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PEARL ADAY Rock N Roll’s Little Immaculate White Fox – an interview

by on Aug.11, 2010, under interviews

In January Pearl Aday released her first album Little Immaculate White Fox to critical praise. No stranger to the stage Pearl started out at a young age running handkerchiefs out to her well known father Meatloaf during his performances. After spending nine years in his band as a backup singer, she then toured with Motley Crue as a ‘Crue Slut’ in 2000 where she met her now husband Scott Ian of Anthrax. Her band is none other than Mother Superior and her guitarist husband performs with her. We recently spoke about growing up the daughter of a Rockstar, why women who rock today are not necessarily Janis Joplin or Pat Benetar clones, how Rock & Roll still exists and is not simply 70’s riffs rehashed, as well as leopard print outfits and g strings. Pearl took the time to explain why she felt now is the time to release her first album, how Slipknot is not a guilty pleasure but just good music, and how difficult it can be stepping out of the shadow of the legendary Meatloaf.

AWAY TEAM: This is Slim Jim with, and I am speaking with Pearl Aday. Congratulations on the release of your first album Little Immaculate White Fox. It came out in January, and how have the sales and reception for it been so far?

PEARL ADAY: Both really good considering that we’re just a tiny little baby band. But reception all around has been really great. The response we’ve been getting it’s just really been positive. People either know about me and they really love it because they’re so set already, or they’re a lot of the time pleasantly surprised because a lot of people don’t know who I am. They hear the references for Meatloaf and they hear the reference for Anthrax and they’re like ‘well it’s a girl’, and it’s ‘what is this?’ And then they hear it and they go ‘oh ok this is rock and roll and it’s good, I really dig this’ you know? And this is like usually, I’ve heard a lot too ‘this is like something that I miss and didn’t even know I missed it because it’s not around anymore’ you know what I mean? This is pretty simple; this is rock ‘n’ roll! It’s a girl kicking ass singing rock ‘n’ roll so I mean if it’s good you can’t really go wrong with that.

AWAY TEAM: Well I’d heard about you several years ago basically through following Anthrax and your husband Scott Ian (guitarist for Anthrax), and when the album came out I was looking forward to checking it out and I was very impressed. Not that I didn’t expect anything from it but it exceeded my expectations it was very good! And you’re absolutely right it’s a straightforward rock ‘n’ roll album. A lot of people I’ve heard kinda compare what they call today straightforward rock ‘n’ roll they’re kind of saying it’s a like a ‘70s rock revival and I’m like no, this is what rock ‘n’ roll is! I think people just forgot.

PEARL ADAY: Exactly! You know I’ve been getting that story of like throwback, those comments about being a throwback to the ‘70s. It’s like well, has it not been around that long? Like is that the last time you heard really like good true simple rock ‘n’ roll done like this? I guess maybe it is, but it’s kinda funny that people consider it a throwback. This is rock ‘n’ roll! This is classic you know what I mean? Classic in the sense that it never goes out of style. People seem to think that it’s like a retro thing. Not everybody, but a lot of people. I guess I get that but I don’t necessarily agree with it

AWAY TEAM: I’ve always found it amusing that straightforward male rock ‘n’ roll bands like say Jet or whatnot, they get compared to AC/DC. If you’re a straightforward male rock ‘n’ roll band oh well you’re like AC/DC. And if you’re a female fronted or female rock ‘n’ roll band, oh, well you’re Janis Joplin, or you’re Heart or you’re like Pat Benetar. But you’re not necessarily like anybody else. It doesn’t have to be that throwback. It’s new, it’s modern, its straightforward rock ‘n’ roll. Period.

PEARL ADAY: Right. Thank you!

AWAY TEAM: Absolutely! And I promise that will be the only Janis Joplin reference in the interview.

PEARL ADAY: Cool! Well I love Janis! I mean people bring up her name with mine in the same sentence all the time. And I think that she’s amazing, but I don’t think that I sound like Janis. I don’t think anyone sounds like Janis you know what I mean? It’s flattering but at the same time that’s not true. I would say that anybody, nobody, was like her before and or ever will be after her! So it’s good you and I are on the same page.

