Whether playing spasmodic shows with hardcore supergroup Dead Cross, releasing noisy shit on his Three One G record label or dropping what we can only assume to be the most phallic music video of the year with his industrialized hip-hop project Planet B, Justin Pearson has left his imprint on 2018. And the year left an imprint on him, too. We asked him to share some of the highlights from his last 11 months and counting — below is what he offered up.
This album was shared with me when I was on tour with Jon Sylverson, who was tour managing Dead Cross last summer. It seemed to have come out of nowhere and, well, surpassed anything I would have expected from them. I love Jon to death. I also really love Lex, and his vocals, vocal placement, etc. So it was a pleasure to hear this album in advance and also to find out that it was being released on Ipecac. I was a bit bummed that I wasn't able to see them play it live (yet), but I'm certainly glad this album is out there in the world now.
Last summer, Dead Cross did our first European tour and we were lucky enough to have Zeus on a handful of the bills. Not only does the duo rip super hard, but I was able to perform "Sick and Destroy" live with them every night we played together, which was rad. Is it weird to say that I wish I was in their band and was able to sing on all of their material? Ha! I'd probably ruin it though. Plus, I can just watch and observe them play in amazement from the side of the stage. Anyhow, I love the dudes, it was great to be able to hang out with them again, and well, I wish I could see them play more often, especially in my neck of the world.
I've become friends with Martin over the years, by taking part in lectures together in San Diego and Chicago, then by doing a live improv recording a few years back, and more recently by having him on one of the tracks from the debut Planet B album. He hit me up about his recent lecture in Los Angeles, and Luke from Planet B and I made the trek up to hear it and to record a Cult and Culture Podcast with him. The dude amazes me in quite a few ways. 1) He is still such a ripper on drums. I've been so lucky to play with super talented drummer my entire life, so I have sort of high drummer standards. Martin is right up there, even as a generation ahead of me, even with Doc Martens boots on, and even in a suit. I wish he could join Planet B as a full-time second drummer! Anyhow, his lecture was really amusing, very thought-out and covered a lot of history that I grew up obsessing over as a kid. [Public Image Ltd.'s] Flowers of Romance was one of the most influential albums in my life, so it was so cool to get a ton of insight into that album and the stuff surrounding it.
It's OK for me to pick an album that Three One G released, yeah? If not, oh well, I'm doing it. I love Brent Asbury and everything he does. Years ago we were neighbors in San Diego, and became friends, which led to us working on most of the All Leather stuff that the band did, some of the Locust stuff which became Molecular Genetics From the Gold Standard Labs, and Retox's Beneath California. Not to mention he has this rad solo project called Schlag-Schlag, which was so weird and incredible. Anyhow, Three One G released Panicker's debut LP previously, but this year the label released his EP titled Blasphony, which has one of the best tracks he's done, "Sticky Riot of Colors." EDM tends to be lazy, in my opinion, like a lot of music, I guess. But Brent knows how to really fuck it up, and draw from places that most electronic music producers might never venture to.
It was great that we were given a new Hot Snakes LP this year. I love what these guys do. All of the players are awesome people and make such great music. Makes me psyched to be from San Diego, where bands like this come from. I had the pleasure of stopping by the studio when this was being recorded and got a little insight on things — how they write and record, and how it translates live. So it was a pleasure to finally get to hear it in its final stage. Of course, these dudes never let me down. I'll admit it though, I was really hoping for a new Jehu album. It seems like that was in the cards. Nonetheless, this is right up with their collective resumes, and it's a fantastic album.
After Planet B collaborated with Keith on "Crustfund," Luke Henshaw had me lay down some vocals on a remix of one of Keith's new tracks, which was insane and surreal. His lyrics are from out of this world and some of the stuff I sang was shit that I could have never imagined myself saying in a song. I also roped my girlfriend into a brief cameo on the track, as well, which is pretty amusing to me, and brilliantly executed. I can't wait to share more information about this release. It's full of some crazy surprises.
I want to throw a film in the mix here for sure. I got Movie Pass right out of the gate when it was a new thing, and was hitting up theaters left and right. I lowered my standards for what sort of film I would go see since it was basically free. Of course, Movie Pass changed their deal and pretty much suck now. But among the loads of films that I made it out to see, this one really grabbed me. I'm a fan of Joaquin Phoenix and he delivered some real shit in this film. I heard it described as a modern-day Taxi Driver, and I'm not a huge fan of making comparisons like that, but I suppose for the sake of my time writing a film review, that might be a good reference point. Also, Johnny Greenwood did an amazing job with the score as well. It aided in the seriousness, the despair, and the grim reality that the characters were living in.
I rarely, if ever, get to travel in a non-touring scenario. This was one of them. I traveled to Reykjavík, Iceland, on a vacation with my girlfriend, and had a great time, free of emails and work for a few days. The only thing missing was having my pup, Captain, there with us. But we were able to see some of the most amazing landscapes, and got to see a part of the world that I had yet to travel to. I'll admit, it was pretty expensive there, and I had wished that perhaps it might have been a bit easier on the wallet if I had a show or two to play there. But over all, it was amazing. There are some of my girlfriend Becky's photos posted on my Instagram page, which are incredible. One in specific was this abandoned American Naval plane which crashed on the black sand beach there in the Seventies. It was quite a hike out to it, but once we got there, it was worth it. The setting seemed like a post-apocalyptic world, where Earth had reclaimed itself from the humans. The timing for our venture out there was interesting as once we arrived at the craft, out of nowhere, an intense hail storm hit us for about fifteen minutes, only leaving us with numerous rainbows and a beautiful sunset for our departure.
I wanted to only list nine things here, and make people think that either I or Revolver screwed up and cut off the last entry. But I would like to just leave this one open, since the year has not quite come to a close and as we have been seeing, you never know what might hit us. Let's just hope it's something positive since we've had plenty of garbage thrown our way in the last year or so.