Janis first stated in an interview, I'm not sure which one, "I'm tired of being Janis, call me Pearl." This was after Columbia fired Big Brother, then told her she had to form a new band and keep touring as she was under contract. So Kozmic Blues was created. They toured an entire year which was far too much pressure, and the band (which was 8) was actually 12 in that year with members not lasting and being replaced. Janis had managed to keep Sam from BBHC, but had fought with him and fired him about nine months into the band.
As seen in a lot of documentaries with women musicians stating Janis paved they way, well, this really was the case. In the 60's you either were a solo female artist like Melanie, or part of a band, as Grace, Janis, and so many others were. They formed as a band with no one being the "Big Name". Prior to this, right up from the 40's to the 60's, female singers were considered to be "a chanteuse" everyone from Billie Holiday & Ella, through Connie Francis, Annette, Dusty Springfield, all played to a popular band as a guest, the earlier with Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington Orchestra, etc, right up to Mitch Miller Ferand & Treacher, etc in the 60's.
Janis literally WAS the first woman to "Create a band she would Front." The only other closest to this was the "Ike & Tina Turner Revue" and of course, Ike was the band creator there.
This period really was Janis' undoing. She drank more, did more drugs, acted out & got arrested. It was literally too much pressure. At this point she became a split personality. Not the psychological way a doctor would analyze it, but more in a way to protect the person she was. She created a tougher than nails front image to try to protect what really was the confusion, pressure, and guilt of leaving her first band behind, and with Kozmic Blues, the whole band gave up within a year.
Still under contract, with no band, she recorded with Paul Butterfield, singing his song "One Night Stand." Although it was expected to be released as a single, Janis felt the song really wasn't her, nor the way she felt, seeing others as no more than a one night stand and asked it not be released.
It was around this time in an interview, that she first vented about all the pressure, and simply ending the interview stating "I'm tired of being Janis, call me Pearl."
As she started once again to form a new band, being booked previously to perform on the Festival Express that was to run across Canada, she started meeting Canadian musicians, and hit it off well with them, creating the Full Tilt Boogie Band. This was the band she toured Canada with and was both touring the US, and working on the new LP when she died.
But, all through the tours with FTBB, she always told the audience her nickname was Pearl. When she died, Columbia, after deciding only two songs were good enough for an album, scrapped the idea of releasing another. The FTBB worked on with the recordings, having Columbia to agree to more of the songs, but still insisting it be 10 songs, as the two previous ones had only been 8 & 7.
Finally adding the song, Janis died the night she was to sing "Buried Alive In The Blues", and something recorded by her when she did it for a few friends for a laugh Mercedes Benz (she had sung this a few times live in shows) the album was finally accepted. As she was always insisting people call her Pearl, the album got that name. But the nickname definitely came from her. Here's a clip
of her in Hawaii, about 3 months before she died.
I believe it was Feb/March 1970 if I'm not mistaken.
-- Len (listen to the clip