AWAY TEAM: A little quick history of yours, you are Meatloaf’s daughter. Growing up backstage, at home, and on the road did you realize who your father was? I’ve heard stories or read interviews where when you were very young you would run out in between songs on stage and change out his hankies for him or his handkerchiefs. But did you understand how big he was? Who Meatloaf was and what he had done with Bat Out of Hell?

PEARL ADAY: Well no I don’t think when I was 4 years old I was understanding the whole scope of what Bat Out of Hell had done. The sort of the walls that he had broken down, especially being a big guy, and fronting a band which is what initially gave him a lot of trouble trying to get into the business. Because they’re like you’re a big guy that sings rock opera what the hell is this? And he just kept going and going and going until it worked and it was massive. So no, when I was 4 years old of course I didn’t understand the scope of that. I don’t quite remember how I thought of it. I did understand that that was his job and that he would go to work and go up on stage and sing, and there would be packed arenas of thousands of people singing his songs and screaming for him and adoring him. So how a child gets that or how to processes that concept I don’t really remember, But I remember understanding that that was what he did, that was his job. There’s a story that my mom loves to tell when, we always had an apartment in Manhattan, we I grew up in and I went to school in Connecticut. We had a house in Connecticut and an apartment in Manhattan, we don’t anymore but growing up I did. We had a place that was right across the street from Central Park and my dad had a day off and it wasn’t a day when he was playing softball in the park cuz he used to do that a lot too. And it was like daddy-daughter day and he took me to the park right by the softball fields where there’s swings and stuff like that. We just got swarmed by fans! I’m on the swing and he’s pushing me and I remember this, I was like 5 years old I think, and he’s pushing me on the swing and then I go forward and I come back and I turn and he’s not there to push me again! But he’s signing autographs. And after that we went back the apartment and my mom asked ‘so how was the day Pearl?’ and I just went Meatloaf, Meatloaf, Meatloaf that’s all I ever hear is Meatloaf’! That was around that time of Bat Out Of Hell. And then it happened again in the 90’s, we couldn’t go anywhere without him just being swarmed. So as a little girl I don’t think I totally got that. I think that it was just like people are annoying and taking my dad away from daddy-daughter day, I didn’t totally get the autograph thing. Growing up, when I was 19 that’s when I started singing in his band. I sang in his band for 9 years so at that point I understood what was going on. But when I was real little I think it was more, ‘ok this is what dad does and people like to talk to him when we’re out.

AWAY TEAM: So at what point did the music bug bite you? At what point did you say hey either I’m good at this or this is what I really want to do?

PEARL ADAY: I don’t know, I always remember singing around the house and making little girl groups with my girlfriends and performing in the living room for everybody. We had a girl group called the Bottle Caps I remember. We would put on tutus and lip sync to Leader of the Pack, I don’t know why Leader of the Pack but that we liked that song when we were 10. In elementary middle school I was always in plays and musicals and high school I was the lead in all the musicals and in a band, and in college I was in a band. So I think it was just always just something that I was gravitating towards, always singing in the house, and writing in high school. I started writing poems and putting them to music; stuff like that. I think always I always wanted to be a singer. Always!

AWAY TEAM: You were, as you already stated, Meatloaf’s backup singer for many years and you were a backup singer for Motley Crue for awhile, so what took you so long to step out front and do your own album?

PEARL ADAY: It’s funny when people say “what took you so long?” But I think that if I tried to do this 10 years ago this wouldn’t have come out. I think that it needed to happen naturally and organically and I had to live the life that I’ve lived up to this point in order to make this music and write these lyrics. You know I had to I had to experience it first, Well I experienced a shitload my entire life, but I also had to get the experience of performing and I think build up my gut. It’s quite an intimidating thing to have a parent who is such a megastar and that is what you want to do too and sort of…

AWAY TEAM: Oh I can’t imagine! I can’t imagine trying to step out of that shadow.

