Justin Pearson

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Justin Pearson
Born (1975-08-20) August 20, 1975 (age 43)
Origin San Diego, United States
Years active 1991–present
Associated acts

Justin Pearson (born August 20, 1975) is a vocalist and bassist known for his prolific music career, playing in a number of San Diego-based noise rock, punk and grindcore bands, as well as his record label Three One G Records. Starting off in the punk outfit Struggle in 1994, ensuing projects such as Swing Kids, The Locust, Dead Cross and Retox. He has collaborated with Kool Keith, Gabe Serbian, Karen O, Nick Zinner, Adam Gnade, Invisibl Skratch Piklz, Asia Argento, The Bloody Beetroots, among many others.

Pearson has been cited as an influence for his work in Swing Kids and The Locust on the genres of noise rock[1] and powerviolence.

Early life[edit]

Justin Pearson was born on August 20, 1975 and initially raised in Phoenix, Arizona by his parents.[2] He was an only child[3] and went by the nickname J.P.[4] Pearson has stated he liked music and the aesthetics of rock music since he was little.[2][5] Around ten his mother's cousin let him borrow a guitar, and he eventually moved onto bass.[2] He also began skateboarding and listening to the Thrasher skate/rock compilation tapes with bands like Septic Death, the Sex Pistols, The Misfits,[3] and Suicidal Tendencies. He has stated he was especially drawn towards the music that touched on social politics.[5] Pearson also got into break dancing and early rap like Run DMC and the Beastie Boys, as well as developing an interest in metal. In Phoenix he lived a couple blocks away from some of the members of Slayer.[2]

When Pearson was twelve years old his father was murdered.[3] Later that year in 1987, Pearson and his mother moved to San Diego, California,[4] specifically Clairemont.[6] His mother's new boyfriend moved with them,[3] and Pearson has stated that the man was physically and emotionally abusive towards both of them. At his new middle school he also faced death threats and attacks from skinhead students.[4] Pearson continued to play guitar, taking a few lessons before teaching himself how to play the instrument with friends.[2] At age 13 he met future collaborator Eric Allen.[7] He met and befriended Matt Anderson of End of the Line at the age of 14.[6] Pearson was soon exposed to the distinctive San Diego hardcore punk scene[5] and began attending all the all-ages shows he could,[6] discovering influential local bands such as Amenity, Heroin, Forced Down, Drive Like Jehu, and Crash Worship.[4]

Pearson also attended metal shows at house parties, eventually discovering Che Café,[6] an all-ages venue on the campus of UC San Diego.[5] The Che frequently hosted underground metal and punk bands. At the venue he saw shows by Blast, Chain of Strength, Carcass, Chumbawumba, Crossed Out, Inside Out, Filth, and Sleep.[6] Pearson befriended a number of the musicians,[4] stating "I'd go [to the Che] and talk to all the bands. They were really down-to-earth people, but they had this art that was just mind-blowing. When they played they would turn into ax murderers on instruments."[5] At the age of 16,[3] his home situation escalated to Pearson having to fight back against his mother's boyfriend, and he was kicked out of the house. He stayed in school and graduated, living off social security checks from his father's death. When not in school he also continued to tour with Struggle,[4] and while touring they met bands such as Filth and Rorschach, and Blatz.[4]

Music career[edit]

Early musical projects[edit]

Struggle was formed [8] when Pearson was only 15.[9] Pearson played bass alongside vocalist Dylan Scharf, drummer Jose Palafox and guitarists Eric Allen, Tobias Nathaniel and Cliff Cunningham.[8] Struggle was a San Diego punk band, during their three year span, the band released a self-titled 7”, 12” and a split with hardcore punk band Undertow. Despite being only high school-aged, the band had opportunities to share musical space with other significant bands with similar ideological perspectives such as Born Against, Downcast, Bikini Kill, and Econochrist.[8] The band went on its first tour that year in 1991, and Pearson has since described how he saw his bandmates as his adopted family. When not in school Pearson continued to tour with Struggle, and while touring they met bands such as Filth and Rorschach, and Blatz. Struggle released recordings on Undertow Records, Ebullition Records, and Bloodlink Records, and disbanded in 1994.

Swing Kids[edit]

After the dissolution of Struggle in 1994, Pearson founded the band Swing Kids, an early San Diego hardcore punk band. He formed the band along with Eric Allen, Jimmy LaValle, Jose Palafox, and John Brady. Pearson served as vocalist and sole lyricist, and has described the themes as largely influenced by social political issues. Their music was characterized by Pearson's spoken/screamed vocals and their melodic/chaotic rhythms and song structures. The group disbanded in 1997. Swing Kids are also credited with the unintentional creation of the fad "Spock Rock" during the mid-1990s; largely due to many of their fans emulating Pearson's fashion sense and hair style. Pearson has expressed dislike of the term.

