A Chat With Tenacious D...
Described in some circles as the heavy metal Simon & Garfunkel, Jack Black and Kyle Gass have been performing as Tenacious D for over ten years. Their eponymous debut album gained favourable attention for its successful fusion of genuinely crafted rock and hilariously offensive lyrics and the band are about to star in their feature film debut, TENACIOUS D: THE PICK OF DESTINY. FilmExposed caught up with them to talk not only about the making of the film, but also their forthcoming UK tour…
Why did the film take so long to come about?
Kyle: We thought we could get away with not writing it.
Jack: We hired some top writers, some top thundersquad bringers, but they squirted out something that was sub-par. It was Tenacious D saves the city of Atlantis and the devil was there and there was a hot ninja girl that we were fighting over…
Kyle: Actually, that sounds pretty good.
Jack: Maybe for the sequel. But at the time we read it and said ‘God, this isn’t really our sense of humour.’ It took so long to realise: wait a second – we just have to tell the true tale of The D. We’ll start before there was a D, you’ll see us form the band and then you’ll see us go on our first epic journey – the quest to become the greatest band on earth. Once we had that, everything else sort of fell into place.
How important is it to appeal not only to fans of the band, but people who are coming to you fresh?
Kyle: It was actually a pretty big deal, because we were going ‘Well, should we just start in the middle of this thing, because the fans are gonna know what’s going on.’ But I think if just the fans came, I think we’d probably make about $10,000 on it. We had to broaden it out, that’s why we gave the origin story.
Jack: That’s not true, dude. We would make over a million dollars.
Jack: But that’s not enough. That’s a big flop.
How does your writing process work? Is there a lot of improv and bouncing ideas back and forth?
Jack: Well, me and Kyle will fight a lot, about little details. And sometimes I think he’s fighting me just because he wants to win something.
Kyle: Have you ever tried to have an orgasm without friction? It won’t work.
Jack: Exactly. All the great masterworks, if you look back, there’s probably a lot of friction that led to it. All of those Shakespeare plays, he probably had to fight his… silent partner.
Jack: Yeah, Larry…
You’re both members of the so-called ‘Frat Pack’ with Will Ferell, Owen Wilson and so on. How did it come about?
Jack [to Kyle]: Are you in the Frat Pack? How did you get in?
Jack: It originated when Ben Stiller called all the top comedians at the time to the headquarters he has inside the Hollywood sign. Most people don’t know about it. Tim Robbins works the door and we all have special Frat Pack comedy helicopters that come out of the ‘O’.
Kyle: Man, I’d love to see that…
Jack: Yeah, we all talk about what our plan is to dominate the world of comedy. “Will, you take the new Christmas movie. Jack, you go rock. Ben, be a nebbishy jew with anxiety issues. Go! Go!”
You’re currently touring the UK. What can fans expect from the gigs?
Jack: In the past we’ve gone on tour, just me and Kyle with no production whatsoever, just to hoard all the money possible. We’d just plug into a toaster oven… This time, we’re really going all out. We’re actually losing money on the tour, because we want to give back to the fans.
Kyle: We’re going to build our own instruments.
Jack: It’s kind of theatrical. It starts off in Kyle’s apartment, and then it ends up in hell. We’ve recreated the entire landscape of hell.
Kyle: We pick up a band in hell. We have our choice of any musicians… We were able to get Colonel Sanders on drums.
And can we expect to see protestors outside, given the explicit nature of your lyrics?
Kyle: I remember when we were playing at the Brixton Academy we actually hired a priest to go out and complain.
Jack: Yeah! We want the protests! You know you’ve made it when you can get a priest out there and they never came, so we hired an actor and he got attacked by our fans. He was too good!