Why Jemina Pearl hates people

Jemina Pearl’s Nashville, Tenn., punk combo, Be Your Own Pet, imploded after only two promising albums, but the ferocious 22-year-old didn’t stay silent for long. She’s back with a brilliant Ronettes-jangly solo album, “Break It Up,” on Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace label. It features a duet with Iggy Pop on “I Hate People.”

So you just moved to New York City from Nashville by bus? Yeah. There are these buses that run out of Chinatown in Nashville and it was only $40 for a one-way ticket. It was a red-eye drive and I left around eight o’clock in the evening and woke up in New York in the morning. But we had to stop at McDonald’s and Chinese restaurants and weird gas stations along the way to pick up more people. It was really strange. They even stopped in a field to let somebody on.

Why relocate? I’d always loved New York since I first visited there as a child. And Be Your Own Pet had briefly talked about relocating there, so once the band broke up, there was no reason for me to be in Nashville. I kind of wanted to break away. And my parents let me tour the world when I was 17, so they were pretty confident in my ability to take care of myself.

Why did Be Your Own Pet disband? There were a lot of reasons. I think mostly it had run its course, in some ways. We all wanted to do different things, so it felt like it was better to just stop while we were ahead, so to speak, rather than drag it out and be miserable.

So you move to NYC and write a song called “I Hate People”? Yeah. I’ve felt that way since I was a little kid. I do hate people. When you’re constantly surrounded by idiots, it’s hard not to.

How did you wrangle Iggy? It is unbelievable to me, still today, that Iggy Pop is singing on one of my songs. I feel so honored and lucky. But Thurston has a relationship with Iggy, so he sent him a rough demo of the song and it turned out that Iggy really liked it and wanted to sing on it. We didn’t get to sing in the same studio, which was sad. But I was also relieved because I didn’t have to sing in front of my hero. I was spared that anxiety!

 

IF YOU GO

Jemina Pearl

Opening for Islands

Where: Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., S.F.
When: 9 p.m. Friday
Tickets: $14
Contact: www.bottomofthehill.com/tickets.html

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