Nashville-based punk outfit Be Your Own Pet — Jemina Pearl Abegg (vocals), Jonas Stein (guitar), Nathan Vasquez (bass) and John Eatherly (drums) — originally formed back in 2004 while its original lineup — Pearl, Stein, Vasquez, Eatherly and JEFF The Brotherhood‘s Jamin Orrall — were all attending Nashville School of the Arts. The then-quintet honed a spastic-yet poppy sound playing house shows and gigs at all-ages venues like Guido’s Pizza and Bongo Java.
The Nashville-based quintet played attention-getting sets at 2004’s CMJ and 2005’s SXSW, which helped to create buzz for them Stateside. Around the same time, their first single “Damn Damn Leash,” which was released as a CD-R, caught the attention of BBC Radio One‘s Zane Lowe, whose support helped the band gain an early UK following.
Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the members of Be Your Own Pet released a string of singles and EPs release through Infinity Cat Recordings, which they supported by playing sets across the global festival circuit, including stops at Coachella, Bonnaroo, Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds — and opening slots for Arctic Monkeys, Sonic Youth, Kings of Leon and others.
Their early material received critical acclaim from Pitchfork, Rolling Stone and NME, who named the band’s Jemina Pearl in the Top 10 of their annual Cool List and NYLON, who put the band on the cover of their summer 2006 issue.
The band signed to XL Recordings in the UK and Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace Universal Records imprint in North America. Both labels released the band’s first two albums, 2006’s self-titled full-length debut and 2008’s Get Awkward.
After finishing a small UK tour to support Get Awkward, the band announced their breakup — and they went off on their own separate ways creatively and professionally: Stein and Eatherly went on to play in Turbo Fruits, along with their friend Max Peebles. Vasquez went on to play in Deluxin’. Pearl has played in a number of different projects including Cheap Time and Rare Form, and has released material as a solo artist.
After 15 years apart, the band recently made a triumphant return to both the stage and airwaves: They played SXSW and opened for Jack White ahead of the release of their critically acclaimed single “Hand Grenade,” which Rolling Stone dubbed “incendiary” and The Fader dubbed “hard to ignore.”
BYOP’s long-awaited and highly-anticipated third album and first in 15 years, Mommy is slated for an August 25, 2023 release through Third Man Records. The album was written and recorded by the band’s three founding members Pearl Abegg, Stein and Vasquez along with longtime drummer Eatherly. “For better or worse, we all were slapped in the face that it wasn’t as easy on our own,” the band’s Stein says of their hiatus. “We were all moderately successful, but nobody found that Be Your Own Pet chemistry.”
The bond returned on the very first day that the band stepped back into rehearsal, which is also when they began writing the material that would comprise Mommy. In the past, Pearl had previously fitted lyrics into the others’ songs, but with the new album, she brought her own ideas into the writing room. “Mommy is the bitch in charge, the one in control,” Pearl says. “It’s a reclamation of myself.” The album also reportedly sees the band bolstering the garage punk ferocity they’ve long been known for with matured song, inspired musicianship and a fervent desire to simultaneously claim their space and define their future.
Along with the album announcement, the punk rock outfit share Mommy‘s lead single, “Worship The Whip,” an irony-drenched, BDSM leather-clad dominatrix-meets-breakneck glam punk-like take on DEVO‘s “Whip It” built around rousingly anthemic hooks, enormous power chords and Pearl’s defiant delivery. “‘Worship The Whip’ is about the right wing authoritarian personality,” explains Pearl. “Aggressive and domineering to people who don’t think like them, while at heart being a submissive to the authority figures who use and abuse them.”
Directed by Jordan William and shot by Ben Chappell, the accompanying video for “Worship The Whip” features the band’s Pearl in latex being both the dominatrix and the submissive.