Excerpt from the interview:THE DIRTY PEARLS INTERVIEW:
September 13, 2011
Websites: thedirtypearls.com - www.facebook.com/thedirtypearls - tommylondon.com
Interviewer: David S. Grant - www.rockstarbooks.net
High energy and straight-up rock and roll is how I would describe The Dirty Pearls. I recently saw The Dirty Pearls live at Irving Plaza in New York City (they were opening for Cinderella) and was blown away by their dirty rock sound and stage presence. The band has battled their way to the top of the New York City rock scene, and in addition to guitarist Tommy Mokas and vocalist Tommy London, The Dirty Pearls are made up of Johnny B (guitar), Marty E (drums), and Dougie Wright (bass).
Over the past year they have supported KISS, Scott Weiland, and Bret Michaels, sold out headlining New York City shows at Gramercy Theatre and The Bowery Ballroom, and released a new single and video ("Who's Coming Back To Who") that is spreading fast. A new album is coming out early next year and in the interim an EP will be released this fall with a tour to support. Oh, and someone named Lady Gaga is their biggest fan, even giving mention to the band in her song "Heavy Metal Lover".
Tommy Mokas, the lead guitarist of The Dirty Pearls, was kind enough to invite me out to his studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn where Mokas is co-owner of Casa Nova Studios and where some of the songwriting for The Dirty Pearls occurs. In addition to talking with Mokas, Tommy London graciously agreed to answer some questions via email.
It is Friday night when I arrive in Brooklyn to meet Tommy Mokas. In addition to The Dirty Pearls, Mokas has a lot on his plate. As we walk back to the composer room of the studio Mokas is talking about countless projects related to music producing, scoring of short films, and writing projects that include his poetry. It's important to note that it is Friday night with Hurricane Irene expected to hit New York City as a Category 1 storm in a matter of hours. As I approach the building its clear Tommy Mokas has started weather-proofing the ground floor studio. While New Yorkers rush to Duane Reade and liquor stores for supplies, Tommy and I sat down for a couple hours to discuss The Dirty Pearls, his production work, 9/11, writing music, Lady Gaga, and more...
Sleaze Roxx: There is a lot going on, let's start with The Dirty Pearls and the new single, where are you as a band right now and how does it feel?
Tommy Mokas: The main objective for The Dirty Pearls is to write more tunes, just continue to write great fucking songs. We have a new album, 'Whether You Like It Or Not', to be released in January and an EP for "Who's Coming Back To Who" will be available this fall. We are also playing more in Boston and Philly and of course New York. We just came back from Miami for a few shows where they didn't know us well. It's amazing! Playing in front of packed crowds and winning them over one at a time, this is what we do man! It's what The Dirty Pearls and rock and roll is really all about.
Tommy London: I feel GREAT... to say the least! So glad you dig the single. The song, "Who's Coming Back To Who" is set to impact major radio this fall. Let's hope it sticks in everyone's head when they hear it from their car stereos! The song will be included on the 5 song EP that will be released this fall and of course on our full length CD, 'Whether You Like It Or Not', which will be released in early 2012.
Sleaze Roxx: How many years has the band been together?
Tommy London: The band has been together for three years now.
Sleaze Roxx: Any early stories of playing empty rooms or frustration?
Tommy London: We have been very fortunate. We've sold out every show in our hometown of NYC -- from our debut at Arlene's Grocery to the Gramercy Theatre. So we never had any frustrations really. We've had some "Spinal Tap" type shows outside of NYC... but that's half the fun of touring!
Sleaze Roxx: Tommy Mokas, you're the newest member of the band, how did you join?
Tommy Mokas: I joined... well, I was recruited two years ago. I was fronting my band Nova Clutch, opening a lot for The Dirty Pearls. I wanted to produce The Dirty Pearls, but the band approached me and said they wanted me and no one else so here I am.
Sleaze Roxx: What do you bring to a band like The Dirty Pearls?
Tommy Mokas: With my songwriting I bring a harder edge with a pop sensibility. You know, bring in the high harmonies, and bring them loud!
Sleaze Roxx: Tommy London, there's definitely some Elvis Presley inspiration in you, is this correct (I see it in the opening lyrics for "Sucker For A Sequel" as well as the video for "Who's Coming Back to Who")?
Tommy London: Yes I'm a huge Elvis fan. I actually have a velvet Elvis right over my bed. Elvis was 'The King"! He still is if you ask me.
Sleaze Roxx: What is the best part of being in The Dirty Pearls?
Tommy London: Sharing the stage with the four other Pearls -- they are my brothers. We have a great time just being together partying and playing.
Sleaze Roxx: Who are some of the other influences for The Dirty Pearls?
Tommy London: The influences between the five of us range from Jimi Hendrix and The Clash to Guns N' Roses and The Ramones.
Sleaze Roxx: Where did you grow up and how did this influence your music?
Tommy Mokas: I grew up in a small town of about 650 people in Iowa. Growing up I was always into music. I sang in the choir and even a barbershop quartet. I played drums and guitar -- you name it, I played it. I had both choir and band directors that supported me; they definitely impacted my early development and love of music. After High School I decided to come out to New York and get my engineering degree and go work in a studio. That was eleven years ago.
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW AT SLEAZEROXX.COM
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