Confessions from the Little Immaculate White Fox
“I’ve been a little girl livin’ center stage / I’ve been sleeping in a guitar case.”
~ Rock Child
Let’s clear the air first. Yes, Pearl Aday is Meat Loaf’s stepdaughter from his marriage to wife Leslie, an actress and model. Yes, she slept in a guitar case when Meat Loaf was out on the road, and yes she’s married to Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian. She also takes her namesake from Janis Joplin’s last recording Pearl. Most of this is common knowledge as Pearl has been on the road as support act for Meat Loaf through most of 2010’s Hang Cool tour. It’s important to note that Pearl is a “band” combining the talents of vocalist Aday, guitarist Scott Ian and LA power trio Mother Superior, a.k.a., guitarist Jim Wilson, bassist Marcus Blake and drummer Matt Tecu. Together the five-piece have created a stunning masterwork that not only builds its foundation on the classic rock roots of Humble Pie, the Allman Brothers and Bad Company but puts its own stamp of what modern rock should sound like. With their debut album Little Immaculate White Fox, the band break down preconceived notions, focus on originality and win fans immediately.
Just because Aday claims the parentage of Meat Loaf does not mean she hasn’t paid her own dues. Setting the record straight in the album’s opening track “Rock Child” she sings “I ain’t no sycophant with a black heart or a silver spoon with a head start.” For nine years Aday sang backing vocals for Meat Loaf, recording five albums. She worked with Ohio’s alternative rock band Filter and joined the Mötley Crüe Maximum Rock and Roll tour, with a feature on the DVD “Lewd, Crued, and Tattooed.” She was involved with LA bands Stella and Mother Pearl before added backing vocals to Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley’s Anomaly (2009) release. When we met with the group recently, Aday told us how her fan worship for LA trio Mother Superior kick-started her ambition to join a band of her own. “We met through Scott initially,” says Aday. “He knew Jim (Wilson) and Marcus (Blake) because of their connection with the Henry Rollins Band.
“Back in 2000 I was on the road with my dad,” tells Aday. “We were playing in Denver and Scott came to see me. It happened to be a night off so we were looking through the paper to see what was going on. Mother Superior was playing with Wayne Kramer so we went and checked them out. I became this huge dorky fan of Mother Superior. Later, we saw them at the vyper room in LA and hung out after their set. It was when Scott invited them to my birthday party that I finally got the nerve to talk to them about forming a band. I was very nervous, had a few drinks and went up and introduced myself. In a moment of liquid courage I asked them if they would ever consider working with a chick singer. It was silent for a second and I thought I’d just asked the dumbest question when they both turned to me and said, ‘Yeah, Ok!’”
Guitarist Jim Wilson picks up the story from there. “We didn’t really know who Pearl was except the hot girl hanging out with Scott Ian. Scott told us about her previous work as a singer so we got together and did a couple jams. Her voice really blew us away. It was very strong and powerful. We wrote a lot of songs then we’d try them out live and kept the good ones. We worked up a demo with Bruce Robb at Cherokee Studios in LA and did some gigs in 2008. We played the Roxy, the Viper Room, did a short tour with Velvet Revolver in the UK.” Aday jumps in, “That when we realized some of the songs weren’t so awesome. When you live with the songs, play them live every night, you really see the weak ones. We eventually took the weak ones out and wrote stronger ones. Most of those ended up on Little Immaculate White Fox.”
Bassist Marcus Blake joins the conversation, “Even now when we play the songs ‘live’ we wrote for the album they sound more confidant because we play them every night. We’re much tighter as a band.” A classic example is the addition of the John Prine cover “Angel from Montgomery” that Pearl has introduced to their live set. “It has a real chill moment,” says Blake, “where the song takes on a whole new life. Scott added that part in Phoenix, but it definitely shows how the band’s evolved as we listen to each other and respond to the audience. Scott also brings an added edge and even the Anthrax fans love the show - it’s just straight up rock and roll. His playing is a little different because he writes on another level in this band.”
A huge fan of Heart, Stevie Nicks and Janis Joplin, Aday finds her inspiration for lyrics through years of experience. She attended Emerson College in Boston, MA majoring in Creative Writing and spins a biographical edge to many of her songs. “When I work with Jim and Marcus,” says Aday, the music always comes first - the bones of it are always there. When I’ve got the mood of the song, I’ll plug the lyrics in that’s what gives me my voice.” Aday is most proud of the song “Mama.” “When I sang that in the studio I did it in one pass,” says Aday. “It was very personal and honest; it gave me a chance to be intimate, to be real. Other songs we really love are ‘Check out Charlie’ with Ted Nugent and ‘Anything’ with our good friend Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains).” Though the core of Little Immaculate White Fox was written by Aday, Wilson and Blake they did include “Nutbush City Limits” due to the singer’s powerful rendition of the Tina Turner classic.
“It’s hard to find a girl singer that’s not trying to sound like someone else,” says Wilson. “I think we found the last one, Pearl is amazing. We’re not like anything else that’s out there right now. It’s rock and roll - plain and simple.”