INTERVIEW BY MARKO SYRJALA
American singer Jizzy Pearl is best known for the band Love / Hate. The band released their critically acclaimed debut “Blackout in the Red Room” in 1990 through Columbia Records. The album was awarded “Best Record of the Year” by Kerrang! and Metal Hammer magazines. “Wasted in America” followed in 1992. In total, Love / Hate released six albums in the 90s before breaking up in 1999. Since then, Jizzy has released several solo albums and kept the band name alive as Jizzy Pearl’s Love/Hate. During the past twenty years, he has recorded and toured with L.A. Guns, Ratt, Adler’s Appetite, and is currently the lead singer of the legendary band Quiet Riot. Jizzy has also written several books, and a new Jizzy Pearl’s Love/Hate album “Hell California” will be released early next year through Golden Robot Records. A couple of weeks ago, we had an interesting Zoom conversation with Jizzy that talked about the man’s upcoming album and Quiet Riot, as well as the early days of his career and everything that has happened since then.
THE EARLY DAYS OF LOVE/HATE
Let’s start with the old stuff and your first actual band, Love / Hate. You joined the band in 1985, but the other guys were playing together even before you were involved?
Well, they were together before 1985. They had another singer, but their singer quit. And I joined the band in 1985.
It took several years before Love/Hate achieved greater success and found its own style and sound. Before that, you tried several different musical and visual styles. Is it true that at one point, you were a glam rock band?
Well, when you’re a young band, you’re trying to find yourself. You’re trying to find your own sound amongst 1,000 bands and struggling in Los Angeles to try and get a record deal. So yeah, we went through a few different guises. We wore the makeup for a while, but everybody did. Everybody goes through that phase before they settle on the sound, look, and vibe they want to present to the audience. And that was around the time we were doing our first record, ”Blackout in the Red Room,” and we were lucky enough to get a record deal out of it.
One interesting thing Love/Hate did before the record deal was that you managed to get your song included on the soundtrack of the “Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master” movie. How did the unsigned band end up there?
Well, there was a lot just kind of flukes. People come in and out of the band’s life. A lot of guys offer you the world, and they’re charlatans. You know what I mean? They’re bullshitters. So, people come in and out saying, “Hey, I can get you this.” or, hey, I have a tour.” And then you find out that they’re just full of shit. A guy from New Line Cinema wasn’t full of shit. And he got us on “The Nightmare on Elm Street” soundtrack. But again, at the time, it was a big deal, but really, I only made $200. It paid my rent for that month. So that’s kind of it. These things happen from time to time, and they’re encouraging, but getting the record deal and being on Columbia Records was the big thing,
BLACKOUT IN THE RED ROOM AND WASTED IN AMERICA
“Blackout in the Red Room” was released in 1990, and it was a success. I remember that at the time, Love/Hate made headlines even here in Finland, which is quite far from sunny California. “Laughs”
Yeah. Well, that’s good. Yeah. I came to Finland with Ratt, I remember, with Alice Cooper and Dio. I’ve been there a couple of times. Obviously, it’s a little off the beaten track, but you just make a left turn; it’s Sweden, and there you are, right?
Something like that “Laughs,” but as you said, it was a big deal when you made that signing with major label Colombia Records, and the album was a success. And Love/Hate was then covered everywhere, the videos ended up in heavy rotation on MTV, and everything looked great. It must have been a dream come true for you all then.
Yes, it was. It was a few years of wine, women, and songs. It was an awesome time.
What is your personal highlight from that era?
It was all a highlight. I mean, opening for Ozzy, opening for AC/DC in arenas and stadiums. It was all wonderful. Every day I got up was a blessing. So yeah, it was all great.
Love/Hate released the second album “Wasted in America” in 1992, but although it still sold pretty well, the band soon dropped from Colombia Records. In brief, what went wrong then?
