Today, The Bird and The Bee proclaimed their love for another legendary act announcing the release of Interpreting the Masters Volume 2: A Tribute to Van Halen, a collection of covers of some of the most massive and wild songs from David Lee Roth-era Van Halen. The beloved indie-pop duo of vocalist Inara George and multi-instrumentalist Greg Kurstin also released a delightful new-wavey fever dream rework of “Ain’t Talking ‘Bout Love,” from Van Halen’s 1987 self-titled debut. This is the second track available off the album, having recently released “Panama“, a song where Kurstin’s lush piano work replaces the revved-up guitar riffs of the original. The album is out August 2nd on No Expectations / Release Me Records.
The Bird and The Bee will embark on a 15 – date North American tour kicking off in Los Angeles’ John Anson Ford Amphitheater. This special one-off performance will feature help from Dave Grohl on drums and Justin Meldel-Johnsen on bass. A full run of tour dates detailed below.
Produced by Kurstin-a seven-time Grammy Award-winner who’s recently worked with Kendrick Lamar, Paul McCartney, and Adele-Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 2 alchemizes the outrageous dazzle of Diamond Dave into something delicate and dreamy and softly shimmering. And while it features guest musicians like bassist Justin 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), George and Kurstin made most of the album on their own, infusing even the most over-the-top tracks with a gentle intimacy. With the release of Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 2, The Bird and The Bee hope to spread that near-lifelong Van Halen love to a whole new crop of listeners. Not only evidence of their ingenuity as song interpreters, The Bird and The Bee’s nuanced reading of Van Halen has much to do with their deep emotional connection to the band.
The Bird and The Bee’s love for Van Halen will not be news to their fans. Their 2009 release Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future included an original song called “Diamond Dave” which delves into a school girl crush on David Lee Roth, and a re-recorded piano/vocal version appears on the forthcoming album. The record also includes a super meta moment of a band covering a band’s cover by including “You Really Got Me”, TheKinks song often performed live by Van Halen.
“When I want to listen to hard-rock music there’s still nothing that hits me like they do,” Kurstin notes. “Every time I hear them it takes me back to when I first found them on the radio, and it felt so dangerous to me-like they were from a whole other world. It would be so great if people who would never usually listen to Van Halen heard this record, and then ended falling in love with them too.” “I remember being 10-years-old and seeing their videos and feeling both excited and totally terrified-I responded to them in this very visceral way,” adds George.