|Jizzy Pearl - 'Crucified' (Self Released)|
|Written by Gaz E|
|Monday, 23 December 2013 03:00|
Wow, this one had potential train wreck written all over it before even a note had been played on my preview copy...and that was before the 11th hour name change. Confused? You should be...
Jizzy Pearl, recently confirmed as the new frontman of Quiet Riot and previously seen singing for the likes of Ratt, Tracii Guns' version of L.A. Guns and Adler's Appetite, had resurrected his baby, Love/Hate, in recent years. Being the only original member standing of the much-loved band who, let's be honest, thrilled with killer records at the dawn of the nineties, Pearl surrounded himself with a clutch of talented musicians - the last incarnation of the band to tour the UK featured Alice Cooper/John Waite guitarist Keri Kelli, former Ratt bassist Robbie Crane, and Ace Frehley's drummer Matt Starr - and left audiences happy by way of a cadre of kickass tunes.
Not everyone, however, was happy...
With the virtual ink still wet on Jizzy's announcement of a new Love/Hate record and UK tour - one which culminates in an appearance at next spring's Hard Rock Hell AOR 2 festival in North Wales - news broke of disapproving mutterings and proposed legal action from Pearl's former bandmate, guitarist Jon E. Love. Nothing new there you say, another US band name-calling and shit-stirring between present and former members is par for the course, right? But this race wasn't on as firm a ground as first thought; Jizzy Pearl, let's be honest, the first person you think of when you think of Love/Hate, announcing as the sun set on last week that, rather than "spend thousands fighting over a band that makes hundreds," would take the Love/Hate name off the new record, label the forthcoming tour as something along the lines of 'Jizzy Pearl's Love/Hate' or 'Jizzy Pearl of Love/Hate', and make the tour the last one to ever use the celebrated band name.
So, a six-track mini-album that I started to review as a new Love/Hate release that has suddenly transformed into a Jizzy Pearl solo release had every reason to offer up a heinous derailing, a train wreck of typically ludicrous proportions...
...but, y'know what?
Jizzy Pearl has pulled it out of the bag and released a great little record that his former bandmates should feel proud carries on the tradition of the band rather than attempt to curtail its success.
Face facts; when was the last time you saw Jon E. Love in your local venue? Skid Rose or Joey Gold for that matter? Jizzy Pearl has carried the Love/Hate legacy around on his back, in his van, on the road, and, even though faced with idiotic adversity from a (former?) musician, is deserving of the utmost respect in taking the higher ground here and rising above the prospect of dragging the Love/Hate name through the dirt.
With a swift logo change on the (decidedly cool) cover art, 'Crucified' arrives (right now on iTunes actually), sadly, under a bit of a cloud. Happily, for myself at least, I've lived with this new release for some weeks so my judgement on it hasn't been swayed by the putrid politics of band ownership. The album impresses for one basic reason, and it's almost too simple - it refuses to toe the line and churn out the same old formulaic bullshit that tired cock rock/hair metal/sleaze rock/whatever bands litter our cultured ears with whenever someone is foolish enough to let the aged buffoons anywhere near a studio. No, Jizzy has delivered a hand-written letter to his contemporaries stating, quite clearly, that things can be different, things can be cool, and things can be on your own terms...no matter how hard someone tries to trip you up by grabbing for your trailing leg as you motor past them to success like prime Walter Payton.
'Crucified' opens with 'Hanging You Out To Dry', a song that old school Love/Hate fans will embrace, mainly due to the subject matter. The song was written about the infamous Hollywood Sign stunt on June 1st, 1992 when Jizzy, in an attempt to boost sales of the band's sophomore album, 'Wasted In America', was hung out on a cross attached to the letter 'Y' of the famous sign in a mock crucifixion. Thoughts that the authorities would quickly bring the stunt to an end not going to plan, Pearl remained suspended 60ft in the air for several hours until he was noticed by a TV news helicopter. The band's then label, Columbia, didn't exactly see the funny side of the stunt and, even though Jizzy spent several hours in jail following his resurrection, an explosion of publicity was not forthcoming. The song itself is a noisy, punky shit-kicker with the kind of grubby drum sound that 'St. Anger' lusted for and lyrics that perfectly capture the hilarity of the event. It opens the record with a burst of surprise and sets the standard high.
'Sunny Day' follows, unashamedly, according to the man himself, a love song written for his girlfriend. "Old school Love/Hate psychedelia" is how Pearl describes it, and he's telling the truth, the song reminiscent of when cock rockers embraced alternative music in the early '90s. The next song, 'You're Making Me Nervous', pushes the boundaries even further, reminding me, the vocal line especially, of Baby Chaos. This tale of a date gone bad is another tune I never saw coming but, now, don't want to see leave.
'I Don't Want To Be Your Baby', at first, threatens to bring an uninvited power ballad to gatecrash the party but, as another set of fine lyrics testifies, it's almost an anti-power ballad; the music slow and Fonz cool, the words saying the polar opposite of your everyday lighters-in-the-air heartwarmer.
'Love Is All' finds Pearl penning another love letter, this time to Led Zeppelin as he Kashmirs his way through a subtle, slow-burner of a tune, before the record climaxes with 'Too Late', another, perhaps surprisingly, laid back number that details the story of someone once near and dear who fucked up...
Yes, it does appear that the song is a perfect way to capture the feeling towards a certain Mr. E. Love - "it's sad, but you live your life in photographs..."
It's harsh to side with someone after hearing just one side of a story - I know this - but remembering that Jon E. Love walked out on Love/Hate as soon as they got dropped by Columbia can't help but taint opinion. More disappointing is the fact that Love was the one that, after reuniting with the band (spread over several, oft-difficult tours) stuck around with Pearl the longest. He should know how hard the frontman has worked to keep the Love/Hate name alive more than anyone. The only way, surely, that Jon E. Love can regain the trust of Love/Hate fans excited by 'Crucified' - and they will be, believe me - is by coming out and saying that he is jealous of Jizzy's vision and success and wants in again: anything else will be just not good enough...
...unlike 'Crucified', of course, because it is more than good enough for you all.