20 Questions: Justin Pearson of Dead Cross

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

Dead Cross

20 Questions With Verbicide” is an interview series in which an artist is handed a list of more than 100 questions and they select 20 from the list they would like to answer.

SoCal supergroup Dead Cross consists of guitarist Mike Crain, bassist Justin Pearson, drummer Dave Lombardo, and vocalist Mike Patton, who replaced Gabe Serbian in 2016. Serbian left the group after recording vocals for the band’s self-titled debut album, but upon his departure the band recruited Patton to write and record his own lyrics. This version of the album will be released August 4, 2017 via Patton’s own Ipecac Recordings.

Bassist Pearson took some time for “20 Questions With Verbicide.” Read on below.

What is your favorite live album?

I don’t have a favorite live album. I’m actually not a big fan of live albums for a few reasons. One, I think you compromise the fact that live music embodies raw energy and with live recordings you may not see some of the elements involved. For instance, sheet power is not easily captured on a live recording. However, I am a fan of a lot of Peel Sessions. It seems like a compromise of the two elements, studio and live. Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing live albums that show something rare and sincere, and blow me away, but there is not just one live album for me. I would choose the studio version over the live version every time, and then just opt to experience the act live if possible.

What has been the biggest disappointment in your career?

I could ramble off a few fairly large mistakes I made, but overall, they were part of the learning process. However, I do think a huge disappointment in the “career” that I’m partaking in would be the Internet. I get the massive list of positive attributes due to the Internet, but I also think that the oversaturation that has come with things like social media has cheapened aspects of art and even humanity that were at an early time, a bit more special. But overall, I set out with low standards in hope to be happier, and try to avoid disappointment in things that are beyond myself.

In your opinion, what’s one way people can work towards making the world a better place?

The human ego seems to be a problem for a lot of us. The ego coupled with some of the unfortunate aspects that have latched onto humanity, such as capitalism, which breeds all forms of oppression, could be the overall umbrella of what makes the need for the world to be a better place. So perhaps my dumbed down simplistic, and possibly naive answer to this would be for us all to recognize the ego and try to adjust how we place ourselves in the world we live in.

How has your family influenced your career?

When I was about 10 years old my mom talked her cousin into loaning me a Gibson Les Paul guitar, which looked like the one you see Steve Jones playing in most photos and videos. I was obsessed with the Sex Pistols at an early age, so that was some sort of initial glimpse into the possibility of playing music, all the while never expecting to get to whatever point that I am at today. My dad hated me as a kid, and hated everything I was getting into around that age. I discovered skateboarding and punk and that drove him crazy. He was a dick to my mom, and wanted a son who was into golf and girls, which were two things I didn’t care about. So the natural rebellion towards parenting was in the cards for me.

Once my father was murdered when I was 12, my mom tried to put a stop to me getting more and more into punk. However, there was just no stopping me. I discovered that the ethics of the subculture(s) I was aligning myself with would essentially raise me. However, my mom did put up with me in my teens before she kicked me out of the house at 16. She bought me my first bass and amp, and drove me to band rehearsal until I was old enough to drive myself. So I would say that my family completely influenced what one might call my career.

Which artist or album did you listen to most when working on your current/upcoming release?

I typically don’t listen to a lot of music. I am constantly trying to keep up on current politics, so a lot of talk radio, specifically NPR, as well as other various progressive news sources are what I tend to listen to. Ultimately all of that is what inspires the bulk of the music I am part of creating.

I think it’s important to cite musical influences, but I think what is just as important and maybe even more fascinating is why we listen to certain things. Musically, I tend to gravitate to absurd music, or at least music that makes me think and that has the ability to communicate well beyond language. I fixate on timbre and aesthetics more than actual musicianship. Maybe that is a flaw of mine.

If recreational space travel ever becomes possible, where would you be most interested in visiting?

I recently had the privilege of getting a private tour of the Space X facility in California. There I was told that I would be able to go to outer space in my lifetime. So again, I have set my standards low and have hopes to at least just get out of our atmosphere and whatever I get to experience beyond that would be fantastic.

What was the first album you ever bought? What format was it in? Do you still have it?

Technically my mom paid for it, but I picked it out… Stevie Wonder Looking Back triple LP. I think I was six years old. However, I obtained a few of those read-a-long seven-inch books that came out which were for children that were all based on Star Wars films well before the Stevie Wonder album. I do not have it at this juncture. I have very little from that part of my childhood. However, I do still have a copy of the Sex Pistols “Never Mind the Bollocks” that I got when I was 10.

If you were to write an autobiography, what would the title be?

From the Graveyard of the Arousal Industry. And a brief addition to the book would be called How to Lose Friends and Irritate People.

What’s the worst venue you’ve ever played?

It was in Philadelphia and I don’t believe it had a name. But The Locust and Jenny Piccolo had to finish building the stage that was not finished in order to play. Oh, and the stage was bigger than the rest of the room, which barely fit the one band and their gear.

Who is your favorite dead president?

The only good one is a dead one. It’s okay, I’m fairly certain that I’m on the NSA’s shit list.

At what age did you decide you wanted to be a musician?

I have not yet decided to call myself a musician. I try to just call myself an artist. Sounds pretentious, I know. Sorry, but for the most part, I have no idea what I’m doing.

In your eyes, what is your biggest accomplishment in life?

I have had quite a few accomplishments that I’m fairly proud of. An overall general accomplishment would be that I have survived to the age of 41. In all honesty, I never thought I would make it to 30, let alone 40. So from this point on it’s all bonus stuff as far as I’m concerned.

What is your biggest regret?

I don’t have any major regrets. However, I wish I had treated certain people differently or acted differently at previous points in my life. I was pretty dumb quite a few times up to this point. But the reason I don’t tack on the label of regret is that I tend to eventually learn from the lame shit I am part of.

One thing that might qualify as regret would be how I acted toward my dad the night he was murdered. Prior to his death I ran into him and I was a bit of a dick. I felt it was justified as the previous night he beat the shit out of my mom, so my perception of him was pretty crummy. But the night that I saw him, he seemed to be different, and very loving toward me for some strange reason. That type of action from him was almost nonexistent, so I was just confused and acted rude towards him. I was 12 so I wasn’t really equipped to deal with certain emotions yet. If I could have acted differently, I certainly would have.

What is one new skill you’d like to acquire in the next year?

I have a few that are always on deck. Some I get to and some I never seem to achieve. I currently feel and have felt for years that I should learn Spanish being that I live in San Diego. I also would like to learn how to really use Photoshop so I can stop depending on people to assist with designs for me.

Have you ever had a part in a film?

Yes, I was Ricky in Asia Argento’s Incompresa. (English title: Misunderstood.)

What is your best piece of advice for aspiring artists?

Never seek advice.

Choose one: rid the world of all religions, or rid the world of all political ideologies.

This seems like a trick question. Most religions are seeped in political ideologies. They certainly go hand in hand. Hover not all politics embrace religion. Therefore I would opt to rid of religion.

What is one thing in your life you’d love to do that you’re almost positive you will never get to do?

Time travel.

Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?

I think I am technically an extroverted introvert. Not trying to avoid the question here, I’m a Leo, so it would make sense if you were to consider that.

In the past year, what accomplishment do you look back on that you’re most proud of?

I’m pretty sure I tackled a very similar question previously in this interview. However, the duration of what I would be proud of was much longer. I would like to just reference that answer and for it to apply to this question here. Thanks.