The Sexy Armpit has always been a little bit comic book geek, a little bit rock and roll. Through over a decade on the Internet, one of the staples featured on the site has been the reigning kings of New York City’s rock scene, The Dirty Pearls. They’ve amassed a monstrous, loyal fan base, tour the country, and even show up at swank clubs to sing and play with the rest of their NYC crew known as The Rivington Rebels, whose legend precedes them. Am I jealous that there’s no Route 9 Rebels? No, because I just invented it, and I’m Master of Ceremonies of the New Jersey Chapter, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to score this interview! Just ahead of their upcoming tour and forthcoming new album, our friend and lead singer of The Dirty Pearls, Tommy London, took some time out of his busy schedule to answer some of those classic “Jay” questions that I always have.
The show at the Brighton Bar was basically a warm up for the band. When you’re prepping for a workout, you might want to stretch first so you don’t pull a muscle. Some people choose to contort themselves, others jog in place. Occasionally, you’ll see some crazy bastards doing thousands of jumping jacks. That’s all good if you’re exercising, but what if you’re a rock band preparing for a bunch of concerts in support of your new music? You can do all the vocal exercises you want, but you better be on point when you come to New Jersey. In this case, the crew from the lower east side of New York City, The Dirty Pearls, brought their A-game to The Brighton Bar – no arm circles necessary.
On our way to the show, I realized that I hadn’t been to The Brighton Bar in about 10 or 11 years. This fact was shocking to me, and after the night was through, I already wanted to go back because it’s such an awesome place to see a show. The layout is perfect for seeing bands and the bar made me want to plant myself next to it for a few hours. I felt at ease there which is rare for me since I’d rather watch the concert via my couch at home.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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
The Nerd Lunch Podcast Episode 170 is now available for download! It’s all about fictional/fake bands from various forms of entertainment. Tim Lybarger, CT, Pax, and myself offer some of our favorites and then later in the show we try to guess some really obscure selections! After you listen, check out my list of fictional bands below that I didn’t get a chance to mention on the podcast.
12. Danger Kitty, Discover Card Commercial, 2001
They’ve been enjoying the biggest success of their career as Steel Panther, and to think they started as a cover band playing ’80s hair band songs in Los Angeles! Originally they were known as Metal Shop, and then Metal Skool and they gained quite a following, now, as Steel Panther they’re touring the world, literally. Everyone loves a some good, tight zebra skin spandex and vagina jokes. Early on, the band appeared as Danger Kitty in a Discover Card commercial where they played a kids Bar Mitzvah. In 2001, at their website, you could get a CD single of the track they played in the commercial called “Love Rocket,” and you can imagine that I requested mine in about .02 milliseconds. Of course, I still have it and have been obsessed with the band ever since.
11. Arsenal, Rock of Ages Musical, 2005-present
Rock of Ages has been a staple musical since 2005 in various parts of the country and touring all over the world. The show spawned a 2012 film adaptation which I still haven’t watched in fear that it’s nowhere near as good as the stage show. The main band in the show is Arsenal and they play actual ’80s arena rock tunes, but what makes them so special to me is that all of the stops on their fictional first tour were to random New Jersey towns! If you want to see proof, I have their original promotional t-shirt and there are photos in my review of the off Broadway production from 2008. This early incarnation of ROA reviewed here was the best before they started tweaking the story, characters, and actors.
10. The Barbusters, Light of Day, 1987
The band in this rock drama is comprised of Michael J. Fox and Joan Jett in one hell of an oddball mash up. The title track was written by Bruce Springsteen. Bon Jovi also appears on the soundtrack.
9. The Lost Soulz, The Perfect Age of Rock n Roll
This rock and roll road movie was filmed partly in New Jersey and my friend Jasin Cadic from the band Starkiller co-wrote it! Check out my review from when it was released.
8. Black Roses, 1988
A monstrous metal band turns everyone into monsters – quite a masterpiece. I recommend adding it to your Halloween time viewing if you haven’t done so in the past. Tracks like “Dance on Fire” and “Soldiers of the Night,” are staples of my Fall playlists. Bands that appear on this rare soundtrack include Lizzy Borden and King Kobra.
7. Vesuvius, The Rocker, 2008
For a while I was watching The Rocker at least 3 times a week. That’s what happens when HBO gets a hold of a new movie. Rainn Wilson and Christina Applegate star in the comedy, but it’s a who’s who of comedic actors such as Fred Armisen, Will Arnett, and Jeff Garlin. It’s well worth your time if you are into silly comedies about rock bands like Spinal Tap. The direct result of watching this movie constantly: I was obsessed with “Promised Land” and listened to it on loop on the way to work for several months. The tunes by Vesuvius are attributed to singer Keith England and his band Lazlo Bane.
