Vocalist Pearl Aday can certainly make the claim that she is part of an honest-to-goodness rock ‘n’ roll family. Her adoptive father is none other than Meat Loaf. Her biological father was Clark Pierson, the drummer of the Full Tilt Boogie Band. And her husband, Scott Ian, is the guitarist of heavy metal thrashers, Anthrax.
But the main reason to take note of Pearl Aday is her voice. The marvelous rich textures of her vocals are akin to the immortal Janis Joplin (and, yes, she was named after JJ).
Currently, Aday is involved in her own projects (with Mother Superior’s front man, Jim Wilson) and one with her husband (Motor Sister). Give her enough recording time to prove her skills, and Pearl Aday just might be a household name one day. In the meantime, Pearl gives us the 10 albums that have turned her into the powerful vocalist she’s become.
— Patrick Prince
Bob Dylan, Blood On The Tracks I’ve been hearing this album my whole life, but I never really started paying attention to it until I started writing songs when I was about 15 years old. You can’t beat Dylan, the master of turning, coining and twisting a phrase; the master of telling epic tales in just the few verses of a song; and the master of painting vivid visuals, breaking your heart, making you laugh and ready to fight with just a guitar and his poetry. Of all of his albums I’ve always gravitated toward this one, I think because of the subject matters of the heart.
Joni Mitchell, Blue I was a creative writing major in college. This was the soundtrack on loop to every paper, every poem, every story and line of prose that I poured into my laptop sitting alone in my bedroom in my apartment. Every time I listen to it, even after all this time, I always hear a little something I didn’t hear before. There is something about the freedom she exudes and offers me, personally, as a writer. The way she packs a big fat phrase into an extra small, sleek pair of cigarette pants, that if not always sexy is very much interesting and original. Even the way she plays guitar. The most skilled guitarists I know (and I know a few) are still stumped by her music every time they try to play it, because she made her own rules and played it her way.
Janis Joplin, Greatest Hits I was actually named after Janis Joplin. Pearl was her nickname. It was the character she said she turned into when she put on those round, colored shades and that feather boa around her head. It was her happy place.
Muddy Waters, The Muddy Waters Woodstock Album This album is very much a part of my life and the musical blood that runs through my veins. I am actually on the cover of this album, well…technically I am. My mother is standing in the front row of the Woodstock townspeople just to the right of Muddy. She was about eight months pregnant with me. My mom worked at Bearsville Studios in Woodstock when this was being recorded in town, and she was closely involved with the group and the players. This is the music that was vibrating my soul alive in the womb. My mom likes to say that I was “baptized in Muddy Waters.”
Meat Loaf, Bat Out Of Hell For me, this album marks the beginning of my most remembered life. We like to say that my mom and I married my dad in 1979 and thus began our marriage with hard rock and grand stage production, theatrics and bombast. I’ve been watching my dad perform almost my entire life, and what I’ve learned from him in terms of my own performance style is immeasurable. You could say this music has been the most constant running soundtrack of my life, and I’m quite lucky that it’s so damn good.
Stevie Wonder, Songs In The Key Of Life I was fed a healthy diet of soul and R&B from the moment I was born. I have vivid memories of my mom rocking me in a hammock on sunny Woodstock, NY, days, lulling me to sleep with “Isn’t She Lovely” softly drifting through giant puffy headphones. To this day I believe that no matter what kind of music you’re performing, it’s only really rocking if it’s got soul.
Cyndi Lauper, True Colors When all of my little girlfriends were worshipping Madonna, I was bowing to the supreme talent of the goddess, Cyndi Lauper. I was a singer, I knew it that young, and I always found more of what I wanted to hear in the true vocal power of Cyndi. I found the soul that I sought, and still seek to this day, in Cyndi’s emotional vocal and lyrical outpouring. “True Colors” grabbed me so tightly and hasn’t ever let go.
Mötley Crüe, Dr. Feelgood Oh how I LOVED, and still do love, Mötley Crüe. I’d loved all of their previous albums before Feelgood, but this one came at a time in my adolescence when hormones were raging, rebellion was a constant craft and I felt like this one was MY Motley album. The title song sent me into a frenzy every time I heard it, the chugging intro, the impending doom, the sexy danger. It was perfect for this 14-year-old girl coming of age. I wanted to be a part of it.
Mother Superior, Moanin’ I’ve been a huge fan of Mother Superior’s music for about 15 years now, but for some reason most of my favorite songs are on this one album. This album is life changing for me because it solidified my passion for their music and gave me the push and conviction to approach them at a party with the idea of “working with a chick singer” — me — because I couldn’t not be a part of what they had their hands, hearts and souls in.
Metallica, The Black Album I hung out with a bunch of dudes in high school. The first time I heard “Sad but True” I was speeding down a Connecticut country road, the only girl accepted as an equal into the boys’ club, packed six sophomores thick into the back seat of my friend’s Saab. I’d been a fan of Metallica for a while. It wasn’t the first time I’d heard the band, but for some reason in that moment their music hit me the way it was meant to I guess, and a heavy metal door swung open wide for me. It was pure adrenaline, and a release in the sense that I realized that I’d found myself in a safe, strong and powerful place to celebrate my anger.