The Bird and the Bee — Greg Kurstin and Inara George — have a new covers album. (Courtesy Alexa Nikol Curran)

The Bird and the Bee tackle Van Halen in another eclectic tribute

Inara George, Greg Kurstin keep busy making new music

Los Angeles folk-rocker Inara George was jolted by a revelation coinciding with her July 4 birthday this year. She hadn’t noticed it before, but time had really flown for the mother of three with filmmaker Jake Kasdan. “My first album with Lode came out when I was 21, and I’m 45 now,” she says. “When I really started to think about that, I was like, ‘Whaaaat?! How did that happen?’” But the speed with which she’s been tackling post-Lode projects — including Merrick, The Living Sisters, four solo albums and countless collaborations — has come in handy. She’s able to keep up with Greg Kurstin, her mercurial partner in artier duo The Bird and the Bee, whose own songwriting and production sidework revolved around clients such as Adele and Liam Gallagher. Somehow, the duo found time to make an eighth album together, the straight-faced, post-ironic “Interpreting the Masters, Volume 2: A Tribute to Van Halen.”

How did you even manage to get an appointment with Kurstin, the busiest man in show business?

Oh, I know. I know. He’s on fire. But we have a schedule that we adhere to that goes away when he gets incredibly busy. The Bird and the Bee usually meets every Friday morning between 9 a.m. and noon. But the schedule varies, and sometimes months will go by and we won’t get together at all. But I know that for Greg, the band is something that he still loves to do, a place where he can just be as creative as possible.

You’re the daughter of the late, great Lowell George. But you secretly grew up on a diet of Van Halen?

I joke about it now. But when I first heard Van Halen, I was totally terrified and totally turned on simultaneously. It was a weird feeling. And there was definitely a sense of danger there, because they were definitely pushing the envelope. It was theatrical, musical, it had all kinds of elements, their show. Plus, their musicianship was just insane. And Greg’s interaction with them as a kid had been more on the ‘Dude, this band is dangerous!’ side. So while we bounced ideas around on this followup to Volume 1 (2010’s Hall and Oates tribute), once we hit on Van Halen, we both went, “Oh, yeah! This makes perfect sense!”

Given your day-a-week process, how long did it take?

It started four long years ago. And we put it out through our own label because we believe that nobody will work your records harder than you. And I heard that David Lee Roth has actually heard it and likes it.


The Bird and the Bee

Where: Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St., S.F.

When: 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30

Tickets: $18 to $20

Contact: (415) 861-2011,

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