The myth of the “cool baby-sitter…” You know, the one that lets you stay up late to watch horror movies, teaches you about punk rock and the underground DIY scene, tells you stories of drinking beer at weird house parties… was it ever real?
Well, for a few years in the mid 00’s, a group of Nashville teenagers who called themselves Be Your Own Pet were the ULTIMATE cool babysitter.
Be Your Own Pet – singer Jemina Pearl, guitarist Jonas Stein, bassist Nathan Vasquez, and drummers Jamin Orral / John Eatherly – had a profound influence on bands of their day and beyond. Pearl’s shadow looms especially large, with her ferocious vocal delivery and wild onstage antics.
“We were young and fearless,” Stein recalls. “I hardly knew how to play the guitar. After seeing some really great underground touring punk bands and playing live shows at pizza joints and house parties, we had the whole ‘we can do that, too’ attitude. Our youthful confidence was unmatched at the ripe age of 15. We never knew what was to come next.”
Vasquez shares similar recollections of the band’s formation – “Meeting at school (Nashville School for the Arts) and joining the band was kind of a dream come true. What came after that far exceeded anything I had in mind though.”
Be Your Own Pet’s popularity was immediate and intense – the band nearly broke the “hype machine.” They were quickly signing deals with tastemaker labels like XL & Ecstatic Peace, gracing the cover of major magazines, giving late-night TV performances, jet-setting to festivals around the world, and opening for everyone from the Arctic Monkeys to Sonic Youth… all while being too young to drink.
But the fact that they were teenagers was besides the point. This wasn’t kitsch or cute… this was THE REAL DEAL. That’s what was so special about the band, and what legions of kids (as evident in the oh-so-many stage invasions they incited) and older (possibly jaded) listeners connected to.
Their two studio albums – 2006’s self-titled debut and its 2008 follow-up Get Awkward – garnered significant critical praise, but also left little time for dealing with the pressures that came along with their newfound fame.
“Things happened very fast, probably too fast,” Pearl says. “We played our first show at a pizza place that had all ages shows in the basement, and then less than a year later we were being flown across the country to be courted by labels. It was quite literally a whirlwind and incredibly overwhelming.”
Also – perhaps to their detriment – the band really didn’t give a fuck what other people expected of them. No, Be Your Own Pet did it their way… the Sid Vicious version, not Sinatra.
When their U.S. major label announced they were removing several tracks from the band’s 2nd album due to the lyrical content being “too violent,” while also pressuring them to perform at the ill-fitting Warped Tour, and more… the band was pushed past its limits. Taken together, these two events became the eventual nails in the band’s figurative coffin.
“I was heartbroken when they cut three songs off the album,” Pearl remembers. “The label was worried we would be a bad influence on teenagers… I think being forced to do the Warped Tour really broke us, and all of that was the beginning of the end.”
“We were so young,” Stein says. “Looking back on the whole experience, part of me feels bad for the young kids we were, playing an adult game. The other part of me thinks ‘damn, that was an amazing experience and we really tore some shit up!’ We had a good run at it but when it was time to call it quits, we called it.”
So after all this time, why come back now after nearly 14 years?
“I’ve had a Be Your Own Pet sized hole in my heart for the past 14 years,” Pearl says, with a fond nod toward her youthful misadventures. “We shared something life-changing together, so to get to go back and do it again as adults feels like coming home.”
Or as she once screamed – “When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth!”
