The Pearly Queen (of Filth) was a veteran of the Britpop scene with the band Powder; Pearl Lowe has since had kids with partner Danny Goffey of Supergrass and enjoyed a brief stint in Lodger, but only now has she chosen to branch out on her own and try her luck with a fresh â€˜nâ€™ flirty (not to mention dirrrty) brand of rock. Gigwise catches up with her at one of her packed out shows, to get the lowdown on her new band, Pearl.
After three years in completion, Pearl reckons sheâ€™s finally sober enough to unleash her debut album and matured charms on the music market. â€œI havenâ€™t drunk for six months now. The record was delayed so long because I drank too much. I was a monster. I was at Ronnie Scotts in January doing a gig and the show went down well. That was the night I stopped, I realised I could do it.
Since Iâ€™ve been sober Iâ€™ve managed to mix the album and get a single out!â€ The album was â€œhalf done in the house and half in the studio in Ladbroke Groveâ€. The single â€˜I Wanna Love Youâ€™ (backed with â€˜Lotta Loveâ€™, a Minnie Ripperton â€˜Loving You is easy cos youâ€™re beautifulâ€™-esque smooth number) is a gushing, craving nugget of pop with a bit of sultry pouting sprinkled on top.
Sheâ€™s back to hitting the gossip columns with full force, this time not because of her drunken antics (circa 1995 the NME used to joke that as she spent so much time in the Dublin Castle, her then-imminent baby would be born in the pubâ€™s toilets), but because of all her famous friends joining the Pearl party.
Some might consider it a handy bit of press manipulation, but Pearlâ€™s got an innocent explanation: â€œItâ€™s not manipulative and itâ€™s (the press attention) not why weâ€™ve recorded with certain people. It was really just our mates that happened to be hanging aroundâ€. Along with husband Danny Goffey, the group of mates includes Jackson Scott, Brett Anderson, Sadie Frost, Rhys Ifans and Heather Nova, amongst others, â€œWe thought the song â€˜Bardotâ€™ would really suit Brettâ€™s voice, but we were all getting drunk and Rhys turned up at the studio one day and said â€˜Iâ€™m singing it!â€™. With Heather Nova, her boyfriend was producing it, so she was an obvious choiceâ€. And Jackson Scott? â€œWell, heâ€™s a friend and also a very good guitarist. He does little things on the side like acoustic parties and stuff, but heâ€™d just come over from Spain and didnâ€™t know anyone so I thought Iâ€™d help him outâ€.
Having already racked up a fair amount of celeb collaborations, is there anyone else youâ€™d still like to work with? â€œIâ€™d love to duet with Tom Waits before he diesâ€. Talented indie-scene stalwart Darren Berry (aka Mankato) is also another mate thatâ€™s onboard as Pearlâ€™s effortlessly energetic drummer. Pearlâ€™s original band Powder toured with Darrenâ€™s old band Elcka way back in â€˜95 on the Melody Maker tour. â€œIn those days I had the time of my life, it was a riot! Pulp, Blur, Elastica, Menswear - we were all mates and weâ€™d all hang out. The festivals were different then â€˜cos the bands didnâ€™t move (to an alternative site) so it would just be one mass party the whole weekend from Thursday until Tuesdayâ€.
So, whatâ€™s changed since Britpop fizzled out and its main-players moved on? Since Powder, Pearl has made plush curtains for the stars, received voice coaching, and scratched her musical itch with Lodger, but as Pearl she now has the chance to change direction: . â€œNow I can write and sing more heart-wrenching songs. In Powder, I resented singing lyrics about nothing. I would be there crying with my friends as I was singing about things with no significance. Mark wouldnâ€™t let me write the lyrics. He controlled the band and told me how to singâ€.
She makes Powder sound like an unlikely dictatorship, but the band are all still in touch, and surely the good times must have outweighed the sacrifices she had to make? â€œIâ€™d sometimes be on tour for six weeks at a time so it was hard to leave my daughter, but it was just one big party! We had a lot of funâ€¦ too much fun!â€. Back then, at 23, Pearl had a four year-old daughter and lived with her mother. Now the daughter has grown up and is soon to be following in her motherâ€™s footsteps modelling for Vogue (Pearl was on the Agent Provocateur books).
Giving up the grog (â€œThatâ€™s all in the past â€“ Iâ€™m clean and serene now!â€), getting back in the gig groove and watching her kids grow up, Pearl also plans grow older gracefully with talk of an imminent move from the comfortable confines of Primrose Hill, to the leafy peace of the Buckinghamshire countryside. With all these changes afoot, has she any predictions for a new UK music trend booting out the stale remnants of the â€˜New Cross sceneâ€™? â€œWell lived women and people that have been to hell and back, singing about their pain and debaucheryâ€. I never knew the life of a popstar could be such a trauma!
Well, despite the suggestion of this pained batch of shouty miserabilists taking over the airwaves, with Pearlâ€™s rich, confident album and dazzling live dates to add to the melting pot, it looks like weâ€™ve got some cheery times ahead.