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Preview: The 1980 Debut Album by Pearl Harbor & the Explosions Being Expanded and Reissued

On April 12, 2019, Blixa Sounds will release 1980’s eponymous debut by New Wave band Pearl Harbor & the Explosions, in an extended, remastered form for both new and seasoned fans to enjoy. The record, long out of print, will be presented in its full nine-track entirety.

Additionally, an overview of rare material — bonus songs from their original independent single, a non-LP B-side, a ’79 radio spot, and several live selections — is included to round out the musical story.
The entire collection is accompanied by a booklet filled with comprehensive liner notes, archival photos and other memorabilia — all of which will be of interest to both fans of the group specifically as well as those exploring the early days of the New Wave movement.

The year was 1973, and a rebellious teenager growing up in Germany informed her parents she was going to move to San Francisco to be a rock star. That girl, 17-year-old Pearl Gates, set intrepidly off with not much more than a plane ticket and a little pocket money to make her mark in one of most exciting musical scenes of the decade.

Gates did not waste her chance. Despite her youth and inexperience with the city, she quickly established herself by becoming enmeshed in the city’s theatrical rock and performance art movements, most notably with the Tubes’ pioneering live show and with counterparts Leila & the Snakes.

As part of the latter, she met the Stench Brothers (a.k.a. bassist and drummer Hilary and John Hanes) and guitarist Peter Bilt, changed her name to “Pearl Harbor,” and with their collaboration eventually started her own band. That group was dubbed Pearl Harbor & the Explosions — a deliberately provocative name choice in an era that hadn’t yet forgotten the ’40s.

Although showing promise with debut single “Drivin’” and a slickly cohesive full-length album to follow — which not only helped pioneer the burgeoning New Wave sound of the early ’80s, but also brilliantly incorporated shades of the members’ individual interests such as jazz and rockabilly — the group wasn’t destined for longevity. Leaving the remaining members to continue under the banner Peter Bilt & the Expressions, Gates relocated to England shortly after the album’s debut, became Pearl Harbour, married The Clash’s Paul Simonon, and went on to a solo career delving into the punk and aforementioned rockabilly scenes.

While the band’s story is largely unknown to all but serious aficionados of the early New Wave movement, the time has come for a light to shine on the group’s slight but creatively significant output.


1. Drivin’
2. You Got It (Release It)
3. Don’t Come Back
4. Keep Going
5. Shut Up and Dance
6. The Big One
7. So Much for Love
8. Get A Grip on Yourself
9. Up and Over
10. Busy Little B Side (Non-LP B-Side)
11. Drivin’ (Original 415 Single Version)
12. Release It (Original 415 Single Version)
13. Let’s Eat (Live 1979)
14. Black Slacks (Live 1979)
15.I Can Feel the Fire (Live 1979)
16. 1979 Radio Spot