PEARL ADAY: Forget about it! It’s really scary and unless…you know a different personality might have gone ‘blaahhhh here I am! I’m ready!’ but I’m sort of more like I’ll hang out until I’m ready because I don’t want to come out and do it half assed or go out and look like I don’t know what I’m doing. I want it to be the best that it’s gonna be and I think that’s what this is for right now. You know the next album that we write might be better. I don’t know. It will be different in the sense that it’ll be different songs and I’ll have lived that much longer and learned that much more through the cycle of this album, performing and finding my feet onstage as a front-person in a band which is something that I’ve become really comfortable with right now. But I still don’t know everything that there is to know. Every time I go onstage I learn something new about myself and as a performer. In terms of what you said ‘why did it take you so long’ and I don’t think… I don’t see it that way. I see it as this is happening now. This is what’s happening now it wasn’t going to happen before. I used to do some interviews with my dad through those 9 years when I was performing in his band with him and he would introduce me sometimes as ‘yeah this is my daughter the amazing singer who’s afraid to sing’ because it was true. I was comfortable in my niche being a backup singer which, don’t get me wrong, that’s an important job especially with Jim Steinman and Meatloaf songs! Those parts are not easy. Those are complicated songs. I wasn’t fronting it though, I was back there and my voice was blending in with lots of other voices with the other people who were singing on stage too. I don’t think I was ready then to step out, I needed to observe a little longer and I needed to find it in myself.

AWAY TEAM: You’ve done a few dates for the release of the album. I actually saw your performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live which is so far the only chance I’ve had to see you perform. I know your band is opening for Meatloaf on his tour starting next month. When will we see you out doing a full fledged tour on your own?

PEARL ADAY: Hopefully we’ll be able to get back out and do that again. We actually did that in the spring for a month. We went all around the U.S. doing headlining club dates. First time we ever did that in the States and that was great. So hopefully we’ll be getting to do that again soon. I’m always ready to perform whenever, wherever, because I love it so much. But I always say the money fairies have to visit us because we don’t have a machine or a record label or stuff like that. So every tour everything that we do comes from our pockets and it’s not cheap! Contrary to what most people think my dad doesn’t give me a penny. My dad is a very wealthy man but it doesn’t mean that I am you know what I mean? Definitely letting me forge my own path find my own way with this. He’s not buying me tour buses and shit like that. Actually these opening dates for him we were told no! no! no! no! no no no no no no… forever and ever and ever. Then at the last minute I got an email from him saying, ‘what are you doing from Aug 12th on?’ I’m going ‘I thought you told us no, what are you doing?’ so though we’re thrilled I mean are you kidding me? We start here in LA at the Gibson Amphitheater so you know it’s much better than the Cheyenne Saloon, it’ll be a really, really good run for us. We’re just stoked.

AWAY TEAM: How do you go from being a backup singer for Meatloaf to becoming a Nasty Habit for Motley Crue?

PEARL ADAY: You audition! (Laughs) Yeah, I auditioned. In 2000 I heard they were auditioning girls but we weren’t the Nasty Habits we were the Crue Sluts. The Nasty Habits were from the Girls, Girls, Girls tour. They were before us that was Donna and Amy. We were called the Crue Sluts from the Frank Zappa song. You know there’s a song called the Crew Sluts. Actually that’s how they would open the show before the band would come on, there would be sirens and a light show and they would play Zappa’s Crew Sluts so it was cool.

AWAY TEAM: I actually saw the Maximum Rock Tour in 2000.

PEARL ADAY: Yeah in 2000 that’s the one I was on.

AWAY TEAM: It had you and who was the other singer?

PEARL ADAY: Well where did you see it? Cuz we had one girl who started and then she quit two weeks in and we got another girl. The first girl had short dark hair and the second girl had long red hair.

AWAY TEAM: Ok, this was in Sacramento and I think it was almost halfway through the run if I’m not mistaken.

