The teenage band consisted of lead singer Jemina Pearl Abegg, the daughter of Christian artist/photographer Jimmy Abegg; guitarist Jonas Stein, the son of manager Burt Stein; John Eatherly (drums); and Nathan Vasquez (bass), the son of acclaimed latin jazz guitarist Rafael Vasquez. Founding member Jamin Orall quit the band to finish college and tour with his other band, Jeff, just before Be Your Own Pet’s 2006 American tour. Sixteen-year-old John Eatherly, an old friend of the band, took over behind the kit.
BYOP formed in 2003 in the basement of the Orrall home, which doubles as a home studio/rehearsal space for indie label Infinity Cat Recordings.
Their sound is basic, primal garage rock and are often compared to popular New York group Yeah Yeah Yeahs, partially for their style, featuring heavy rock guitars with abrasive vocals and erratic, angular rhythms, but more due to comparisons between Abegg and Yeah Yeah Yeahs front woman Karen O, both of whom are women with a dynamic, non-traditional stage presence.
Be Your Own Pet generated a massive amount of press following the release of their debut single “Damn Damn Leash” on Infinity Cat. The single was produced by Kings of Leon producer Angelo and Infinity Cat’s Robert Ellis Orrall, and mixed by Modest Mouse mix engineer Jaquire King. The press included an interview in Rolling Stone, appearances at the Glastonbury and Reading/Leeds festivals, as well as successful appearances at SXSW and slots supporting bands such as The Kills. The band also appeared on the Queen tribute album, Killer Queen: A Tribute to Queen, covering the classic “Bicycle Race”. The band released their eponymous album in the UK in March 2006, and in the US in June 2006.
On August 1, 2008, after cancelling a stint on Warped Tour and a tour with The Black Keys, the band announced on their website that after finishing a small tour of England, they would be breaking up. No reason was given for the decision.