The Locust[edit]

The Locust was formed in 1994 by Bobby Bray, Justin Pearson, Dylan Scharf, Dave Warshaw, and Dave Astor. After a number of personnel changes, they arrived at the current four-piece lineup in 2001, consisting of Bray, Pearson, Joey Karam and Gabe Serbian. The Locust was initially a powerviolence project whose first release was a split with genre pioneers Man Is the Bastard. Later releases incorporated synthesizers and became increasingly theatrical.[10] The band regularly played shows in all-ages punk clubs in Los Angeles and San Diego,[11] usually donning insect costumes.[10]

Some Girls[edit]

Some Girls began in early 2002 when singer Wesley Eisold and guitarist Rob Moran spoke of putting together a hardcore band that would “fuck people up.” The very next day, drummer Sal Gallegos was called in to assist Eisold and Moran and, within a few hours, the first Some Girls songs were created.[12]

After being impressed by the band's demos Deathwish Inc offered to put out the band’s first 7-inch, The Rains after some remixing and remastering. After the release the band wanted to play live shows, however the band did not yet have a bass player. The band's original idea was to get a different bass player for each show, however the band got in touch with bassist Justin Pearson and after a two shows the band asked Pearson to join. In the months that followed, Some Girls added a second guitar player Christopher Sprague and recorded another EP, The Blues. The band's EPs would later be collected on the band's 2003 compilation album All My Friends Are Going Death.[12]


Retox formed in 2011, originally out of founding members Justin Pearson's and Gabe Serbian's disappointment that their previous band Head Wound City was too short-lived and wanted to rehash that sound, though this sound evolved over time and with the addition of Thor Dickey and Michael Crain.[13] The band released a self-titled EP and their debut album Ugly Animals that year through Ipecac Recordings,[14] a California-based record label co-founded by Mike Patton and Greg Werckman. Ugly Animals was self-funded by the band members and recorded on analog tape to capture the aesthetic of the band that couldn't be captured digitally, a decision made by engineer Manny Nieto.[15]

Other bands and side-projects[edit]

Founded in 1998, The Crimson Curse was Pearson's first group to include keyboards and elements of deathrock. According to Pearson the band was an attempt to return a sense of lunacy and excitement to the hardcore punk scene, which had begun to appear dry and pedantic to Pearson. Pearson says he modeled the group on the Dead Boys. The band also included Jimmy LaValle and Jesse F Keeler of Death from Above 1979/ MSTRKRFT. Pearson has stated "we got all these fucked up kids together. Made some punk music. That was it. But as a band we didn't get very far." A review of the band's first demo stated "The recording was horrible, but was enough for me to realize that they sounded godlike."

In 2001, Pearson along side vocalist Mark McCoy (under the stage name Mark McMolar), guitarist Gabe Serbian, drummer Maxamillion Avila and keyboardist Bobby Bray formed Holy Molar. The band dressed in white lab coats, medical masks, and sometimes appeared spattered with blood.[16]

In 2005, Pearson joined the supergroup Head Wound City alongside, Jordan Blilie and Cody Votolato both of The Blood Brothers, Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Gabe Serbian of The Locust.

Pearson was part of the short lived band Ground Unicorn Horn. In the band released 2006 single “Damn I Wish I Was Fat”.[17]

From 2008 he has also been a member of Leg Lifters, which consisted of Pearson and Nathan Joyner. Leg Lifters is considered a production team. They produced a radio show with Vestal Radio, web video episodes, and remixes. They also released original musical material, including a collaboration with Travis Ryan of Cattle Decapitation.

All Leather was founded in 2008. It consists of Pearson on vocals, Nathan Joyner on guitar, Jung Sing on drums, and Eric Livingston on synthesizers.They released their debut EP Hung Like A Horse on Dim Mak Records. In August 2009 they released a remix album entitled Hung Like a Donut, also on Dim Mak, which featured a remix by Bloody Beetroots. On September 12, 2010, All Leather won the San Diego Music Awards "Best Hard Rock Album" category for their album When I Grow Up, I Wanna Fuck Like a Girl.