Well, we just didn’t sell millions of records. That’s all. Had we sold millions of records, all the sins would have been forgiven. That’s the way it is in this industry as it is in the film industry. If you’re big box office, they’ll let you get away with anything. But if you don’t sell millions of records, then you’re just kind of an asshole.
I’ve also learned that your Hollywood Sign publicity stunt didn’t help fix the already bad relationship between the band and the record company. It apparently only made the situation worse.
So, yeah, the Hollywood Sign was not received well at Columbia, but we just did it anyway because we wanted to. [laughter]
THE NEW ERA
Love/Hate lost the Colombia deal then, but the band still didn’t give up. A couple of more albums were released through smaller labels in the ’90s before the band finally disbanding in 1999. Before that, you went through numerous lineup changes and so on. What do you think was the main reason why things went how they went?
Well, the band was four people, and there was a 100% commitment. But then people grow up and change. I mean, it’s kind of like asking the people you played football with within school why they don’t play football anymore because they don’t do music anymore. The other original three guys, they are retired. They just don’t play anymore. They don’t do it anymore. So, I’m the only one from the original four that still makes records, that still tours, that still carries the Love/Hate torch. So, they couldn’t support themselves and their wives and their kids with music anymore, so they just chose to move on. That was it.
A few years ago, you had some legal issues with other original Love/Hate friends regarding the use of the band name. Is that thing settled now?
Well, it never was really a legal problem. I own the name. It’s just whether I choose to get involved in litigation. Love/Hate isn’t Queensryche, okay. There’s not half a million dollars up for grabs. It’s just a little band that has a good cult following, and that made good music. So that’s kind of where it is. I’m now Jizzy Pearl’s Love/Hate because that’s as much Love/Hate as anyone’s going to get in 2021. I have a new record coming out in 2022 on Golden Robot, Jizzy Pearl’s Love/Hate, and, yeah, that’s it.
It’s remarkable that although you’ve played with many different bands during the past 20 years, you’ve always kept the name Love/Hate alive.
Well, because it’s my music and I really love the music. The music is really good, and I enjoy playing it. But I have to play in other bands that sold millions of records because it’s just simply financial. I have to pay rent and car, and I got a wife. And, I mean, I have to, just like everyone else. If my band had sold millions of records, I’d still be doing Love/Hate full-time, sure. Maybe they would be too, but they’re not and didn’t.
L.A. GUNS TALK
After Love/Hate split in 1999, you joined L.A. Guns. It was you, Tracii Guns, Johnny Crypt, and Steve Riley in the band then. But that lineup didn’t last long?
Well, it didn’t last because those guys all decided to get back together, all the original members, Phil Lewis, and the other guys. They were offered a lot of money. Again, it’s financial to get back together and tour, so I was out in the cold. And then, eight months later, I joined Ratt. And they were opening for me [laughter].
You released the album “Shrinking Violet” with L.A. Guns. To be honest, I don’t think the album has been produced perfectly, but it does have some good songs. What do you think of that album yourself?
It’s good, it’s good. I mean, it was a long time ago. Tracii and I wrote that record during sound checks, basically. We were on a bus for many months touring, so that record was conceived during sound checks and jamming during sound checks, which was a new thing for me. And yeah, there are some really good songs on it, and the playing is really good, and the singing is good.
“Shrinking Violet” was re-released with several bonus tracks in 2010. Did you have anything to do with this release?
I was probably the last person they asked [laughter].
In 2010, you joined Tracii’s new version L.A. Guns and released the live album “Electric Gypsies.” However, the cooperation did not last long. Why did you decide to leave the band then?
Yeah, yeah. It was just time for me to go. We did that record, and it was a time when people were downloading music for free, and there was a period where I didn’t quite understand that this was just the future. And I was in– My royalty checks disappeared just like everyone else’s—no more checks. And I had a little chip on my shoulder about it. Until I realize that it’s just the way– You know what I mean? It’s like vinyl went to CD and little phones went to cell phones, and it’s the future and just deal with it. And now, I’ve made a bunch of solo records. Since that time, just for the pleasure of making them. I don’t expect that I’m going to get rich off Golden Robot or Frontiers or something like that. I make the records because I enjoy the process.