6. Stillwater, Almost Famous, 2000
A young music journalist embarks on tour with his favorite band Stillwater to document their exploits for a possible published spot in a rock magazine. Said to be based off of the early years of director Cameron Crowe’s life. I’ve had a couple of Stillwater songs on my iPod ever since I owned an iPod. The authentic track, “Fever Dog,” it sounds like it was a lost track made recorded in the mid ’70s, and it’s not surprising because the Stillwater songs were written by Crowe, his ex-wife Nancy Wilson of Heart, and Peter Frampton which helped give it that special vintage sound. Although the film did not knock ’em dead at the box office, the soundtrack won a Grammy for best soundtrack/compilation.
5. Dyver Down from Holliston, 2013
Used mostly for comic relief, the Van Halen tribute band Dyver Down, lead by Lance Rocket (Dee Snider) actually has a track available on iTunes called “Love It Down Your Throat” and a schlocky, badass music video to go along with it. This was my favorite aspect of the show, well, this and Laura Ortiz of course.
4. Mouthfeel and Juggernaut, Gettin’ The Band Back Together
You’re almost guaranteed not to be familiar with these next bands, (it’s a twofer, I cheated) but you will be soon if all goes well. I was lucky enough to see the play getting the band back together with Miss Sexy Armpit at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick in its early phase. It’s been rumored for a while now that it’s on making it’s way to Broadway. If this happens, you may be seeing Rock of Ages take a back seat because that is how funny and entertaining this play is. The comedy/rock musical hybrid is about, you guessed it, a guy who gets his band back together to save his home and neighborhood. They get into a battle of the bands which pits the evil Mouthfeel against the rock heroes in Juggernaut. The original songs are ’80s arena rock style and a select few are available on iTunes. Unfortunately the self titled track “Mouthfeel” isn’t available. I hope Mouthfeel’s tracks make it to the Broadway show otherwise I’m protesting in ’80s hair band attire.
3. Eddie and the Cruisers, 1983
This Jersey classic is possibly one of the most successful fictitious band songs ever. “On The Dark Side,” by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, scored a number one hit on the Mainstream Rock singles and reached number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. The sequel, Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives, arrived in 1989.
2. Tears of Blood, Disney’s Wizards of Waverly Place
If you follow me on Twitter, you may have read about how my life has spun out of control ever since Netflix removed Wizards of Waverly Place from their streaming service. I was completely devastated. It was like a punch in the gut! It’s one of my favorite shows of all time and it never fails to make me happy. One minor aspect of the show references a rock band called Tears of Blood. They get mentioned in a bunch of episodes and there’s even a poster that shows up on the wall in one scene. TOB is crazy popular with the teenage crowd within the universe of the show. They even get mentioned in other Disney shows which was always surprising considering the very un-Disney-like name of one of their tracks, “Crying Blood for You.” I can’t be certain anyone has actually heard their music though. If anyone has Tears of Blood music, send it my way!
1. The Hex Girls, Scooby Doo
Scooby Doo fans are ultra familiar with this “eco-goth rock band.” You can see and hear them perform in several Scooby outings, but I suggest you check out the Mystery Inc. episode “In Fear of the Phantom” while it’s still streaming on Netflix. In it, Daphne joins the band as a temporary new member, Crush, voiced by the lovely Grey DeLisle-Griffin. Look out for the influences of Phantom of the Opera, Phantom of the Paradise, and an awesome little surprise cameo from Vincent Van Ghoul from the 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo!
Who are some of your favorite fictional bands? Leave ’em in the comments! Thanks for reading!
Screw the long lines, head straight to the guitar shaped bar. I find it easy to relax there. The bartender, Cherish, is the type who is very much in control. She knows what she wants and what you want before you even decide. Even if you tell her what you think you want, she’ll correct you and tell you what you actually want. I mean, tell you what you want, what you really, really want. So, yeah, Cherish. I wasn’t sure if her parents were just hippies or if this was one of the best gimmicks ever where all the employees were named after songs. Unfortunately, none of the waitresses were named “Wannabe.” Zigazigah.
CHERISH: “You’ll have a Purple Haze”
JAY: “OK, I’ll have a Purple Haze…and these”
As I said that, I squinted as if I needed reading glasses while scanning the menu with my finger to pinpoint the generic chicken appetizer that I kept going back to. “These” referred to what I get pretty much every time, the The Tupelo Chicken Tenders. Better the devil you know.
