Tales of Love/Hate with Jizzy Pearl at Gullivers
On 24th May, Jizzy Pearl, the former lead singer of LA-based hard rock band Love/Hate, performed the first of four all acoustic ‘Songs n Stories’ shows, featuring Stevie R. Pearce on guitar, concluding a string of dates on Jizzy Pearl’s Love/Hate’s UK Sticks n Stones tour.
Supporting at Manchester’s Gullivers NQ was Irish singer-songwriter Matty James Cassidy, accompanied by sax player Bret Barnes. I’d seen Cassidy perform at the end of last year when he played with Tyla’s Dogs d’Amour. Getting back to his Irish folk roots, Cassidy sang and played acoustic guitar and came across as a wholly genuine, amiable character, who was born to excel in this genre of music as it clearly came so naturally to him.
With a considerable set-list, songs included Same Old Me, which inspired audience participation with Cassidy singing “It’s a brand new you” and the crowd, by this time well warmed up, promptly replying “Same old me!” There was some superb sax playing from Barnes, whose long golden locks were probably the envy of most of the men (and women!) in the room. His playing culminated in a terrific solo during the final song, which received a huge round of applause.
Doomsday Outlaw, who had been touring with Jizzy Pearl for the past three weeks, were next on the bill. They performed stripped-back, acoustic versions of their songs, with just two members of the band, on vocals and guitar. Phil Poole’s voice was strong, yet at the same time gentle and soulful. He humbly described the second song as being all about his faults and weaknesses and explained how writing it had been a cathartic experience. Introducing the next tune, he said “This is another song about how much of a f**k up I am”. I would have felt sorry for him, but his self-deprecation only added to his appeal and likeability an individual and an artist.
Poole told the story of how he chose a cover to perform whilst driving around on tour with Jizzy, when he heard I’d Rather Go Blind on the radio. Their heartfelt rendition of the blues classic went down really well with the crowd. Steve Broughton on guitar teased us with a few bars from Bon Jovi’s Wanted Dead Or Alive and egged on by the crowd, the pair ended up giving a fantastic impromptu rendition of the chorus, which had apparently been Poole’s party piece at one time, and we could all see why.
And so on to Mr Jizzy Pearl… I’ll admit that Love/Hate, which disbanded in 1997, was never really on my radar. I’d heard of them of course, but I couldn’t have named any of their songs, that is until Jizzy ripped into opening track, Wasted In America, from their 1992 album of the same name - and it all came flooding back. The acoustic version sounded just the same as I remembered, so I guess this anthem must have been buried somewhere in my subconscious all this time.
Looking the epitome of the aging rock star, with shaggy long black hair and well-inked arms, Jizzy shouted “It’s good to be back – It’s always good to be back!” The set comprised classic Love/Hate songs, to which everybody knew the words, as well as songs from Jizzy’s recently released new solo album. It was a long set, interspersed with tales of drunken debauchery from Love/Hate’s heyday while touring with the likes of Ozzy Osbourne and Skid Row.
The first of three tales we were regaled with recounted Jizzy’s experiences of being on tour with his hero, Ozzy. There was a good deal of humour in the account, which tentatively entered stand-up territory. Jizzy described his disappointment at discovering that the Prince Of Darkness had become a sober fitness fanatic, leaving him feeling let down and betrayed by his idol.
The second tale was about Jizzy’s time on tour with Skid Row in 1991 and how Love/Hate nearly got kicked off the tour because the then ‘King of the world’ Sebastian Bach had taken a sudden disliking to him and they got into a fight (for a reason still unknown to Jizzy today). Still, they made up, hugged it out and everything worked out just fine in the end.
The third story was about Jizzy wanting to please the rock n’ roll Gods in the hope of being showered with success and glory, by ‘sacrificing’ himself on a homemade cross on the Y of the Hollywood sign. Things didn’t go quite to plan, but Jizzy lived to tell the tale. Before being led off to a police cell, an Officer asked him “Why did you do it?” “It was a plea to the rock Gods!” replied Jizzy. “There are no rock Gods”, retorted the Officer. Apparently, motion sensors were installed around the Hollywood sign as a direct result of this incident.
Introducing She’s An Angel, Jizzy said “Now we’re going to attempt something near and dear to my old black heart”. The set included a cover of the Nazareth single, Love Hurts, which I always associate with Cher’s version, and Don’t Fuck With Me proved very popular, with everybody enthusiastically joining in the chorus. Vocally, Jizzy was on top form and sounded great.
Pearce’s exceptional guitar work didn’t go unnoticed either. I was standing between two musicians whilst watching the gig - both excellent guitarists themselves – and they commented on just how good Pearce’s playing was. The effort he put in, despite having to contend with falling guitars at various points during the show, was remarkable. The set ended with Blackout In The Red Room and the exciting news that Jizzy would be performing with his former Love/Hate band-mates at the famous Whisky a Go Go once more.