On September 20, 2014, Head Wound City reunited and played their first show in nearly eight years at BedRocktoberfest in Bedrock in Los Angeles, it is also their second show ever as a band.[18] The band reportedly performed two new songs, which were dubbed "nu 1" and "nu 2" on the band's setlist.[19] On January 2015, the band announced that their self-titled 2005 EP will be remastered and reissued on March 10 via Three One G. The EP's press release notes state that the "members are optimistic about creating new material in the future".[20] In February 2016, Head Wound City announced they were releasing a new album titled, A New Wave of Violence.[21] Also in February 2016 the band released the single "Scraper".[22] In March 2016 the band released the single "Born To Burn".[23] The album was released on May 13, 2016,[24] through Vice Records. The album was produced by Ross Robinson and was written over the course of a week in January 2015. The album is named after a 1982 Raymond Pettibon magazine.[25][26]

In 2014, the band Planet B was formed by Pearson and Luke Henshaw who were later joined by Gabe Serbian.[27][28] Planet B made contributions to the Incompresa soundtrack, their live debut at the San Diego Public Library in conjunction with a screening of the film.[27] Since, they have also collaborated with Kool Keith, Adam Gnade, and Invisibl Skratch Piklz.

Pearson and Dave Lombardo had both individually previously worked with producer Ross Robinson, who asked Pearson to play on Poppy Jean Crawford's demo as a session bassist. Pearson later found out that Lombardo was also playing on the demo; Crain also took part in these sessions. Lombardo noted that he had to fill some tour dates and was lacking a band, so Lombardo, Pearson and Crain formed a live band in about 12 days; this project became Dead Cross.[29] Dead Cross was officially formed on November 30, 2015 by Crain, Pearson, Lombardo and vocalist Gabe Serbian (the Locust, Head Wound City and ex-Retox).[30] The band made their live debut that December.[31]

Three One G[edit]

In 1994,[32] Pearson founded the independent label Three One G, or 31G Records. The first album released on the new label was the 1994 single "And / Fall On Proverb" by San Diego metalcore band Unbroken. The second release was a reissue of the recent debut album from Swing Kids.[33] He funded the label with the financial aid he was receiving from the community college he was attending,[6] and has stated he was partly inspired to start 31G by Vinyl Communications and Gravity Records.[4] The label is currently run by Pearson and Sal Gallegos.


Pearson has written two books. The first is entitled From the Graveyard of the Arousal Industry, and chronicles his life from childhood leading up to its release in 2010. The second is How to Lose Friends and Irritate People (2011), which describes his experiences in the world of EDM.[34]


While widely known for his performance on an episode of The Jerry Springer Show in the late 1990s, Justin has more recently taken part in numerous other acting roles.[35] In 2014, he played the character Ricky in Asia Argento's film, Incompresa.[36] He has also done cartoon voice work on an episode of Cartoon Network's Uncle Grandpa, entitled Odd-yssey.[citation needed] In 2017, he played himself in Joe Cardamone's The Icarus Line Must Die. Additionally, he has been interviewed in documentaries Records Collecting Dust and Parallel Planes.[36]

Personal life[edit]

Justin Pearson is a vegetarian and, although not an activist, has participated in campaigns for PETA on behalf of animal rights. He only uses secondhand leather and for the most part eats non-genetically modified, organic food.[37] Pearson became a vegetarian in his early teens for ethical reasons, inspired by aspects of the punk community, especially the group Downcast and reading No Answers fanzine.[38]

He had a female Cocker Spaniel named Gee Gee that appeared in some of his videos. Pearson dedicated himself to its "well-being and longevity" and made local campaigns for some of its health problems.[39] She died in early 2016.[40] Today, he has a male Cocker Spaniel named Captain.[41]



