CD Review: Teachers Pet S/T

Akron, Ohio was once home to the band Teachers Pet. Four musicians formed the quartet in 1977 that wanted to make loud, crass punk music. But after recording one single of “Hooked On You,” the original foursome was no more and the founding members of Ron and Kal Mullens went looking for a new rhythm section. The band solidified with the four members of Ron “Pete Sake” Mullens on keyboards and vocals, Kal “Rex Lax” Mullens on guitar and vocals, Bill “Billy Whip” Tomazic on drums and Gary “Jack Hammer” Elliot on bass. This quartet re-recorded “Hooked On You” and many other songs to release as an album. However, by the end of 1980, the band had had their day and went their separate ways.

This short-lived band made an impact in the Northern Ohio area with their music and concert performances. And in 2008, the music of this group was assembled for release on the self-titled album on Smog Veil Records.

The CD from Teachers Pet contains twelve studio tracks. Contained within these tracks are nine original songs and three cover tracks. The original songs by Teachers Pet were very crass and opinionated like other bands from that time in the seventies.

The combination of both originals and covers works well to give a good indication of what the band was like onstage. While performing in concert, the band’s set was split between covers and originals.

The song “Can’t Do That” was written as a response to people making comments to the band like “Change your clothes”, “Change your style,” “Change your sound,” or you won’t make it in the music business. This song was like a middle finger response to those statements. The single “Hooked On You” was about taking a second look at someone and changing your mind about him or her. Other song like “Teenage Suicide” and “Cincinnati Stomp” were about releasing your anger, sometimes in not-so-positive ways.

The studio tracks by Teachers Pet also include three cover songs. The best known of these songs is probably the song “I’m Henry VIII, I Am” by Herman’s Hermits.

The twelve studio tracks are a great way to bring back the legend of this band. But as was said before, the band was also known for their live performances. To prove how good they were live, the self-titled release from Teachers Pet also includes three cover songs recorded while the band was in concert at The Robin Hood in Kent, OH back at the time when the back was together. Of these three tracks, the best known is “Summertime Blues,” the song written and made famous by Eddie Cochran.

Sometimes, when the same group combines live tracks on one release with live songs, you could really tell that the band was stronger either in studio or on stage. However, this compilation of Teachers Pet shows how strong a band they really were: The live tracks and the studio tracks were performed with the same amount of energy.

In order to present a definitive look at this band, Smog Veil Records also included a CD-Rom section to the CD where you can check out five songs by the group as you get to see the band perform five songs in concert. The five songs performed in concert are: “Fast Food Baby,” Hooked On You,” “Meet Me At the Hot Dog Stand,” “Cincinnati Stomp,” and “Main And Market”. It is rare that a package will present a band in studio, live in concert, and in videos of the band on stage; it is also very unusual for all three of these formats to exist after 25 years to be compiled together. Just for that, the self-titled release of Teachers Pet on Smog Veil Records is something to check out.

Although the popularity of Teachers Pet was basically restricted to the Northern Ohio area, the band was still as talented as any band at that time. And while they were short-lived, it is great to be able to discover a band that even Rolling Stone once said never got the hit they deserved.

You can find Teachers Pet on the web at www.teacherspet.ws. They can also be found on MySpace at www.myspace.com/theteacherpetband. The record label can be found at www.smogveil.com.