Former Toxic Reasons drummer J.J. Pearson is turning into something of a Renaissance man. As a guitarist, he's currently working on a second album with his groovy garage Brit-punk project, J.J. Person and his Weapons of Ass Destruction, which is playing at Radio Radio Tuesday, May 5 with punk rock legends The Vibrators and The Latex Novelties. Three days later on May 8, he will put on the first of what will be a bi-monthly show called J.J. Pearson's Friday Night Social. On top of all of that, he has been quietly building a mini empire of office building cafés on the Northwestside of town.
I recently caught up with Pearson, who was itching to talk about the upcoming Social. "Nobody's really coming out to local shows anymore, and I wanted to do a thing that maybe would entice people to come out," he says.
"I remembered these socials we used to play in Canada. When I used to tour in the prairie provinces - Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Canada - they had a law that, in order to put on punk rock shows, you had to get a catering license and make the show like this wedding reception. In order to have it all-ages and still be able to sell beer, they had to provide what, to them, was a very mediocre buffet. But touring bands loved it; I mean, it was free food y'know. Anyway, the kids called these shows 'Socials.'"
This Social at Zanies Too promises to be quite the affair: Otto the comedian will emcee, a DJ will be on hand and four bands will each play a no-nonsense 45 minute set. Pearson lays out the lineup: "Dayton's Dark Backward, which features the Luxury Pusher's Eric Purtle and sound like an angry Nick Cave on a hardcore kick, Kokomo's hot garage-popsters We're Not Mexican, J.J. Pearson's Weapons of Ass Destruction and an appearance by Indy veteran rockers Why On Earth.
"I didn't want it to be punk rock; I didn't want to be metal; I want it to be everything," Pearson explains. "I'm kinda sweating on what to make for the Social. I'll probably go with some roast beef, chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, steamed veggies, an organic salad drizzled with some homemade vinaigrette and cheesecake. I will provide a full course meal, and it will be good."
Back to the Radio Radio show this week. Pearson's band for that show, The Weapons of Ass Destruction, consists of Acid Green bassist Greg Stewart, Devil To Pay's drummer Chad Prifogle and Mike West, a young guitarist from the cover band bush leagues. It's a muscular unit that perfectly executes J.J.'s old school punky, yet poppy songs, and makes for a fabulous fit for The Vibrators' return to Indianapolis.
The Vibrators, born in London in 1976, are one of the original punk bands that popped up the same time as the Clash and Sex Pistols. They quickly became a force to reckoned with in the London punk underground, releasing two albums, Pure Mania
, that remain pure punk classics to this day.
Completing the bill is Indy's own first punk rock band The Latex Novelties, who are diligently working on a new record.