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In a time when rap & roll and pre-fab foursomes dominate the retail arena, and the electronica-influenced "nü-metal" brigade scores increasing recognition at radio, the standard guitar/bass/drums lineup has become almost anachronistic. Fortunately, there's now a new act that not only employs the lineup which was good enough for legends like The Who, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, but fervently embraces the traditional rock & roll formula: a gritty dual-guitar onslaught backed by a potently percussive rhythm section, with soaring, impassioned and inspirational vocals overarching all. Hail ...read more
In a time when rap & roll and pre-fab foursomes dominate the retail arena, and the electronica-influenced "nü-metal" brigade scores increasing recognition at radio, the standard guitar/bass/drums lineup has become almost anachronistic. Fortunately, there's now a new act that not only employs the lineup which was good enough for legends like The Who, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, but fervently embraces the traditional rock & roll formula: a gritty dual-guitar onslaught backed by a potently percussive rhythm section, with soaring, impassioned and inspirational vocals overarching all. Hailing from the storied streets of Hollywood, American Pearl is ready for the masses to receive their message.
That message can basically be summed up in four words: Let There Be Rock. Unlike many new groups, American Pearl possess a healthy respect for their rock & roll forefathers and readily admit to being influenced by the records they grew up listening to. Melody and harmony are key elements of any Pearl tune, but the guys are also fanatical about loud guitars and smashing drums--their album was, after all, co-produced by former Sex Pistol Steve Jones. American Pearl does rock out with the best of them--numbers such as "Automatic" (which you may remember from the closing credits of Scream 3), "Free Your Mind" and "Amphetamine Girl" are guaranteed to get pulses pounding and fists pumping. However, there's also another side to the band, one that might surprise those who take in the four members' multiple-tattooed torsos and attempt to pigeonhole the group as another in a long line of Hollywood sleaze rockers. Before jumping to conclusions, though, check out mellower moments on American Pearl like "Underground," "Bleed" and new single "If We Were Kings"--you just might find yourself pleasantly surprised by the depth of the lyrical sentiments.
"'If We Were Kings' is basically a fighting song," remarks vocalist/guitarist/primary songwriter Kevin Roentgen. "It's about desire and having a dream and fighting for what you believe in. It's about taking on long odds and not letting them stop you from taking your shot. It's about winning the big game." Helping out with the radio remix of the single was noted boardsman Don Gilmore (Lit, Eve 6, Linkin Park), who helped the song reach its full potential with his studio wizardry.
Don't take this as a sign of dissatisfaction with the dynamic duo that produced American Pearl; Steve Jones and Mudrock made a great team. Jones took charge of the musical end of things, acting as a sounding board for ideas while contributing several worthwhile ones of his own (not to mention providing some comic relief in the studio). Mudrock, meanwhile, brought his years of experience in the "nuts-and-bolts" end of engineering albums…that, and a tremendous enthusiasm for American Pearl's music.
Many of the songs on American Pearl reflect life as seen through the band members' eyes, inspired by real people and actual experiences. For example, album opener "California" acts as a "heads-up" for anyone heading to a big city with even bigger dreams, expecting it to be just like the plastic fantastic images seen on the silver screen. "California," though, warns the unsuspecting to expect the unexpected while simultaneously being prepared for anything--yet at the same time says it's possible to rise above the horror and "seize the day."
The hard-earned lessons of life in Hollywood run rampant throughout American Pearl, which isn't too surprising when one considers that Roentgen, bassist Rodney Rocha and drummer Noah Shain are all L.A. natives (guitarist Kevin Quinn escaped from Detroit a little over a decade ago). At the same time, it presents the band with a rather ironic situation; unlike themselves, most of the players on the local music scene are émigrés from elsewhere, some of whom make good for themselves, but most not so good. L.A., and Hollywood in particular, can be a tough town to survive in--people quite literally (and metaphorically) slip through the cracks, becoming shadows of themselves in a mere matter of months. Though not a Southern California native, Quinn was one of the rare ones who quickly adapted to the scene and thrived: he opened a tattoo studio in Hollywood (the sublimely monikered Quinntessential Motherfucker) and quickly became famous for his inking skills, decorating the bodies of celebrities ranging from Axl Rose to Spice Girls to Julia Roberts…plus, of course, his fellow AP members. However, upon hooking up with Roentgen in 1997 and starting to write together inside the shop overlooking Sunset Boulevard, Quinn chose to shut down his business in order to pursue his musical destiny.
Pondering their roots, Quinn muses, "We're an 'L.A. band.' To us, that means we're part of a long line of both memorable and forgettable bands, musicians and songwriters to have been birthed from the L.A. 'scene.' When we think of great L.A. bands we think of acts that have gone on to succeed on the world stage: The Doors, Eagles, X, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Guns N' Roses, Rage Against The Machine." Chimes in Shain, "Sure, we're from L.A., but at this point we've expanded our fan base well beyond Southern California, through over a hundred shows around the country."
Indeed, American Pearl are now seasoned road veterans, having played at Woodstock '99, opened several shows for Kiss in 2000, and embarked on a club tour with Days Of The New in the latter part of that year. Most memorable, however, was the cross-country arena jaunt that the guys enjoyed with 3 Doors Down and label mates Creed last summer. Opening for two Platinum-plus acts could understandably make a baby band nervous, but on that tour American Pearl's true colors shone through: after their set each night, all four members could be found prowling the crowds at venues like Pine Knob outside Detroit and the Big Apple's Madison Square Garden, just looking to hang out with their fans, pose for pictures, chat…whatever.
"Our fans rule. We want people to know that they can always just come up to us and say 'Hello,'" enthuses Rocha, continuing, "The great thing is that we're able to stay in touch with all the people we've met through our Web site, www.americanpearlnet.com." American Pearl has indeed embraced the Internet Age, and been welcomed in return: the band's official site is the hub of online Pearl activity, but there are also fan sites dedicated to the group based all over the world, from Japan to Canada to the good ol' U.S.A. Another interesting conundrum: a group that favors the most traditional of rock & roll lineups also has its eyes set firmly on the future, taking advantage of technology to not only spread their message worldwide, but also as a means of getting to know their fans.
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