At the Hard Rock, always keep it simple. The Tupelo tenders are quick, easy, and do the trick. Plus, for some unexplained reason, at that very moment, you’ll be compelled to spend the majority of the money you have to your name on alcohol anyway, so you won’t have enough resources to splurge on a steak the size of an actual Led Zeppelin. What kind of insidious urge overcomes you at The Hard Rock, Atlantic City? Why, it must be the Devil himself, but the one from New Jersaaay!
The Hard Rock specialty drink, The Purple Haze, IS damn good, but more importantly, where the hell else are you gonna see Buddy Holly’s 6th grade yearbook or a white leather jacket custom made for Richie Sambora straight from the New Jersey era of Bon Jovi? Not even The Smithsonian has relics so vital to our culture. The Louvre is irrelevant to me.
You might find yourself mishearing what your friends and your waitress are saying because it’s crowded and loud. What’s worse, is that sometimes I’ve waited upwards of 45 minutes to get the food I ordered, but it’s all part of the ambiance. You know what they say “If it’s too loud and your chicken tenders take too long to come out, you’re too old!”
Moreover, music fans go to The Hard Rock to see some of that awesome rock and roll memorabilia. That’s right, you can get tanked, inhale a cheeseburger, and then drool over KISS costumes and Instagram pics of guitars that belonged to Bruce Springsteen and Pete Townshend.
Keep in mind though, if you’re trying to hold on to some semblance of street cred, an establishment known for their overpriced t-shirts/tourist uniforms shouldn’t be your regular hangout.
Although I’ve often fancied myself as some counter culture rocker who cannot play any instruments whatsoever, there aren’t many cooler, more inviting places for me to be in when I’m seeking refuge from the sweltering summer heat on the Atlantic City boardwalk.
For the past couple of years, there’s been talk of an actual Hard Rock boutique hotel and casino coming to AC to inhabit one of the casinos that has closed their doors. Boutique really just translates to EXPENSIVE ROOMS. Hopefully it does open one day, because I’ve always wanted to bare witness to the only existing pair of Meatloaf’s high school gym coach’s sweatpants.
And now, I leave you with a few more pics of some other kind of Jersey Devils!
This post is appropriate of everything since we are approaching both Friday the 13th AND Valentine’s Day.
At this point in February, ordering a last minute gift online for that special someone probably isn’t the best idea. We’re merely days away from Valentine’s Day, so you’ll have to go to Walgreen’s and get the old standby chocolate assortment in a heart lavishly wrapped in cellophane. Having this tee posted several weeks ago would’ve been infintiely more helpful, but there’s always Arbor Day…you’ll definitely have it in time for that. Oh c’mon, I can’t be the only one who exchanges gifts for that.
Being that we’re beyond the online gift ordering cutoff for V-day, you can still get your special person a little something from Rock n Horror Apparel…for Arbor Day!
This online shop makes some kickass stuff. I came across them on Instagram last year. What grabbed me was their Kiss of Death shirt design. It’s a pun get it? And this next pun is also intended: this shirt is a KILLER! I bought it right away and I’m still in awe that a tee this cool exists.
For a guy like me who is obsessed with both the Friday the 13th franchise AND KISS, this shirt is one maximum mash-up. Emblazoned on the front is the iconic Jason mask adorned with Paul Stanley’s famous Starchild makeup design. The mere idea of combining these two things excites me and makes me wish that KISS would make a sequel to KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park where they have a run-in with the masked, machete wielding killer of Crystal Lake.
My only reservation is that if Jason Voorhees was to embody a member of KISS, he certainly wouldn’t be the charismatic frontman, Paul Stanley. Since Jason is more the quiet and reserved type, I’d peg him for the Catman.
Rock n Horror Apparel was founded by a rocker and a scream queen, hence the namesake. The shop also offers alternate Friday the 13th, Halloween, and Edgar Allan Poe inspired shirts along with various other clothing like thermals, sweats, leggings, tank tops, and even baby Jason Voorhees onesies! Check them out: http://www.rocknhorrorapparel.bigcartel.com
*What makes this show different? A lottery will take place throughout the night to determine the lineup of bands taking the stage! That’s some exciting shit right there! Who’s on first? I’m on the edge of my seat already! This approach adds an element of intrigue that you won’t get at any other concert!
This summer, why waste your time taking your significant other to the boardwalk to play a silly wheel game just to win a giant box of gum that’ll just lose its flavor in under a minute? Take your shot at winning tickets to Barnstorming the Bowery – right here…NOW!
All you have to do is correctly match each band to their song! It’s that simple. Send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org and include your full name and the subject BOWERY. All correct answers will be pooled and a winner will be chosen at random. Winner will be notified by e-mail. Contest ends on 8/1 so get those answers in!
August 21, 2014
Doors open at 7PM, show starts at 8PM
The Bowery Ballroom
6 Delancy St.
New York, NY