Yes—indie-pop outfit The Bird and The Bee are releasing a synth-driven Van Halen tribute album next month, and the band has released its third cut, a stupefying cover of “Hot For Teacher.”
“Hot For Teacher” trades the original song’s throttling percussion and electric guitar lead for rapid piano keying and a pulsing synth, and opens with spoken word by Beck, who announces to his theoretical classroom of two: “We’ll be reviewing the text from Moby Dick, so please turn now to page 69.”
Vocalist Inara George takes on David Lee Roth’s growl in the form of a soft and weightless falsetto as the song explodes into haywire jazz percussion, horns and buzzing organ tones, and Beck unmistakably concludes: “Tomorrow there will be an essay due on the dialectical shamanism of David Lee Roth. And there will be a pop quiz. Does anybody have any questions?” Yes! Many!
“The Bird and The Bee bring unforeseen angles to the Van Halen song book. Makes sense because, like Eddie Van Halen, Greg is a kind of musical wunderkind in his own right and Inara’s vocals bring a cool counterpart to Diamond Dave’s pyrotechnics,” says Beck in a statement. “Making a cameo on their version of ‘Hot for Teacher’ felt like an extension of the kind of riffing and fooling around we do in the studio on a normal session.”
“Hot For Teacher” follows two previously released cuts from the band’s forthcoming Interpreting the Masters Volume 2: A Tribute to Van Halen collection, an 11-track tribute record that reinterprets some of the wilder and more infamous cuts from David Lee Roth-era Van Halen, set for release on Aug. 2.
A Tribute to Van Halen is the second volume in the band’s Interpreting the Masters tribute series, the first being 2010’s A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates.
The Bird and The Bee, aka the duo of vocalist Inara George and Grammy Award-winning multi-instrumentalist Greg Kurstin, will embark on a 15-date North American tour in August, including a one-off performance in Los Angeles featuring Dave Grohl on drums, and you can check out a full run of the upcoming tour dates below.
Interpreting the Masters Volume 2: A Tribute to Van Halen will arrive Aug. 2 via No Expectations/Release Me Records, and you can preorder the album here. Check out the new single, the band’s 2015 Daytrotter Session, and their album artwork, tracklist and tour dates below.
A Tribute to Van Halen Tracklist:
01. Runnin’ With The Devil
03. Hot For Teacher
06. Ain’t Talking ‘Bout Love
07. Jamie’s Cryin’
09. You Really Got Me
10. Diamond Dave
11. Everybody Wants Some (Vinyl Only)
A Tribute to Van Halen Artwork:
The Bird and The Bee Tour Dates:
02 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ John Anson Ford Theater #
11 – St. Paul, Minn. @ Turf Club *
12 – Chicago, Ill. @ Sleeping Village *
13 – Cleveland, Ohio @ Beachland Tavern *
14 – Pittsburgh, Pa. @ Mr. Smalls Theatre *
15 – Providence, R.I. @ Columbus Theatre *
16 – Philadelphia, Pa. @ World Cafe Live *
17 – Brooklyn, N.Y. @ Elsewhere *
20 – Carrboro, N.C. @ Cat’s Cradle *
21 – Atlanta, Ga. @ Aisle 5 *
22 – Birmingham, Ala. @ The Saturn *
24 – Dallas, Texas @ Trees *
25 – Austin, Texas @ Parish *
28 – Phoenix, Ariz. @ Crescent Ballroom *
29 – San Diego, Calif. @ Casbah *
30 – San Francisco, Calif. @ Rickshaw Stop * ^
(# – with Dave Grohl on drums and Justin Meldal-Johnsen on bass)
(* – with support from Samantha Sidley and Alex Lilly)
(^ – with additional support from DJ Aaron Exelson)