Tenacious D Interview

Move over, Martin Bashir and Michael Jackson... We were granted the rare honour of a glimpse inside the bizarre world of the self-proclaimed 'Greatest Band in History': Tenacious D, aka Jack Black and Kyle Gass. Some readers' brains may implode...

[r-zone1]They’re fat, they’re a little bit round, they’re worth more than several hundred million pound thanks to being signed to Sony Records (not that they’ll see it or ever need it), and they enjoy nothing more than singing you sweet little melodies with lyrics taken from their favourite book ‘Advanced Karma Sutra – killer moves for the modern male fantasy fucking machine’.

Tenacious D are what they’re called.  Not ‘two famous people with nothing better to do between films’ and they believe that swearing is both big and clever.  Who are we to argue?

Virtual Festivals: I’ll start you off with an easy one. What’s the official story on what the ‘D’ stands for?

Jack Black:  It stands for ‘Defence’, as in the NBA, the National Basketball Association.  It’s Tenacious-Defence.  But I’m sure people can play tenacious defence in rugby or cricket or any of your um, local sports. Yeah, defence my friend. It’s the key….to winning.

The’ Wonderboy’ video was done medieval style, ‘Tribute’ featured Satan, so what was the thinking behind making ‘Fuck Her Gently’ into a cartoon?

JB:  I don’t know.  Why was Paranoid Android a cartoon?  Did you ask Thom Yorke that question?  I bet you didn’t?

No, I haven’t interviewed him.

JB:  Why?  Because you have too much respect for Thom Yorke?

No, I don’t like Radiohead.

[l-zone2]JB:  Ok then.  I went to this guy’s website, John Prickfucksi (Kricfalusi) I think his name is, the guy who did Ren & Stimpy. I thought Ren & Stimpy was brilliant and Kyle agreed, so we asked him if he would do a cartoon video for Fuck Her Gently.  He said ‘of course he would’ because he loves our work.  And then it was just $40,000 and then it was done. 

It was as easy as that?

JB:  Yeah… because we’re such… close friends.

Has being signed to such a big label (Sony) changed the Tenacious D philosophy in any way?

Kyle Gass:  Ah, it’s the old sell-out question… uh

JB:  …u ….the sell-out

KG:  ….ah

JB:  I wanted to sign to a mini label, a little independent label…

KG:  but I don’t think we’d be talking to you here right now if…

[r-zone3]JB:  …Hey listen! It’s not for the money because we haven’t seen a penny of it!  But, you get the money, and then you get the word spread.  You never would’ve heard of us if it weren’t for the big label signing.  Sellout?  What does it mean? You’re only a sellout if you’re crappy.  ‘You were great, then you became crappy, and then they call you a sellout’.  So if you’re calling us a sellout….

KG:  but maybe he means…

JB:  (to Kyle) No, look, there’s a reason why it’s called ‘Tenacious Defence’, he’s got me on the defensive and we’re gonna show him what we’ve got. Were gonna show HIM what we’re made of!

[Quite scared] Right.  So you don’t expect many royalties?

JB:  Next-question-please, MASTER.

Are you worried that people might treat Tenacious D as a side-project like Keanu Reeves’ Dogstar?

[l-zone5]JB:  I’ve never listened to Dogstar, but I imagine that they suck balls.I’d like to think that we are the best band composed of actors… ever.  I don’t really care what people’s perception is because once they hear the D, they can’t deny the sheer force of our, uh, um…. force. 

KG:  I hear Jared Let’s got a band.

JB:  Jared Leto’s got a band?  Hey, let’s have a battle. 

KG:  The only people we’re worried about are the Bacon Brothers (Kevin Bacon). 

What about Russell Crowe?

JB:  30 Odd Foot of Grunts? I’m not worried about them. 

JB:  Spinal Tap put out a good record!

KG:  What about Billy Bob? 

JB:  Yeah, Billy Bob Thornton, sounds a little soft though.

The D are in the Foo Fighters’ video Learning to fly and Dave Grohl played drums on your album.  Has there been any mutual band influence? 

KG:  Actually, Dave said that his last record was completely influenced by us. 

JB:  Yeah, he gave us a little ‘thank you’. One of songs on the album, ‘Explosivo’, was originally going to be a tribute to Kurt Cobain, but the lyrics were pretty bad.  Dave Grohl came to one of our early shows and made it known that we were on the same page and that he wanted to be part of our magical mystery tour. And so we exploited that.
And now… it’s just a love-fest. 

KG:  So now he doesn’t call much.

JB:  Were you just taking a sip of water?

Yeah, very sorry.  I apologise.

