderella. 
check them out at

Nikki Sixx
Bassist Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue

Motley seemed to be having sound problems during their performance. Nikki and Vince kept looking over to the sound guys and giving the “UP” signs. It was basically the same set as their show at PNC Bank Arts Center in the summer. You can watch 2 videos I shot from that show on The Sexy Armpit Youtube page. Motley added “Jailhouse Rock” and “White Trash Circus” into their set. 

Conspicuous by it’s absence was Tommy’s Titty Cam. Instead, he handed out his bottle of Jaeger, and told everyone to take a sip and pass it back. Nice of you to share Tommy, but who the hell wants to drink out of a bottle that 10 people have already taken swigs from? That’s nasty. I don’t even drink the wine in church! The bottle got confiscated by security anyway, probably so the guard could bring the bottle home and sell it on ebay…douchebag. At that point Tommy went into how thankful he was for some stuff, and how we should all be thankful and blah blah, and then stepped back over to his kit. Where did Motley go? 
There’s always a bunch of young kids in the audience at recent Crue shows. Damn Guitar Hero and Rock Band for making raunchy rock and roll a family affair. Did the people at the Borgata warn the band ahead of time that they couldn’t do the Titty cam? Most likely, but that was the least of my worries. I was more amused by Vince Neil who thinks that Crue song lyrics are interchangeable and should be sang anywhere from 1-5 seconds later than they are supposed to be. Ahh, it was still Crue, and it still rocked, so the rest doesn’t really matter now does it?

Nikki Sixx Loves Barack Obama
Nikki Sixx was “Baracking out”
One band, Endeverafter, would’ve been perfect for this show. They’re definitely one of my favorite rock bands so check them out if you’ve never heard of them!