I went old school (as usual) and got my hard ticket to experience Tommy London’s solo show at the Gramercy Theater in NYC on 9/27. If his past performances as charismatic frontman of The Dirty Pearls are any indication, this show will be a total rock and roll party. I blasted him 10 questions to get some of the inside scoop on what we can expect from his new solo show and forthcoming debut album:
1. After rocking NYC and beyond with The Dirty Pearls, what inspired you to go solo?
I was working on new material with my guitarist, Matt Hogan, and as the tunes were coming together I started feeling like the new music was going in a different direction than what The Dirty Pearls were built upon. It felt like something new and different to me. And with the guys doing other projects outside of the band, the timing felt right for me to step away and see where this musical journey would take me. I never closed the door on The Dirty Pearls, but for right now this is my focus.
2. On stage, in your lyrics, and in your style, you’ve always been proud to wave the flag of your musical influences. How have these influences evolved from when you were frontman of The Dirty Pearls and is there anything inspiring you on your solo debut that may be surprising to fans?
Well I’ve always been attracted to the rock/power pop side of music like Billy Idol, Green Day, Killers, Van Halen, Jet, The Darkness and others along those lines. Bands who have these big melodic choruses that make the girls shake their ass and the guys pump their fists.
I think the evolving part came across in my songwriting with Matt. I noticed that we started to really embrace the pop side of the writing and add the rock on top. I think in the past I always did the opposite. Not that I didn’t have a pop sensibility before, you can hear it in The Dirty Pearls songs that I wrote/co-wrote. But, I really pulled out the punches on these new songs and went down avenues I never thought I would take as a songwriter but it just felt so right. I think these songs are really going to surprise all the fans who know me from The ‘Pearls the most.
3. Let’s say someone reading this is completely unfamiliar with you and your previous music, sell them on your new solo album with a one sentence pitch.
My new album, “Emotional Fuse”, will make your feet tap, your fists pump, your ass shake, your hips thrust and your lips curl, (and that’s just after the first song).
4. That was a bang-up job! I am sold. Still, the anticipation for the new album is killing me and your fans are just about to explode if it doesn’t come out soon. Do you have a release date set?
Trust me! I’m ready to explode too! I can’t wait to release it. My original plan was to have it out by the summer but plans got delayed but for good reason. At this point it’s looking like an early 2018 release. But everyone keeps asking to hear the new music so I thought a “live listening party” was best. So I booked a show last minute for Wednesday September 27th at the Gramercy Theatre in New York City so I could just play the songs for everyone! I can’t wait to hear the songs come to life in a live setting. It’s all I keep thinking about.
5. Definitely looking forward to it. For all the years I’ve known you, you have been a total workaholic and have an undying drive to keep sharpening your music and performances. Tell us about how you stay motivated and maintain your work ethic.
Wow man! Thanks so much for noticing! As for how to I keep sharp with my music, I just I keep growing as a songwriter. It’s really interesting to me to see how I have evolved in songwriting. I feel that really came about working with great producers like David Kahne, on The Dirty Pearls album, and John Fields on my new solo album. It’s funny because one of the main comments I keep getting from people who have had a sneak listen of the new album is that they are impressed with the songs. Major compliment.
As for the live show, I’ve always just looked ahead on how I can make sure the audience is on a rock n roll roller coaster ride. I try to make each show it’s own journey. You see, not only do you want the audience to remember the songs you play, but you want them to think back and remember how energized they got from your show. That will stick with them for sure and keep them coming back for more. It’s all about energy. As for the performer side of that, giving that energy and receiving it back from the crowd is such an indescribable feeling. It’s the highest of highs. That’s what motivates me. Makes me want to do it again and again.
6. Looks like I need to make a change in careers! To expound upon the previous question, what are some of your favorite diversions? Do you have any rituals when you are recording in the studio or hanging backstage?
When I’m getting dressed and ready for the show I love to put on a killer playlist of some high energy balls to the wall rock tunes and just sing along. Gets my juices flowing. When headlining, I love to get to the venue early to see the other bands and soak in the energy of the night. That gets me motivated too. The anticipation builds and builds. Love it.
7. In terms of touring in support of the new record, do you plan on playing everywhere possible or will you be appearing in select cities? What can we expect from your solo shows and how it will it differ from a Dirty Pearls concert?
Yes! As soon as I drop the album I plan on playing everywhere that I can! As for different, well, I am who I am, so you can expect the same excitement and energy from my solo shows that you got from a ‘Pearls show, but these new songs will be taking you a totally different journey. Trust me. And of course, I will still be playing some of my favorite Dirty Pearls songs in the sets as well.
8. That’s awesome news! Will you feature any cover songs on the album? If not, is there a song that you are constantly singing to yourself that might be too ridiculous to include on an album but you would secretly love to?
Funny you should ask that! We actually recorded one cover song for the album and it was a total mistake. I just started singing this particular song in the mic and my producer, John Fields, said, “man that would be a great song to cover.” I totally agreed and on a whim he said “Fuck it! Wanna record it?” So we tracked it right then and there. I sang twice thru and that was it. It was just totally organic. Awesome feeling. As for what song is it? I don’t want to say because I don’t want to ruin the surprise! I also don’t want anyone to steal the idea!! hahahaha.
9. I too am pretty good at unveiling surprises, so I can’t wait for that. Right now at this very moment, who or what is your spirit animal?
Without a doubt, it’s the tiger. I got a tiger tattoo on my forearm not too long ago because the spirit tiger is a symbol of removing all distractions from the mind and being 100% focused on the present moment. That defines me and is definitely the approach I took with my album and new musical venture. “Eye of the Tiger” baby.
10. I like it. Be Rocky! I find the Who the fuck is Tommy London? social media account to be fucking hysterical. Are you coming up with all of those? If the solo gig doesn’t pan out, maybe your calling is writing for SNL? Will that account be sticking once you make everyone on earth aware of who you fuckin’ are?
Hahahahahhaha! You know there isn’t a day that goes by that someone doesn’t say to me “Who The Fuck Is Tommy London?” No bullshit. Every single day!! Always makes me laugh. I create the memes, but the celebrity photos are always created by my good friend Dano Panariello. Friends and fans email me or tag me in ones they created all the time. It’s so funny how that marketing campaign just took off. Yeah, my @whothefuckistommylondon instagram page will always be there! And trust me, I already have a new campaign ready for when everyone figures out who the fuck I am! Stay tuned!!!
In the meantime, for those that do and don’t know who the fuck I am, come see me Wednesday September 27th at The Gramercy Theatre in New York City! Get more tix and info here: http://livemu.sc/2vy6cqc
How about that segue? Hahahhaha 🙂
Thanks Tommy! I’m pumped. See you at The Gramercy.