Their connection was instant, and their harmonies spellbinding. Together everything began falling into place.
When Mike Patton sets out to make a hardcore album, the word ‘supergroup’ is likely not far behind. In his new band Dead Cross, Patton and Dave Lombardo (Slayer) continue carrying the torch of off-kilter avant-garde metal from their project Fantomas. And like Fantomas, Dead Cross’s brainy yet highly abrasive sounds can only be wielded by virtuosic purveyors of discordant masterpieces. Filling that role on bass is Justin Pearson, whose career playing in The Locust and Head Wound City, as well as fronting groups like Retox, might even make him overqualified. Pearson is experiencing the serendipity of schedules aligning with the other workaholic members of Dead Cross, resulting in their first tour. He was kind enough to speak with us ahead of the band’s stop at the Wonder Ballroom this week.
Eleven: If you weren’t already playing with Mike Patton and Dave Lombardo, and could play with anyone alive or dead, who would it be?
Justin Pearson: There is a fairly long list of people whom I would love to collaborate with. Off he top of my head, two, which are in San Diego, are John Reis and Mario Rubalcaba. I could draft up a complete list of artists, however I am a fan of letting the universe put people together for reasons better unknown to most.
11: You’ve made it possible for a lot of amazing artists to get exposure through your record label Three One G. What’s it like running an indie label in this day and age?
JP: Thank you. To be completely honest, running a label is bullshit. I’ll leave it at that.
11: Was Head Wound City enjoyable enough for you to do another album? As a fan I’m really hoping so.
JP: The productivity of Head Wound City isn’t really up to me. I’m pretty much up for anything, especially with that bunch of people. I certainly hope that we can continue on in due time.
11: Have you had any offers to return to acting, would you consider it?
JP: I recently did a voice on Cartoon Network’s Uncle Grandpa, which was really enjoyable to take part of. As far as acting though, I would love to do more. Just waiting for someone to sign me up.
11: What is your favorite late 80s/early 90s bad Sci-Fi TV show?
JP: I don’t like bad stuff.
11: Have you seen Green Room?
JP: I think the film over all was enjoyable. However, I found plenty of flaws in the movie. I’ve dealt a lot with Neo-Nazis in my life, as well as done plenty of touring. I know better to not just accept playing a fill in date on tour that is clearly a skinhead show, which only has skinheads in attendance. I assume most punks would. And then to play “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” seems pretty far-fetched in all honesty. In reality, if the band had the guts to get up on stage, they would not have made it through any song, especially the Dead Kennedy’s cover. Nonetheless, I am a huge fan of seeing how stupid Neo-Nazis are, as well as seeing them die. The acting was pretty good.
11: Years ago I read an article with the headline “No, the Locust is not moving to Portland” where you were quoted saying that San Diego is its own kind of gritty, challenging place and you had no reason to leave somewhere that inspired certain things in your music. Has America as a whole now become that place that inspires Dead Cross?
JP: I’m not exactly sure what the relation to that quote is to what we are currently facing here in the U.S. Portland is a decent city, just as San Diego is. But the over all stature of America is fairly complicated. The Locust choosing to live in one city over another holds little to no relevance to what America has become and is currently mutating into. As far as inspiration for Dead Cross, I can assume the relevance of current and modern America play a part in what we are doing. I think that the band is comprised of artists who are all affected by this world in more ways than imaginable. I think that addressing one’s place of origin or where they reside in becomes a fraction of the larger picture of America, and American culture, politics, world policies, and so on. Nonetheless, I feel that Dead Cross is an obvious reaction to modern times and the current world we all are living in. With that being said, it seems that we are all more and more interconnected and as big as the world may seem, it’s a bit smaller than we would like. What happens across the planet affects everyone, everywhere, eventually. The issue(s) might sit with the assholes that do not care, because when the world is flushed down the toilet what good will your money be?
11: Often times your merch table has promoted some very thought provoking literature. Are there any organizations right now that you think people may benefit from knowing about?
JP: Years ago, The Locust was constantly trying to incorporate non-musical aspects into what we were doing by linking up with progressive elements of humanity and sub cultures who seem to be in line with our ethos. We did some somewhat successful tours with AK Press tabling, as well as Planned Parenthood. Occasionally we would have speakers from various social and political organizations as well. At times, it seemed beneficial and progressive. These efforts took a lot of work and a lot of planning as well as organizing with each other. I would love to continuously try to add a non-musical element to tours, but have had less success with doing so in recent years. I would love to have Pioneers Press table, or still do stuff with Planned Parenthood, or various other organizations.
11: If people leave a show on this tour disappointed, what would you like to say to them?
JP: I suppose I would say “sorry.” But ultimately whatever level of disappointment that they might have has little to nothing to do with me. If this happens for whatever reason, perhaps those people need to have lower standards or no expectations, therefore they will be much happier.
Catch Dead Cross live at the Wonder Ballroom on Sunday, August 27. Tickets are still available here.