PEARL ADAY: I think Sacramento was towards the beginning.

AWAY TEAM: Was it towards the beginning? Ok.

PEARL ADAY: Yeah we started like June 25th or something up in Sacramento actually.

AWAY TEAM: Ok yeah cuz I know that Anthrax was still on the bill and unfortunately they didn’t last throughout the whole tour.

PEARL ADAY: Right, right yeah so you saw me and Marty her name was.

AWAY TEAM: Ok, and then Samantha Maloney (HOLE drummer) was doing drums at that point too for Motley Crue, so you had as much estrogen onstage as testosterone from the Motley Crue boys…

PEARL ADAY: (Laughs) I guess so! Well they always had girls. They’d never had a female drummer before, so that was super cool. Yeah I think even with those guys the testosterone definitely outweighed the estrogen!

AWAY TEAM: How did your dad handle your touring with Motley Crue? The infamous Motley Crue

PEARL ADAY: Fine! It was fine. I mean he’s a performer he understands performance and costume… and I mean we had 5 costume changes. I don’t know if you remember, there was the rubber dress and the nurse outfit, the nasty nurse, and then there was the Wild Side with the leopard and the g-string. I mean it was great, with a cat ‘o’ nine tails yeah! I think we actually came and played Gibson Amphi- it was Universal Amphitheater back then but my dad came to the show. And he was backstage beforehand and the first costume of the show was a like a blue rubber mini cop dress with a zipper down the front. And I had a long, long wig like a long blonde wig with blonde bangs and blue eye shadow from my lashes to my eyebrows. A push up bras like 3 of them and platform boots, thigh high platform boots. I walked out and I walked right up to him and he looked at me like I was a stranger. He didn’t recognize me! I went, ‘dad it’s me’ and he was like ‘WHOA’! He never expected to see me like that. And Girls, Girls, Girls when we come out up we would like walk down the catwalks and come up to the front and dance on a little platform I think I saw him peeking through his own fingers out in the audience like that yeah. He wasn’t I mean you can’t really freak out a Rockstar you know? He gets that its performance, so it’s all costume and lights and loud music.

AWAY TEAM: So you did a lot of writing for Little Immaculate White Fox with the boys from Mother Superior, which used to be Henry Rollins‘ Band or for the Rollins Band they performed with him. How’d you get connected up with them?

PEARL ADAY: Actually Scott knew them. When Scott and I first started dating I was a fan of Mother Superior and Scott happened to know them and introduced me to them. I think it was one of my birthdays and he invited them to my birthday party. I was really like just a dorky fangirl and I had a couple of drinks and I walked up to them and I said ‘hey I’m Pearl’ and they were like ‘yeah happy birthday’. After awhile of talking I said ‘hey what do you guys think about having a chick sing with you maybe a little bit?’ I don’t know what am I saying! (Laughs) They kind of like stopped and looked at each other and I was like ‘oh god what did I just say’! Then they turned around and went ‘ok’. So from that point on they’d say well we got we have a riff or melody we have song idea, so I’d go over to their… this was when they still shared an apartment Jim and Marcus. And I’d go over to their place and they’d play it for me and I’d record it and then I’d take it home and start plugging in lyrics. We’d get together after that and flesh it out but that’s pretty much how we worked with all the songs. Later Scott started getting more involved with helping with the arrangements and melody ideas and lyrics and stuff. So there are a few songs where Scott’s in on the writing credits as well. It’s a really, really great process actually because I just clicked with those guys immediately in terms of style and vibe. We were just totally on the same page when it came to all that stuff. It’s like ‘Ah that’s exactly what was in my brain!’ So it was just an organic and natural thing. I met these guys and then fell into writing with them and because it’s not easy to find a writing partner, not everybody can write together. And this just happened to be a perfect match, so it’s really good!

AWAY TEAM: How long was that writing period from the time you approached them at your birthday party until the release of the album or at least the starting of the recording of the album?

