The Bird and the Bee — the duo of singer Inara George and producer Greg Kurstin — have tapped Beck for a delightfully campy cover of Van Halen’s “Hot for Teacher.” The track will appear on the Bird and the Bee’s upcoming covers album, Interpreting the Masters: A Tribute to Van Halen, out August 8th via No Expectations/Release Me Records.
The Bird and the Bee’s version of “Hot for Teacher” cleverly flips the hair metal classic into a hot jazz tune, with Eddie Van Halen’s iconic guitar riff transformed into a rollicking organ rumble while George croons the tune as if she’s on stage at a smokey lounge. The duo also do away with David Lee Roth’s delightfully juvenile spoken word part, but in place of “I dropped my pencil!” it’s Beck playing a substitute teacher named Mr. Goodbody who comes to class with a very specific lesson plan: “We’ll be reviewing the text from Moby Dick, so please turn now to page… 69.”
Beck — who worked with Kurstin on his 2017 album Colors — said of the collaboration, “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. 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.”
The Bird and the Bee’s version of “Hot for Teacher” follows previously released covers of “Panama” and “Ain’t Talking ‘Bout Love.” The duo will also embark on a 15-date tour later this year, starting with a special show in Los Angeles on August 2nd that will feature Dave Grohl on drums and Justin Meldal-Johnsen on bass. George will then continue the tour with a backing band August 11th in St. Paul, Minnesota.