How is your relationship with Tracii nowadays?
Well, yeah, I mean, we do texts and emails occasionally. I mean, I think he lives in Denmark now. He got married again, and he lives in Denmark. So, he’s a great guitar player. He’s just a natural guitar player. He has a lot of love and passion for playing guitar, like I have a passion for singing. Do you know what I mean? Like, I sing all the time. No one makes me do it. I just like doing it, and he likes playing guitar. So that’s good to have that passion.
I have one more question about L.A. Guns. Two years ago, Steve Riley was putting together his new version of L.A. Guns. Was he then in touch with you and asked you to join the band?
He wasn’t. But someone else was in their camp. And I like Steve Riley; he’s a good businessman and a good drummer. But I just didn’t want to — I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to be in a version of L.A. Guns where there are two versions of L.A. Guns. I did that before, and it just wasn’t what I wanted to do. That’s it. I love their music, but I didn’t want to do it.
It’s not the best way to make friends if you join a band in a situation like that.
Well, I just didn’t– I didn’t want to hear the social media backlash. I didn’t want to hear people comparing me to the other L.A. Guns. It’s just silly. I mean, they all have an opportunity to go work, and everyone has to go work. And so that’s how I look at it. If you don’t like it, don’t go.
RATT’N ROLL AND STEVEN ADLER
Like you mentioned earlier, you played in Helsinki with Ratt back in 2001. I think that the tour was called “Monsters of Millennium”?
Your guess is as good as mine [laughter], But I do remember that tour well.
You spent six years with Ratt, but the band didn’t release any original music together during that time.
No. Because they were all suing each other. That’s why. They were suing Stephen, and Stephen was suing them. And we couldn’t do it, and that’s it. Those guys really don’t like each other, you know. There’s a lot of — I mean, you talk about love-hate, but they all hate each other.
In 2005, I saw you performing with former Guns’ n Roses drummer Steven Adler in Stockholm. The band’s name was Adler’s Appetite. What kind of project was that for you?
Yeah. Yeah. Guns and Roses hadn’t toured in a long time. So, when we came to Europe, it was really eventful. I mean, we did really good numbers. In Spain and Italy, we drew 800 to 1000 people just to hear essentially a cover band playing Guns and Roses songs. But it was fun. It was fun for a while. And then things got a little fucked up.
Yeah, I remember the story which says that one day he just disappeared, and the band was then over?
I don’t know if that was me. There’s a story that he left his entire band and stranded them in Germany or something, but that wasn’t me. That was some other guys. That was after we sort of left.
However, E.P. (Black Rose), which you did with Adler’s appetite, was really good. It’s a shame that the band never got a full record done.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, we did a few songs, but, again, Steven wasn’t ready yet in his sobriety to be able to carry on. So, he needed to grow up a little bit. And I guess now I don’t want to say totally sober, but I guess he’s totally fine.
JIZZY PEARL’S LOVE/HATE
Next, let’s discuss the new Jizzy Pearls’s Love/Hate album “Hell California”. As you said earlier, you’re now signed with Golden Robot Records. How did you end up working with them?
I just called them up. I had some demo songs, and I called them up, and they called me back, and we literally made a record deal over the phone in about 15 minutes.
Well, that sounds really easy. “Laughter”
Yeah, it was. I mean, obviously, they heard some of the demo songs and were interested, so we made a deal. And the best part about it was that they didn’t interfere with the process. I had to do the whole thing during the lockdown, obviously. So, it was all done on a computer, FaceTime because I wasn’t able to go to Los Angeles, or they couldn’t come here. It was kind of fractured. But the thing about Golden Robot is they just kind of let me do my thing – you know what I mean – without interfering. And we need to hear the songs. We need to hear what you’re doing. And I gave them the finished product, and they were pleased. And so that’s good that they trusted me enough to sort of let me do my thing right.
