When the four members of Be Your Own Pet stepped into a practice space in December, 2021, it had been more than a decade since they’d all been in the same room. The quartet had last been together in London’s Heathrow airport, having just played to sold out rooms across the UK. Their trajectory had been fast, and the quartet had been living in a pressure cooker—both to put on wild performances every night and to keep up with the wild party lifestyle expected to come with their records. “You give a bunch of teenagers some money and tell them to go on tour forever? It’s probably not the healthiest thing,” guitarist Jonas Stein says. “I just felt like I could not maintain a healthy emotional status and craved stability.” Vocalist Jemina Pearl was facing her own layer of stress as the focal point of constant judgment and attention singing at the center of the stage—not to mention as the only woman in the group. “We were all under 21 and were partying our asses off all the time,” she says. “And I think people had this expectation that the Be Your Own Pet show was gonna be crazy. We needed to be that spectacle every single night, and it was a lot for us to take on.”
After this white-hot run of a few years as teenagers, the four Nashville musicians moved on, carving their own unique paths. Stein led the way for four studio albums with Turbo Fruits and spun disco records as a DJ, bassist Nathan Vasquez took his own turn at the front with Deluxin’, drummer John Eatherly undertook a variety of projects including Public Access T.V., and Pearl released a Thurston Moore- and Iggy Pop-featuring solo album before stepping away to start a family.
Years later, the idea of a reunion began creeping back, and a chance encounter with Jack White led to a quickly planned reunion show opening for him. “We started writing songs the first time we practiced,” vocalist Jemina Pearl grins, the wild streak that inspired and amazed countless audiences burning as bright as ever. “Immediately.” And just as fast as they started, Be Your Own Pet realized they weren’t content with jamming out the old hits, and the daydream of a single Nashville performance soon morphed into a full run of gigs opening for Jack White. Along the way, Pearl found herself digging back into the music that inspired the origins of Be Your Own Pet (X-Ray Spex, The Adverts, The Damned, Devo), stuff she’d tucked away for a decade. “Be Your Own Pet was my identity for so long, and then when we broke up I went through this period where I didn’t know who I was anymore,” Pearl says. “I often felt so powerless back then. Not in control of my own mind or the chaos around me. That’s why it’s been so amazing to get a second chance with this band, as adults and on our own terms.”
The group have grown a lot since their first run, both personally and musically, but have managed to reshape their razor-edged swagger through the turmoil. “It got kind of dark towards the end. My own challenges with mental health probably affected everybody in the band. I was undiagnosed bipolar 1 at the time. It felt like we were just on this runaway train,” Pearl says. “This tirm around, we wanted to come back together in this new, more evolved place, to connect the threads between our old records and Mommy, while not worrying about what other people’s expectations might be.”
Be Your Own Pet are looking forward to sharing this new version of themselves with fans who are thrilled to reconnect and new fans who may not have been old enough to remember their first run. But the band are also longing to reconnect with each other and a part of themselves. The quartet are ready to step back out into the wild, vicious Be Your Own Pet world and rough things up again – but this time, on their own terms.
Publicity Contacts: Lisa Gottheil & Jaclyn Ulman