SOME OF THE BEST ROCK STARS ARE DRUMMERS…Anguish Young interviews MARTY E. from NYC’s DIRTY PEARLS!
From Ringo and Razzle to Jerry Nolan and Bun E. Carlos, some of the best rock stars have always been drummers. Just take a good look at our own LAUR! You might not be hip to it, if you’re a brainwashed American TV watcher, but in the underground, real rock’n’roll is still alive and well. Michael Monroe and the Jim Jones Revue are summa the best rock groups we’ve seen since the heyday of Guns N Roses and Zodiac Mindwarp. Norway has Silver. Canada has Trash Gallery and Chris Barry from 39 Steps. Ricky Rat, from Detroit’s legandary Trash Brats, has released a solo album. Bebe Buell has also released a smokin’ new lp. Hollywood is home to youth faves, Prima Donna, as well as Captain Zapped, Shiteland Ponies, Barrio Tiger, and the Hangmen. North Carolina has Michael Rank and the Stag. The Fleshtones are still touring. The Jesus & Mary Chain have reunited. England has recently experienced rock shows by Dogs D’Amour featuring Danny Fury, Dave Tregunna, and Timo Kaltio. The American Bill Of Rights may be dead under Obama and Bloomberg, but NYC still has a thriving rock scene, starring such undeniable stalwarts as Brass Knuckle Evangelists, NY Junk, Mad Juana, and Dirty Pearls. MARTY E. is one of my favorite NY rock stars.
VEGLAM: Where did you grow up, what was it like, early introductions to music, school/family life?
MARTY E: I grew up in Northern Minnesota. The Land of 10,000 Lakes. I was different from day one, probably because I had a black eye, and didn’t know what direction to sneeze in.
I had (and have) many older brothers, who were like other dads to me….idols, in a way. Rock Stars. They used to give me records….Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, the Stones, Dylan, Mott the Hoople, the Sweet….shit like that. But, I found a picture of KISS in my brother’s drawer when I was, I believe, four years old. That was it.
VEGLAM: When did you first discover punk rock and glam?
MARTY E.: Well….I didn’t understand any of Punk/Glam, the way you describe it, until, really, I listened to Guns n’ Roses-Appetite For Destruction.
Don’t roll your eyes! I was a little shit….reading a Hit Parader Magazine. There was a picture of Slash, with his hat on, and his hair over his eyes. The caption read, “I hate CC Deville’s guts!” Poison did and always will have its place. But Guns were the real thing….the very definition of something I felt in my heart but didn’t know how to define.
But I had a drum kit….and I got that the same Christmas that I got that Guns Album. I could play right along with it, right away, even though I was just starting. That said, I warm up to that same album to this day. Why? Because it’s FUN!!!!!
I got into Appetite hard….but, I also started noticing that what THEY were into….Hanoi Rocks….Aerosmith….the New York Dolls…..Thin Lizzy…..etc.
Gn’R wore their influences on their sleeves, and didn’t try to hide it at all. I wound up subscribing to a Hanoi Rocks fanzine, and…..there was an interview with Sami Yaffa & they asked him who his biggest influence was, and he said, “The Damned.” This was when you could still go to a record store in Hibbing, MN, and find a Damned album. I bought Machine Gun Etiquette, and….I was hooked.
My point is that, Guns N’ Roses really sort of, “paid it forward”, in terms of exposing great bands that helped them along the way that weren’t necessarily well-known. That really helped me, and it helped a lot of my friends too. I hope to have the opportunity to do the same.
VEGLAM: Early bands?
MARTY E.: Oh, Hell….I’m still in an early band, aren’t I? I’ll tell you this much….before the Dirty Pearls, I played in the Sex Slaves, and the Union Dead. I’m proud of all the work I did and times I had with those bands, and all of the others. All of those experiences led me to now.
VEGLAM: How were you affected by the Trash Brats?
MART E.: I wasn’t. I know they were a good band, and I used to see their ads back in the day, and I thought that they must have been cool, but….I never actually heard them. I’d say that I’m sorry, but I’m just being honest. I was much more affected by Radio Birdman!
VEGLAM: Jerry Nolan or Clem Burke?
MARTY E.: This question is tough. Clem had the chops & technique & panache,,,,and even went on, after Blondie, to play with everyone from Dylan to Dramarama.
But Jerry Nolan had a special bump & grind….something distinctly New York, that I just can’t quite articulate. But, I do remember falling asleep with the TV on, back in the day, and I woke up with the worst hangover – the kind that wouldn’t let me go back to sleep…..and there were the Dolls playing “Lookin’ For A Kiss”, and Jerry was hitting the drums the same way Dave Grohl was (at the time I saw this clip)….yet much closer to Charlie Watts. I didn’t go back to sleep, and I still haven’t. I really wish that I could have met Jerry Nolan.. Maybe we could have been friends. Jerry gets the edge.
VEGLAM: Kiss or Aerosmith?
MARTY E.: I’m sorry, but it’s a draw. I’ve been listening to KISS since birth (and got to open for them a couple of years ago)…..and those songs mean the world to me. But, it’s almost because they have been such a constant in my life that I couldn’t imagine my life without them.