Vinyl Me Please
“Look, I’ve already waxed poetic in the e-pages of this particular publication about what be your own PET reuniting last year meant to me. To see them a year later as one of the biggest and busiest bands at SXSW warmed the cockles of my jaded 6th-time-at-SXSW heart. The nighttime set I saw at Mohawk was raw power, delivering favorites like “Adventure” and future hearing loss I’ll be billing to my HMO. They played a Damned cover and a couple new tunes; bands don’t reunite to play the hits at SXSW. A new album must be coming soon, and my internal 21-year-old and I are extremely pumped. “
“Mid 2000s Nashville garage rock band be your own PET got back together for the first time in 14 years in 2022 after being asked by Jack White to open part of his tour. Their shows have still been rare, but they’re gearing up for a busy SXSW, including one of the Third Man shows and the free BrooklynVegan day party at Mohawk on Wednesday (3/15). The band initially formed in 2004 when they were still teenagers, and they were overnight sensations right from the start with their single “Damn Damn Leash.” They caught the attention of Thurston Moore, who signed them to his Ecstatic Peace label and had them open for Sonic Youth. They broke up in 2008–after which singer Jemina Pearl went solo and other members formed JEFF the Brotherhood, Turbo Fruits, Public Access TV, and more–but they left an impact that’s continued to reach younger fans and influence new bands”
“For sophomore Get Awkward, BYOP pivoted to Sixties girl-group sophistication and leather-jacket-clad art rock riffs. Even slightly more polished, their appetite for the unruly remained. Throughout their four-year run, the singer and bandmates – guitarist Jonas Stein, bassist Nathan Vasquez, and drummer John Eatherly – garnered critical acclaim from almost every major music publication, before even turning 21″
“In October, SXSW 2023 (taking place this year from March 13-18) announced its initial wave of performers. Now, the Austin fest’s music portion has shared another giant round of performers (301, to be exact), including …. the recently reunited Be Your Own Pet, OSEES…”
SXSW has announced 301 more artists for its 2023 edition which goes down March 13-18, 2023 in Austin. Additions include The Zombies, OSEES, Be Your Own Pet, Catbite, The Lemon Twigs, Warmduscher, Palehound, Party Dozen, We Are The Union, JER, Kill Lincoln, Cheekface, Enumclaw, Adwaith, Obongjayar, Aoife Nessa Frances, Thor & Friends, Chickasaw Mudd Puppies, Death Valley Girls, Dream Wife, Fake Fruit, Gay Meat, July Talk , Girl Scout, Jessica Winter, Patrick Holland, THICK, Bella White, Garrett T. Capps & NASA Country, Mariel Buckley, Pendant, Snooper, and more.
Be Your Own Pet Reunite for First Shows in 14 Years. Jemina Pearl Talks How It Happened and What’s Next.
‘When Jack White announced the many artists opening for him on his forthcoming tour today, the long list of supporting acts included one particularly exciting name: a reunited Be Your Own Pet. The Jemina Pearl–fronted Nashville punk band, notorious for putting on wild shows in the 2000s, broke up in 2008 after releasing two albums: a self-titled LP in 2006 and its 2008 follow-up Get Awkward. The band will perform on April 38 and 30 at his shows in Atlanta and their hometown of Nashville, respectively.’
Consequence of Sound
‘Big news for 2000s garage rock fans: Nashville quartet Be Your Own Pet are getting back together, and, fittingly, they’re reuniting to open for Jack White.’
‘Nashville indie-sleaze staples Be Your Own Pet only ever released two albums — 2006’s self-titled and 2008’s Get Awkward. After breaking up in 2008, band members Jemima Pearl, Jamin Orrall, Jonas Stein, and John Eatherly went on to various other projects (Jamin Orrall is one half of JEFF The Brotherhood, for example). Now, however, Be Your Own Pet are reuniting for a pair of shows opening for Jack White’s Supply Chain Issues Tour, their first performances together in 14 years.’
‘Be Your Own Pet have reformed for their first live performances since breaking up in 2008. The influential indie-garage band have reunited for North American support slots on Jack White’s freshly announced ‘The Supply Chain Issue Tour’.
‘Jack White’s Supply Chain Issues world tour will feature a dozen special guest openers across the scheduled 59-date international trek. Among them are punk outfit Be Your Own Pet, who will reunite after 14 years to perform two opening gigs.
Be Your Own Pet will take the stage for the first time since splitting in 2008, first in Atlanta for White’s third night at the Tabernacle on April 28 and again on April 30 to perform a hometown show in Nashville at the Ascend Amphitheater.’
‘After laying dormant for 14 years, Be Your Own Pet will reunite to open [for Jack White’s massive Supply Chain Issues Tour] on April 28 at The Tabernacle and April 30 at Ascend Amphitheater.’
‘Be Your Own Pet have announced they’re reforming.
The 00s garage indie rockers formed at the age of 15, releasing two albums – 2006’s ‘Be Your Own Pet’ and 2008’s ‘Get Awkward’ – before splitting.
Now, they’re back together to support Jack White on two dates of his upcoming US tour – The Tabernacle in Atlanta on April 28th and at Ascend Amphitheater in Nashville on April 30th.’