Pearl E. Gates - vocals; Peter Bilt - guitar, vocals; John Stench - drums; Hilary Stench - bass, vocals
Pearl E. Gates has had extraordinary career, even before she adopted the nickname Pearl Harbor while fronting the pioneering Bay Area punk band, the Explosions. In the mid-1970s, Gates was a backup singer and dancer with the Tubes, one of the most innovative (and controversial) rock acts to emerge from the Bay Area. By 1977, Gates had left to join an up-and-coming group called Leila and the Snakes. That band would essentially go nowhere, but as the punk movement grew and became more commercially viable, Gates felt she had the wherewithal to develop her own project. With guitarist Peter Bilt and the Stench brothers, John and Hilary, on drums and bass respectively, she re-emerged as Pearl Harbor and the Explosions.
The group cut a single, "Drivin'" which became a radio staple in the Bay Area and sold an astonishing 10,000 copies. Warner Brothers quickly scooped the band up in 1978, and that is the time period from which this performance was recorded. These tapes came from the archives of promoter Bill Graham, and were not available for listening prior to its posting here at Wolfgang's Vault.
This recording is all the more unique because, after releasing a self-titled full-length album, the band broke up. Thereafter, Pearl moved to London where she recorded and released a debut album under her newly adopted name, Pearl Harbour, entitled Don't Follow Me, I'm Lost Too. While there, she also married the older brother of the drummer on that album, Paul Simonon (the bassist for The Clash). Created amidst the scene, the album was a bit rowdier and punkier than the Explosions' record. Unfortunately, the album's prophetic title was also an apt description of what was going on with the waning punk music scene and it failed to ignite significant sales.
Pearl has spent the last 25 years doing sporadic shows and recordings. In 1998, she revamped the Explosions with all new members (including guitarist Stinky Le Pew and Dead Kennedy guitarist, East Bay Ray). They headlined the Psychobilly Festival, and perform on occasion to this day.