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Jack Black and Kyle Gass have been rocking audiences as Tenacious D for more than a decade. Stints on Mr. Show and hosting their own HBO half-hour comedy special garnered the two actors a cult following. But it was 2001's platinum-selling self-titled debut that truly earned them mainstream acclaim. Equal parts ironic humor and devastating folk metal, Tenacious D managed to capture rock's essence while castrating the entire genre with fantastical lyrics. Later this year, Black and Gass will star in their first feature film, Tenacious D in "The Pick of Destiny." We caught up with them recently and discussed the movie and absolutes in music.
Westword: Do you remember your first gig?
Jack Black: We played our one song -- and I'm sure I'm exaggerating this in my mind -- but I remember the audience kind of flipping out. They were cheering very hard. There were screams, laughter, and a very big, supportive ovation. Might've even been a couple of tears.
Twelve years later, you're getting your first movie. For a band that once wrote "the greatest song and best song in the world," what took so long?
Kyle Gass: The story was probably the hardest part. It was about capturing this passion. We not only want to rock, we want to be like the greatest.
So is this the "greatest and best film in the world" ?
KG: It's funny to apply absolutes to music, like, "It's the greatest song."
JB: Or "We are the greatest band," which is ridiculous, because it's a matter of opinion. There's also something funny about the macho-ness of rock. Like the bands that are the fucking hardest-rocking are like, "We'll fucking kick your ass, dude...with our rock."
Do you have any thoughts as to why, considering how many actors have tried to front bands and been crucified for it, you two stand almost alone in the amount of respect given to you?
KG: I think the problem is that most musicians take themselves so seriously. I think the humor has almost allowed us to show off a little more. Like, "Oh, we're just funny," but then we're rocking very hard.
JB: I remember early on a couple of people saying, "You guys are so great. Why don't you sing for real and really mean what you're singing about? Why are you always making fun of what you're singing about? Why don't you have the balls to be real, like Pearl Jam?" I remember feeling like maybe I am avoiding something. But that was just always our strength; we were court jesters. And I think that made us critic-proof.