  1. ^ Ahrendt, Daniel (March 8, 2011). "Retox: Three One G's Newest Punk Supergroup Release Free EP". SSG Music. Archived from the original on March 11, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Roeschlein, Shane (August 14, 2007). "Situation of Noise: An interview with Justin Pearson of The Locust". A Coat of Red Paint in Hell. Retrieved September 14, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Delmar, Sari (February 10, 2007). "The Locust: "No One Ever Really Listened to Me"". Truth Explosion. Archived from the original on January 1, 2008. Retrieved September 14, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Scheingross, Joel (October 2005). "An Interview With Justin Pearson". San Diego Punk. Archived from the original on September 1, 2013. Retrieved September 14, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "A Day With the Locust". LA Weekly. September 18, 2003. Archived from the original on March 5, 2009. Retrieved September 14, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Kroviak, Todd (January 9, 2009). "Interview with Justin Pearson of The Locust". Last Blog on Earth. Archived from the original on March 21, 2012. Retrieved September 14, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Justin Pearson interview". Skatepunk.com. January–March 2000. Archived from the original on February 6, 2005. Retrieved September 14, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b c "Three One G Records". threeoneg.com. Retrieved January 27, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Justin Pearson Interview | Skatepunk". skatepunk.com. Retrieved January 27, 2017. 
  10. ^ a b "Bands and Performers: The Locust". San Diego Reader. Retrieved July 20, 2011. 
  11. ^ "A Day With the Locust". LA Weekly. September 18, 2003. Archived from the original on March 5, 2009. Retrieved September 14, 2011. 
  12. ^ a b "Three One G Records". threeoneg.com. Retrieved 2017-05-22. 
  13. ^ Horsley, Jonathan (December 5, 2011). "Interview: Retox's Justin Pearson on punk sincerity, Ugly Animals, extremity and running for office". Decibel. Red Flag Media. Retrieved January 21, 2015. 
  14. ^ Heaney, Gregory. "Retox – Biography". Allmusic. All Media Network. Retrieved January 21, 2015. 
  15. ^ Sutherland, Sam (September 9, 2011). "Interview: Retox". Exclaim!. Retrieved January 21, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Three One G Records". threeoneg.com. Retrieved 2017-09-19. 
  17. ^ "Three One G Records". threeoneg.com. Retrieved April 4, 2017. 
  18. ^ "Yeah Yeah Yeahs/Blood Brothers/the Locust Offshoot Head Wound City Reunite | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2017-05-02. 
  19. ^ "Yeah Yeah Yeahs/Blood Brothers/the Locust Offshoot Head Wound City Play Reunion Show | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2017-05-02. 
  20. ^ "Yeah Yeah Yeahs/Blood Brothers/the Locust Offshoot Head Wound City Announce EP Reissue | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2017-05-02. 
  21. ^ "Stream Head Wound City's New Album A New Wave Of Violence | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2017-05-02. 
  22. ^ "Head Wound City – "Scraper"". Stereogum. 2016-02-16. Retrieved 2017-05-02. 
  23. ^ "Head Wound City – "Born To Burn"". Stereogum. 2016-03-28. Retrieved 2017-05-02. 
  24. ^ "A New Wave of Violence by Head Wound City on Apple Music". iTunes. Retrieved 2017-05-02. 
  25. ^ "Head Wound City (Yeah Yeah Yeahs/Blood Brothers/ the Locust) Announce New Album, Share "Scraper" | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2017-05-02. 
  26. ^ "Raymond Pettibon. A New Wave of Violence. 1982 | MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 2017-05-02. 
  27. ^ a b admin (March 23, 2016). "LETHAL PREMIERE: Debut Performance by Planet B + Remix". Lethal Amounts. Retrieved January 29, 2017. 
  28. ^ "Three One G Records". threeoneg.com. Retrieved January 29, 2017. 
  29. ^ "The Supergroup of Super Humans: Dead Cross". New Noise Magazine. 2017-08-14. Retrieved 2017-11-15. 
  30. ^ "Meet Dead Cross, Dave Lombardo's New Hardcore Punk Band With Members of The Locust and Retox". Noisey. Retrieved 2017-04-24. 
  31. ^ "Hear Dead Cross Song 'We'll Sleep When They're Dead'". Loudwire. Retrieved 2017-04-24. 
  32. ^ "QRD interview with Justin Pearson of Three One G". QRD. January 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2011. 
  33. ^ Gnade, Adam. "Three One G Records". Hardcore Discography. Retrieved September 14, 2011. 
  34. ^ "How to Lose Friends and Irritate People Book". Amazon.com. Amazon Inc. Retrieved 11 December 2017. 
  35. ^ Ozzi, Dan (October 29, 2013). "The Locust's Justin Pearson Talks About His First Non-Jerry Springer Acting Gig". Noisey. Vice Media. Retrieved December 11, 2017. 
  36. ^ a b "Justin Pearson - IMDB". IMDB. Retrieved 11 December 2017. 
  37. ^ Schreurs, Jason (February 2, 2015). "Justin Pearson of The Locust/Retox talks San Diego food scene". www.riceandbreadmagazine.com. Archived from the original on February 6, 2015. Retrieved September 24, 2017. [...] And while I would’t really consider myself a vegan, because I do still use animal products, like secondhand leather, and I eat honey, for the most part I’ve been really focusing on non-GMO, and organic and locally grown and locally sourced food.[...] 
  38. ^ "The Locust". www.peta2.com. July 19, 2011. Archived from the original on September 24, 2017. Retrieved September 24, 2017. 
  39. ^ O'Connell, Justin (September 16, 2015). "Saving Gee Gee". Medium. Archived from the original on December 21, 2015. Retrieved September 24, 2017. 
  40. ^ "Justin Pearson's Instagram". San Diego, United States. February 19, 2016. Retrieved December 11, 2017. 
  41. ^ "Justin Pearson's Instagram". San Diego, United States. May 11, 2017. Retrieved December 11, 2017. 

Further reading[edit]

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