PEARL ADAY: Well it was a few years because we initially got together and got a bunch of songs and went in and recorded a demo album at Cherokee Studios here in LA. It’s actually flattened now, which is sad because it was a really cool old studio full of lots of history. But we did that and played… I got a band together I didn’t initially play with the guys from Mother Superior they just played on the demo. I played around town with those songs that we recorded. I had like a 9 piece… I had like a horn section and a B3 organ and guitars and drums and like a huge band which is kinda tough when you’re playing the Viper Room you know cuz its tiny. We sorta lived with those songs and noticed that some of them weren’t quite as good as others and some of them were pretty weak so we got rid of the shitty ones and wrote new ones. Then started rehearsing the new ones and freshening up on the older ones and called Scott (Ian) and Joe Baresi, the producer, and gave him a call and he came down to one of our rehearsals and agreed to produce the album. Which is now Little Immaculate White Fox with the exception of Broken White, and the cover of Ike & Tina’s Nutbush City Limits. Those two we tacked on at the end. Broken White was the last song that was written, that’s like the newest one and that one includes writing credit for my guitar player Anale Cult who actually wrote the last song on the album called Anything. Those were recorded at Matt Sorum’s studio and produced by our friend Jay Rustin who does The Donnas and Steel Panther. Joe Baresi did the bulk of it and then Jay did the last two. But it’s a good collaboration.

AWAY TEAM: Is your current touring band is that different from the recording band?

PEARL ADAY: Well it’s funny you say that because my recording band was Mother Superior, the drummer, the bass player and the guitar player and Scott Ian and I have been touring with a different band. Right now my bass player is Marcus Blake from Mother Superior who’s just done the last tour with us and now it’ll be Jim Wilson from Mother Superior on guitar Scott Ian on guitar and our drummer will be filling in for us because my drummer just quit on me at the last minute right before the big tour but the drummer filling in for us on these dates will be my friend Andy Hurley who actually plays with Fall Out Boy.

AWAY TEAM: What was Mother Superior doing? Henry really hasn’t done anything musically for quite awhile, have they been playing around with other people, doing their own thing because I hadn’t really heard their name until you…

PEARL ADAY: You gotta check them out! Mother Superior is a kick ass rock trio! They’re amazing! I was a huge fan of theirs. When I said I was a fan of theirs I’m a fan of Mother Superior I wasn’t talking about Rollins, even though I do like Rollins. They were only the Rollins Band for like 6 years but they’ve been going on their own. They have 12 out, 10 albums, or something like that. They’re not super well known… they’ve got a lot of fans out in Spain and France too. Look ‘em up they’re pretty kick ass! I mean they’re really kick ass! When they’re not doing their own thing they also are uh Daniel Lanois’ touring band.

AWAY TEAM: So how do you go about writing a song? Do you journal everyday, write poems, and then when your collaborators kinda get a song structure down you modify the words or the timing to fit the music? Or do they write the music around your words?

PEARL ADAY: No the music comes first. They’ll send me ideas for melodies or song ideas, the music, and then I’ll sit down and put the words in. so whatever the music is, depending on if it’s upbeat or if it’s mid tempo or slower, and I’ll just sit down with it and let the words come, ideas just come into my mind and the words just come out that way.

AWAY TEAM: And who are your influences musically?

PEARL ADAY: Aw how much time you got? For writing or for lyrics? I’m a huge; god I gotta make a list! This is when you’re a kid and someone asks you what you want for Christmas and you know everything you want and then when you get asked your mind goes blank! As far as lyrics go there are certain songs cuz not every song from a particular artist is my favorite. Of course there’s the regular… there’s Bob Dylan, there’s Joni Mitchell, who are great poets and I love their lyric style. I’ll actually sometimes sit down and if I get stuck writing lyrics I’ll sit down and listen to them because they’re so colorful and visual and they’re such storytellers, that it kind of opens up the room for you. Having writers block for me, it’s like the room’s sort of narrowing down to a pinpoint and you can’t see beyond anything. So listening to those writers or somebody else who I admire the writing style of, it opens it back up again. A friend of mine Leona Ness she’s a singer/songwriter I really admire her songwriting style. You know something like Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd! I think that is an amazing song lyrically. It’s just an amazing song but the lyrics in that are like “oh my god I wish I wrote that”!

