Beck and The Bird and the Bee have got it bad, so bad. The "Saw Lightning" legend and the duo featuring frequent Beck producer Greg Kurstin and singer Inara George have teamed up for a wild cover of Van Halen's iconic 1984 ode to instructor lust, "Hot For Teacher." Giving the Dave Lee Roth-era track a jazzy, synthpop swirl, the song will feature on the pair's upcoming Interpreting the Masters Volume 2: A Tribute to Van Halen (Aug. 2).
Opening with a classical piano flourish, which segues into the song's iconic double-time drum kick, the guitar-less track picks up steam when Beck appears in a spoken word intro as substitute teacher "Mr. Goodbody," who is full of not-safe-for-school innuendo. “We’ll be reviewing the text from Moby Dick, so please turn now to page 69," he deadpans before George digs into the song's lustful lyrics with lounge singer flair. Beck comes back around mid-song to hand out a detention to George and then one more time to lecture about the "dialectical shamanism" of Roth after a swinging piano break.
Produced by Kurstin, who has won multiple Grammys for his work with Adele and others, the new album features guest musicians including Meldal-Johnsen (known for his work with Beck and Nine Inch Nails) and drummers Joey Waronker (R.E.M., Elliott Smith) and Omar Hakim (David Bowie, Miles Davis). "Teacher" is the third track previewed from the album, following the pair's reworking of 1978's VH gem "Ain't Talking 'Bout Love" and their piano-fied "Panama."
“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,” said 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.”
The Van Halen cover album follows the duo’s 2015 album Recreational Love and their 2010 covers LP Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates. Pre-order A Tribute to Van Halenhere.
Listen to "Hot For Teacher" below.
Interpreting the Masters Volume 2: A Tribute to Van Halen track list.