So far, you’ve released two singles from the album, the latest of which is called “I Want to Be Somebody.” Tell me something about the ideas and inspiration of that song and the other songs on the album?
Well, all the songs are partly written. Maybe, they’re about somebody that I know. Sometimes, there are stories— ”I Want to Be Somebody” is kind of the story of a girl who wants to be an actress or singer and goes to Hollywood. She ends up selling her soul a little bit, doesn’t realize that there’s a lot of evil people out there that will take advantage, kind of like the beginning of the ”Welcome To The Jungle” -video, you know what I mean? That does exist. A lot of people come out to Los Angeles or Hollywood to be actresses or actors and end up doing porn because they just can’t make ends meet. And so, it’s kind of a cautionary tale, that song is.
When will “Hell California” be released?
“Hell California” is coming out in February 2022.
You’re singing and probably playing some instruments on this album too, but can you name the other musicians who are playing on this album?
I have a couple of guitar players, Darren Householder. The “Let’s Rumble” album guy is playing on some of it. I have my English guys. I have an English band that I play with when I tour over there, separate from an American band. So, I go over there and play with different guys. They are playing on the record as well. And then it’s just me.
What kind of touring plans do you have? I guess that you are going to tour the U.K. again, as you always do.
In February, I’m scheduled to return to the U.K., but I do Quiet Riot right now in the United States. I do Quiet Riot. And Rudy Sarzo just re-joined the band. So, we plan on doing extensive touring in 2022 with Quiet Riot. So, I really don’t see a lot of Love/Hate shows happening next year, but I want to do this U.K. tour because I enjoy going to the U.K., and I have a lot of loyal fans there. But I plan to do mostly the Quiet Riot thing, probably next year.
QUIET RIOT TALK
Now when you mentioned Quiet Riot, it’s funny that most people don’t know that you’ve been in and off in the band since 2013 already.
Yeah. I went, and then I took off, and then I came back. [laughter]
In 2014, you recorded the album “Quiet Riot 10” with the band. It never was released in physical format, and it’s tough to find in any format. So, what is the story of that album, and why it disappeared soon after its release?
Well, that record, we sort of sliced and diced it. There’s a lot of drum tracks that we have with the band from Frankie Banali’s original drum tracks. And now we are writing songs around those drum tracks. So, people will be able to hear Frankie play drums, and Rudy will be playing bass. So, it’ll be Frankie and Rudy back together again. I mean, at least, in the spiritual sense. And we’re writing songs right now for that record, based on that.
So, it sounds that” Quiet Riot 10” will remain “a mystery album” forever?
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, as I said, that record probably won’t ever see the light of day. We’re going to come out with new music, and that’s what we’re going to do.
But last summer, you released the song “Rock in Peace”, which was originally released on that “Quiet Riot 10” album, or am I wrong?
Well, “Rock in Peace” being the only original track, I think, from that record. You’re right. One song we re-did because it was a really good song, and we decided to hold on to it. Plus, it has meaning as far as people passing away and remembering them, and stuff like that.
Yeah. So, that song is a kind of a tribute to Frankie Banali?
Well, it’s a tribute to Frankie. It’s a tribute to Kevin DuBrow. Even a tribute to Randy Rhoads. You know what I mean? You could say that it’s just a tribute to all the past members. But, really, Frankie, mostly.
Frankie’s serious illness and death were shocking news to fans and the entire music community. And you saw all this very closely. I mean, you saw and knew the situation, how things developed from the beginning to the unfortunate end. How did you feel about all these things, and how was it like to deal with it mentally?
Well, I mean, it’s cancer, and it’s not good. And it’s painful to watch somebody with cancer. I mean, it happens to everyone. I’m sure everyone in their family has had to deal with this cancer thing. I know I did in my family, so I know what it’s like. And Frankie fought’ till the very end, and we had good times. And we actually got to play some gigs with him when he was sick and until he couldn’t. So, there were some good times at the end where we were able to– where he was able to still play as a drummer. And so yeah, those are the times I’m thinking about, not when he got too sick and stuff like that.