AWAY TEAM: Which leads into my next question: What’s one song that you listen to and you’re like god if I could have written that, or I should have written that song?

PEARL ADAY: I don’t know if I have just one because they’re all special for different reasons. They’re all amazing you can’t really put one on top because there’s so much amazing stuff. But that one that would definitely be on the list maybe A Song For You Donny Hathaway, you know that one?

AWAY TEAM: It sounds familiar yes, I’d have to go back and listen to it but the name sounds familiar.

PEARL ADAY: I don’t know I’d have to get back to you on that one, that’s a tough one.

AWAY TEAM: And guilty pleasure-wise you know you being the rocker chick with the Meatloaf bloodline and the heavy metal guitarist husband… What’s your guilty pleasure that you’re listening to these days that you’re almost embarrassed to admit or people would be surprised to know?

PEARL ADAY: It’s funny, I talk with Scott and my friends every once in a while about guilty pleasures because it’s fun to ask people what their guilty pleasures are. But it’s funny what other people consider guilty pleasures to be. As far as what people would be surprised to hear me listening to? I guess because my musical tastes are all over the place so I’ll listen to Slipknot. I love Slipknot! And then I’ll put on you know Joni Mitchell Blue or something. I love them both.

AWAY TEAM: It’s quite a dichotomy, quite diverse.

PEARL ADAY: I mean somebody else asked me a question similar to that and I said that I love Slipknot, and they’re like ‘Really? You listen to Slipknot?’ Why is that weird? I don’t get it. Because I’m a girl or? Anyway so people are usually surprised to hear that I like Slipknot I don’t know why.

AWAY TEAM: Seems to me to make perfect sense having the husband you have but you know…

PEARL ADAY: Yeah well it doesn’t mean that I like everything he likes! Even though we kind of do like the same stuff, but it’s funny because when I got with Scott he introduced me to the metal world and then I introduced him to stuff that he loves now. Like Otis Redding and Donny Hathaway and stuff like that which he was aware of but I don’t think he ever really listened to it before. Now he’s really into it so it’s cool!

AWAY TEAM: Well I thank you very much for your time ah good luck on the upcoming tour and hopefully we will see you guys out on your own headlining! And help get the word out there as much as possible for a very good album Little Immaculate White Fox. I wish you all the luck and much success to you!

PEARL ADAY: Thank you, thank you and I thank you for your time because it’s really important to us to have people like you to help us spread the word so thank you back to you

AWAY TEAM: I appreciate it Pearl thank you very much!

PEARL ADAY: Cool alright have a good day!

For more PEARL click here.
To get your own copy of LITTLE IMMACULATE WHITE FOX click here.

Pearl starts her tour tomorrow August 12th. Here are her current dates:
Aug 12 2010 Gibson Amphitheatre Los Angeles, CA
Aug 15 2010 Snoqualmie Casino Snoqualmie, WA
Aug 18 2010 Humphrey’s San Diego, CA
Aug 20 2010 Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, NV
Aug 22 2010 Celebrity Theatre Phoenix, AZ
Aug 24 2010 River Spirit Casino Tulsa, OK
Aug 26 2010 House of Blues dallas, tx
Aug 28 2010 House of Blues Houston, TX
Aug 30 2010 Hard Rock Orlando, FL
Sep 1 2010 Hard Rock Hollywood, FL
Sep 4 2010 Fantasy Springs Indio, CA
Sep 5 2010 Silver Legacy Casino Reno, NV

My thanks to Pearl for taking time out of her busy schedule to do the interview, Kymm at 60 Cycle for setting it up, and Melissa Dolak for her wonderful transcription services.

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