Aerosmith….well, I didn’t understand them at age 5. For them I had to wait. Aerosmith showed me the way. I was much older, and not happy being a mid-western boy anymore. Steven Tyler sang, “Leave all the things that are real….behind!”…and, “Blood stains the ivories of my Daddy’s baby grand….ain’t seen the daylight since we started this band…” I believed every syllable of it, and I still do. I aspired to be it, and hope to some day become it. I will say this, so far, I’ve had one hell of a time “trying”, but that’s another story.
VEGLAM: What did Razzle mean to you? Discuss Hanoi Rocks, fave Hanoi spin-offs/side projects..
MARTY E.: Razzle was a good drummer, but he died at 24. He didn’t even approach his potential. He smiled, and played the role. It’s a shame what happened to him. I think that he could have been one hell of an entertainer as well as a drummer.
Hanoi Rocks, again, I got into via Guns N’ Roses, and….I fell in love with them. Their songs were full of sex & drugs, and all of that horseshit, to be sure, but….they were sincere. They were real. They wrote about their lives and were honest & true. They resonated with me, the same way Gn’R did, but, I knew that they came first, so to speak. Hell, Axl Rose almost surely got the line “Welcome to the Jungle” from Hanoi’s “Underwater World.”
The thing about that is, I loved Guns….then they got huge, so….they weren’t “my” band an ymore. But….because of them, I got into Hanoi Rocks and the Damned….and nobody in my Junior High knew who the hell they were. So..they were still “my” bands, if you know what I mean.
My favorite Hanoi Rocks spin-offs are Cheap & Nasty…..which I think were vastly underrated….and the first incarnation of Sami Yaffa’s Mad Juana, when they were trip hop-ish…..
VEGLAM: NY Dolls, NY Dolls comeback records…?
MARTY E.: The New York Dolls are and always will be undeniable, just like the Ramones. The Dolls are such a New York institution. I got to open for them back in ’07 or ’08, and it was very emotional for me, because….when I moved to New York, in 2000, I didn’t think that there would be a Dolls to open up for! Plus, Sami and Steve Conte are cool motherfuckers!
“Take a Good Look at My Good Looks” is my favorite of their new songs…..
VEGLAM: First night in NYC?
MARTY E.: I didn’t live here yet. I was at Coney Island High. A couple of girls “pantsed” me (pulled my pants down), then ran away. I later passed out on the Subway.
I was impressed, and moved here 6 months later.
My first night in New York upon moving into town is chronicled in my blog: http://mrmartye.blogspot.com/2012/02/if-i-had-known-what-i-was-getting.html
VEGLAM: How has Manhattan changed since you moved there?
MARTY E.: Well….I’m very fortunate. I have a good time, pretty much, all of the time. I try not to be too nostalgic, and keep my face forward.
It’s too bad that there’s no more CBGB’s or Continental, to speak of, but that doesn’t speak for New York City as it does for Music in general. The business is in the shitter, and it’s too bad.
New York is a constantly-changing animal. The only thing that bugs me about it is a couple of times a year, the powers that be try to shut down the few Rock N’ Roll dives left on the Lower East Side. Once those are gone, we’re all screwed.
VEGLAM: Describe meeting your heroes.
MARTY E.: Joe Strummer was the classiest, coolest guy ever. He was very gracious and classy, even though the Clash song that I told him was my favorite (“Gates of the West”) was a Mick Jones song, hahahaha. He told me that I looked like Ian Astbury from the Cult.
I did a movie (The Perfect Age of Rock N’ Roll) with Peter Fonda. We drank for an entire summer, and he told me stories about hanging out with the Beatles and getting his boat boarded by the cops and a pair of sisters that he acquainted himself with in Germany back in the day. I’ve crossed paths with many, but those are my two favorites. What I find about people that I’ve looked up to, is that I was right about most of them, and so were you.
VEGLAM: Origins of Dirty pearls, describe each of them…
MARTY E.: We just wanted to make a killer Rock N’ Roll band with great songs, hooks, and musicianship, gift-wrapped with a compelling image & personality. I think it’s working.
Tommy London: Driven
Tommy Mokas: Combustible
Sunny Climbs: Alien
Dougie Wright: Solid
Marty E: Bombastic
VEGLAM: Highlights of Dirty Pearls, thusfar…
MARTY E.: Above all, the songs are the highlights….but beyond that….. We’ve headlined and sold out the Bowery Ballroom here 3 times…..& the Gramercy Theater twice (soon to be thrice)….and we’ve opened for Kiss, the New York Dolls, Twisted Sister, Michael Monroe, Scott Weiland, Andrew WK, Bret Michaels, Cinderella, etc. We’ve had some fun traveling too. ….but more importantly, I think that we’ve been a part of something special, something fun, and something with a bright future. I think the big highlight will be putting out our first full-length album, Whether You Like It Or Not, in May. The release party is Saturday, May 5, at the Gra mercy Theater in New York City,,,,,with a tour to follow.
VEGLAM: Princess Pang or Smashed Gladys?
MARTY E.: Smashed Gladys….just because my friend Fernando played with them.
VEGLAM: Alltime most under-rated bands?