Ever since Frankie got seriously ill, Johnny Kelly has played most gigs with the band. Is he now a permanent member of Quiet Riot?
Yeah, he is. Yeah, he’s a great drummer. And I’m a big Type O Negative fan. So yeah, yeah, it’s good having him in the band. And he plays similar to Frankie. He’s got that John Bonham thing going solo. So, it’s great.
MORE QUIET RIOT TALK
Did you ever see the classic Quiet Riot lineup perform live in the 80s or later during the Reunion?
I don’t know if I ever did. Well, you know what? I saw them before they got their record deal. I saw them at the Troubadour Club in Hollywood when they were called Dubrow. But it was basically that band. It was Frankie, Carlos, Rudy, and Kevin, but they weren’t called Quiet Riot yet. So, I guess I did see them back in the day.
And last but not least, we have to talk briefly about the return of Rudy Sarzo. He’s a bass legend and an essential piece of the Quiet Riot’s legacy. Last month it was announced officially that he had re-joined the band. Have you already had a chance to rehearse with him?
Oh, yeah. We rehearsed a few days ago. You’ll see the photos coming out soon. We did all the P.R. stuff, and we rehearsed with them. And it was great. Watching him play ”Cum on Feel the Noize,” we were all just sort of smiling a lot, and him, too, because he’s very excited to come back and play with us. And yeah, people are going to freak out when they see him play because he’s so good. I mean, he’s so good that you forget. I mean, I saw him when he played with the ”Blizzard of Ozz” and with Randy Rhoads in the 1980s. So, it’s an exciting time. And it’s good to have him come back and kind of kick everyone in the ass. So yeah, we’re really excited about that.
As you said, you have plans to record new material with the band, but does Quiet Riot have a record label at the moment?
Not yet. We’re just jumbling up songs. We’ve got about four or five together. So, we’re going to get our shit together and do some recording. And then I’m sure we’ll be knocking on doors.
NEW BOOK AND BITS AND PIECES
Sounds great! The last question. You will be really busy next year with Quiet Riot and Love/Hate, but you’re also writing a new book. Tell me something about it?
Oh yeah, I’m writing the fourth book. I’m almost done with it. I just actually spent two hours typing today. I’m really excited about my fourth book, and as you say, I have three books for sale on my website jessepearl.net. And I’ve sold a lot of books in Europe, the U.K., and Australia, and some in Germany, some in Ireland, some in Sweden. So, if you’re interested and you like interesting reading, it’s humorous, it’s dark, it’s weird. Not your typical rock book. So yeah, anyone interested should check out that www.jizzypearl.net, and yeah, check them out.
There’s a new Jizzy Pearl book coming, but you also re-released your earlier three books recently. Did you add any extra material to those books?
I wrote a forward to each book, a couple of pages talking about the book, but no, I’ve concentrated on writing for this fourth book, and I’m about 260 pages in. So, it’s going really well.
That’s good to hear. Maybe now it’s time to sum this thing up, and here comes the mandatory corona question. These last twenty months have been a very difficult and strange time because of the global pandemic. Some people have survived pretty well, some have suffered less or more, and some have lost it completely. How this whole lockdown time has been for you and what is your first thought about it now?
Well, I don’t think anyone thought it would be as long as it’s been. I’m just trying to be the best singer I can be. I’ve been just trying to stay skinny and not eat too much food while during lockdown “Laughs.” I think that a lot of musicians just sat around and watched Netflix and got stoned. But. I mean, I wrote a record, and I’m writing the book, and we’ve been touring this entire summer with Quiet Riot, which is great. It’s good to stay busy, but it would be great if Europe opened up, you know what I mean, it would be great if we could get back to normal. That’d be great.
Yeah, I think this is about it now. I hope to see you sometime in the U.K.