JB:  Hey, I heard that. 


Do you think Britain can fully appreciate the Tenacious D style of humour?

[r-zone1]JB:  (taking a very noisy drink of water)

KG:  …..I don’t know, that has to be seen.

JB:  I dunno.  There may be a problem with the language barrier (because it’s a different language here, right?

KG: Britain-ese, I think they call it.

JB:  We’ve heard that a lot of people speak English though.

KG:  Will Scotland ever regain it’s independence?

Uh, next question…

JB:  (to Kyle) Scotland?  Aren’t they independent? Wasn’t it Ireland?

Jack, what are the best and worst differences between doing Tenacious D and doing movies – being on the road or kissing Gwyneth Paltrow all day?

JB:  I only got to kiss Gywneth Paltrow for a few seconds at a time and then she was off to her trailer like she didn’t know me. And that’s not as fun as it sounds. Actually, it was pretty fun. I prefer the road with the band. It’s less stressful, you can make your own hours and when you’re recording an album, you wake up and decide when you’re gonna go record the day after, ‘four in the afternoon sounds good to me, brother’. 

So, it’s just the lazy lifestyle then?

JB:  Yeah, but in the movies, it’s like ‘You’ll be waking up at four in the morning’. And you’ll get in the make-up chair and you’ll be wearing this fruity outfit that was picked out for you.

Do you have a favourite fruity outfit?

JB:  I look pretty ridiculous in a tank-top.  Any time that I have to wear a shirt that I have to tuck my short into my pants, I look a bit like a troll or a DWAARRRFFF!!!!

Kyle, what do you get up to when Jack’s off doing his movies?

KG:  Um, masturbate mostly.  Some television.  Actually, I’m an actor also, but of less fame & fortune than Jack, but I’m actually gonna do a TV show next year on NBC.

JB:  You asked before if Britain will think we’re funny, who’s the big comedian over here now?  My favourite is Peter Sellers, that dead guy. 
He was British. Uh, our stuff is pretty dirty though.

So where did the legendary ‘D’ originally meet?
[l-zone2]JB:  Well, me and Kyle actually met in Scotland and our friendship blossomed at the Edinburgh theatre festival in ’89.  We did a show there with the Actors Gang Theatre Company that Tim Robbins was in charge of.  It wasn’t even in the Fringe; we were in the main festival. We went and got drunk at the End Of The World pub and some other pub where some guy hanged himself. Think I’ve still got the T-shirt. Uh, we’ve also got some short films from it that we now show in-between songs.

[r-zone3]What kind?

JB:  There’s one called ‘Rock Star Sperm for sale’.

Is that Ron Jeremy or something?

JB: Oh no, NO, no, no, NO. It’s all me…& Kyle. There’s another one called ‘Butt Baby’. That’s where Kyle delivers a baby through his anus.

That sounds sexy…

KG: They’re sort of like Benny Hill.

He’s big in America, isn’t he?

KG: Yeah.


KG: I dunno, didn’t he come from here?

Yeah, but we didn’t like him.

JB:  Do you guys have Benny Hin, that evangelical preacher?

No.  Never heard of him.

JB:  Okay, good, don’t let him in.

KG: Whose Line Is It Anyway? 

We get that.

[l-zone4]JB:  Well we’re better than that. Bunch of ‘blokes’ pretending to be funny at the last second. ‘Make-em-ups’ I like to call it. 

KG:  Greg Proops. What do call that thing we’d like to do to him?

JB:  ‘Brain him?’  He’s like ‘now I know, look at me, I’m a professor of comedy’. 

KG: ‘Here I am, with a telephone, hmmm, what can I do?’.

JB:  It takes a lot for me to laugh these days, there’s gotta be some shock to it.

Like Bill Hicks?

JB:  Yeah!  

Any plans to return to the UK?

JB:  Don’t know, depends on where the love is. 

And is it here?

JB: I don’t know yet, we don’t know if anybody likes us.

Last question. What’s more important, world domination or being bigger than Satan? 

JB:  What’s the difference? I wouldn’t wanna be bigger than Satan. He might get jealous and turn us into toads. World domination has always been the key, our goal. 

KG: Think we’re gonna have some trouble with Indonesia though.

JB:  China?  No. I think Germany’s the next stop though.

KG: Chinese life’s easy though.

JB:  You were thinking about the buddah again weren’t you?

Well, that’s all I have to ask then…

[r-zone5]JB:  It was good to meet your vocal acquaintance. Next time we come to Scotland, you come see us, we’ll go play golf.  And Kyle’s pretty good at golf so WATCH OUT BUDDY!