Pearl Aday, the daughter of rock legend Meat Loaf, has been embedded in the music scene all of her life. She’s napped in guitar cases as a baby and grew up singing back-up for her father from 1994 to 2003, and also sang with the boys in Motley Crue. Now married to Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian, she has struck out with her debut record, “Little Immaculate White Fox”. Pearl recently entertained a few of our questions…
Q: It might seem obvious, as the daughter of a rock icon, that you were destined to write and perform music, but was there a defining moment in your life when you realized that you were indeed a “rock child”?
A: This is just the way I’ve grown up. Rock and roll and music is what I’ve known for my whole life. If I was forced to reflect and choose a specific defining moment, I guess I’d have to choose the time I was on my dad’s stage at Wembley Arena. When I was about five/six years old it was my job to be “scarf girl” – to bring a different colored scarf out to my dad in between songs. Red for “Bat Out Of Hell,” black for “Took The Words…,” white for “Two Outta Three…,” whatever it was. I had done it several times before in front of the same sized audiences, but for some reason this time I met him in the middle of the stage, dressed in my favorite little gold lame jumpsuit that I thought was so cool, and I turned and looked out into the audience and froze. I don’t know what it was that particular time. Before, I had obviously been focused only on dad and the players in the band, but this time I noticed the thousands of people, the lights, etc. It scared me and I started to cry. Thousands of people let out a collective, “Awwwwwww…”. Dad scooped me up and said into the mic, “Don’t worry sweetie. These people are our friends.” The crowd went wild and I remember feeling thrilled, scared, but loving it. I smiled and hid my face in his neck. Maybe that was the moment the stage bug was planted.
Q: You’ve had a career so far that most musicians would die for – singing back-up for Gods of rock and roll – you’ve got to tell us a little about your experiences on the road with Meat Loaf and the Crue…
A: I get this question a lot – people always digging for the sordid tales of debauchery. I can tell you that I drank as much on the Meat Loaf tours as I did on the Motley tour, but on the Motley tour I definitely visited more strip clubs. For the rest I’ll have to adhere to the “Road Code” and tell you that what happens on the road stays on the road.
Q: Your debut record is great and so refreshing to hear these days. Tell us some more about how “Little Immaculate White Fox” came to be…
A: The making of this record was a very natural and organic process for me – a learning process for sure. I learned a lot about myself. It began with me meeting Jim Wilson and Marcus Blake from the band Mother Superior, a band that I’m a massive dorky fan-girl of. We hit it off and decided to start writing songs together. They’d come up with riffs, melodies, song skeletons, and we’d sit down together and record the music and then I’d take the music and plug the words in. Once we got a good group of songs together we went in the studio with producer Joe Barresi (Tool, Queens of the Stone Age, Bad Religion, Coheed and Cambria, etc.), and with the exception of our cover of “Nutbush City Limits”, and our original “Broken White,” we recorded this album in three weeks. That’s all the time that Joe had – he’s a man in demand. The last two we added and recorded later at Matt Sorum’s Studio Drac here in L.A. and they were produced by Jay Ruston (The Donnas, Steel Panther, Courtney Love, Everclear, etc.).
Q: The record has some real treats for classic rock fans, such as Ted Nugent on “Check Out Charlie” and Jerry Cantrell [Alice in Chains] playing guitar on “Anything”. How did these collaborations come about and what was it like working with these guys?
A: Ted and Jerry are close friends of ours. When we were in the studio mixing “Check Out Charlie” we thought it could do with some real kick-ass Uncle Ted feedback ripping. So we asked him. Can’t hurt to ask. He said “yes” right away. He was up North in the studio with Jack Blades and had us send up the tracks. We asked him to just do his thing throughout the solo section in the middle and he sent it back soloing through the entire thing, from first beat to last note, which was awesome because it gave us a lot to work with. We were actually able to make the solo in the middle a sort of call-and-answer between Ted and Scott. If you listen you’ll hear it pan from left to right, Ted to Scott. It’s so cool. With Jerry on “Anything,” a beautiful song written primarily by my guitar player Nalle Colt, it was the same thing. We asked him, he said “yes”, but he actually came into the studio with us. We plugged him into the board and I sat at his feet while he played a very haunting, guitar-crying, heartbroken, almost Gilmour-ish turn throughout the song. Perfect.
Q: Another treat is the sizzling cover of Tina Turner’s “Nutbush City Limits” – an interesting choice for a cover tune – could you tell us more about that decision?
A: I’ve always LOVED that song. It’s a fucking kick-ass rock song. I love to sing it and we have a lot of fun playing it. Tina Turner wrote it. You just can’t go wrong with Tina.
Q: How is it writing and playing with your husband [Scott Ian of Anthrax]? Are you two always on the same page or does the honeymoon end in the studio?
A: We are an amazing team. We are best friends and we are each other’s champions. We each know what we want and we trust each other in that sense, but we are open to each other’s ideas. Scott’s been making albums for over 25 years – I’d be wrong to not at least listen to what he has to say. We work so well together, and that’s an understatement.
Q: Which song on the record was the most difficult for you and why?
A: Right off the bat, “Broken White” comes to mind. Vocally and physically it’s the most difficult for me.
Q: Is it possible to pick a favorite track from “Little Immaculate White Fox”?
A: Of course I’m gonna say that I love them all and that’s true, but in the same breath I’ll also say that I love the song “Mama”. I love to sing that song. It’s a cathartic primal scream for me. It’s therapeutic to a certain level. What you hear when you hear me sing that song is pure intimacy, emotion, pain, and the search for strength and love. In the studio I recorded these vocals in one take. What you hear on the album was sung straight through on the first pass. That’s honesty.
Q: It’s clear that you are influenced largely by the classic rock artists – from AC/DC to ZZ Top – but are there any modern rock artists that you really enjoy as well?
A: I do listen mainly to “classic rock.” I haven’t found too many modern true rock bands. The few I dig are Mother Superior, Grace Potter, Stone Sour, Turbo Negro. It’s not particularly rock, and she’s not new, but I’m loving the new album from Bettye LaVette. There’s a lot of rock in Lady Gaga and I also think that Pink has an incredible rock voice, even though she uses it mainly for pop.
Q: What can fans expect from Pearl in the next couple years?
A: We’ve only just started. The album came out in the States in January and in Europe and Australia this past spring. You can expect more, more, more. More live shows, touring, etc. We’ve also started working on brand new songs for a next album. Also, we’ll be starting a run opening for Meat Loaf this August 12th at the Gibson Amphitheater in Los Angeles and moving through the North West, down into Texas and Arizona and Florida. Like I said, we’ve only just begun.
Q: On behalf of The Rock and Roll Report, thanks again for your time and best of luck with the new release!
A: Thank you! We need new friends like you to help us spread the word and get our music out to as many ears as possible. We beyond appreciate your time, care, and help. Cheers, Love, Rock, always!