Kill For Thrills
The Four Horsemen
….and on and on and on and on…..it’s a perpetual conversation…..
VEGLAM: How were you affected by the death of Michael Davis from the MC5?
MARTY E.: Well, it bummed me out, because I feel like he never got his just deserts. That said, like Arthur Kane from the Dolls, at least he got to experience and enjoy playing those songs onstage with some of his former band mates before he left us. Much respect.
MARTY E.: The Ramones showed everyone that anyone could do it….then people who fucking didn’t get it took over. The Ramones never got the success that I feel that they deserved, in a lot of ways, while many people who were influenced by them (or were influenced by those who were influenced by them) are fucking millionaires. But….maybe that doesn’t matter.
That said, the Ramones are the quintessential New York success story. You can’t walk into a bar anywhere here, anytime, and not hear them at least once.
In that sense, they still remain true to what they always were, in that, they will always belong to New York (which is also true about the New York Dolls & the Heartbreakers). That is fucking incredible!
I used to see Joey around the East Village when I first moved into town. I should have said hello.
I had the pleasure of mee ting Monte Melnick last week, and he was a cool motherfucker.
VEGLAM: Dogs D’Amour or Black Crowes?
MARTY E.: I love the Dogs very much, but….
The Crowes get the edge. There’s just more emotional depth there, for me. Their song, “There’s Gold In Them Hills” means everything to me.
VEGLAM: Faces or Stones?
MARTY E.: The answer, clearly, is….”YES!” The Stones for Keith, Charlie, and their longevity & influence. Everything cool came from the Stones.
The Faces for Ronnie Lane, Ian McLagan, and the laughs. They were short-lived, but the spirit that they left us with will never fade.
This is a 5-hour discussion.
VEGLAM: Primal Scream or Diamond Dogs?
MARTY E.: “Gimme….gimme….gimme medication….” Primal Scream.
VEGLAM: Current goals, future plans?
MARTY E.: To put this fucking Dirty Pearls album out, and go on tour, finally!!!! I’d like for the Pearls to get successful….tour our asses off, record, etc….then during the breaks, I’ll do other shit…side projects, maybe another film….then, back in the studio and on the road with the Pearls….second verse, same as the first.
VEGLAM: Fave eighties hair-metal bands?
MARTY E.: Vain is still my all-time favorite Hair Metal band! You can have your Poison, Skid Row, and Ratt, but…..I think Vain had the best tunes.
VEGLAM: D-Generation or Pillbox?
MARTY E.: Gunfire Dance.
VEGLAM: Ever see or hear Howie Pyro’s Freaks?
MARTY E.: I know who he is, of course, but no.
VEGLAM: Is the fanzine shop See/Hear long gone?
MARTY E.: I don’t *think* so….that was on East 7th Street, right?
VEGLAM: Ever shop at Love Saves The Day?
MARTY E.: YES! But I never bought anything. I couldn’t afford anything in there, but I always stopped in to invite the staff to shows. Martin is a great dude! I’m sorry they closed.
VEGLAM: Ever drink at King Tut’s Wah-Wah Hut?
MARTY E.: Not that I recall….why?
VEGLAM: Know any people from the Senders, Tommy And The Love Tribe, Spider Junkies, Skin N Bones, or the Throbs?
MARTY E.: I played in a band called the Slags with Tommy and Danny from the Love Tribe when I first moved into town.
I know almost all of the guys from the Throbs, and used to play along with their album when I was a little kid.
I met Jimmy Bones once in the West Village, years ago.
VEGLAM: Favorite places to play?
MARTY E.: Anywhere with a loving crowd, no matter what the numbers. But, to be honest, the Bowery Ballroom, Gramercy Theater, and Irving Plaza….and the Key Club in Hollywood are all my favorites.
VEGLAM: Last thing you purchased from Trash N Vaudeville on Saint Mark’s Place?
MARTY E.: I stop in every once in a while, but….I can’t find anything that there isn’t 20-of already, and overpriced, so….I’m not usually interested, really.
VEGLAM: Proudest accomplishment so far?
MARTY E.: I’m just glad to be living a life that, if you’d asked me when I was 17, I’d have said is pretty fucking cool. Living out your dreams is harder than it seems, but it’s a fucking beautiful thing. Like Perry Farrel once sang, “They say, ‘Those were the days’, but for us, these are they days.”
Also, getting an endorsement with Paiste Cymbals is pretty fucking cool.
I also like this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnDoy6yGIaw
VEGLAM: Some books you recommend to young rock punks in the midwest dreaming about the drug called NYC?
Please Kill Me (Legs McNeil)
Tropic of Capricorn (Henry Miller)
Kitchen Confidential (Anthony Bourdain)
The Drunk Diet (Luc Carl)
I think that’s a good start.
VEGLAM: What did I neglect to ask you?
MARTY E.: Best drummer ever? John Bonham.
Runners up? Ian Paice, Charlie Watts, Bun E. Carlos, Jerry Nolan, Tommy Lee, Chad Smith, Jimmy Chamberlain, Kenny Aronoff, Nicky Turner, Topper Headon, Alex Van Halen, & on & on & on……