They’ve had their own TV show, they’ve released an album, and they’ve toured the globe… for Tenacious D the only medium left to take over is film. So it’s no surprise rock duo Jack Black and Kyle Gass are knocking that last one out with their film Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny. For The D it’s been a bit of a road to their big screen starring break. The boys met in 1993 and began performing publicly in 1994. Working with Mr. Show’s Bob Odenkirk and David Cross, they achieved cult status with the release of their TV series, which ran six episodes and is now collected in their
But as the D got bigger, so did Jack Black’s acting career. With memorable supporting roles in films like The Cable Guy, The Jackal, and Enemy of the State, it was 2000’s High Fidelity that led to leading man status with such films as 2001’s Shallow Hal, 2004’s School of Rock, and 2005’s King Kong. Through the duo’s work they’ve made friends with what Defamer refers to as the “New Gay Mafia” as both have appeared in films with friends Ben Stiller and Will Ferrell. But no matter their success, The D have stayed together – they released their self titled first album in 2001, and after five years of trying to get a script together, now working with director Liam Lynch (best known for his work on the MTV program The Sifl & Olly Show) they are almost done shooting their film.
On the set visit, I had a chance (along with two other journalists) to sit down with Jack Black and Kyle Gass for a couple of minutes between set ups.
Q: Loved your version of “Master Exploder” (a song they lip-synched at Comic Con)
Kyle Gass: What?
Jack Black: He said he liked the “Master Exploder”.
KG: Oh yeah, I think that went really good. It’s such a great visual.
JB: People really embrace the Milli Vanilli.
KG: Look, Lip Synching is great, it worked for Andy Kaufman.
Q: With the Mighty Mouse Routine…
JB: Yeah, you’re not spending any energy on the actual vocal output, so it all goes into the ridiculous faces. And you can print that.
KG: No, no no.
Q: So how do you maintain your energy?
JB: I’m totally running out of gas, actually, I’ve been drinking a lot of, what’s it called? Emergen-C? You ever had one of those? Cause it’s got electrolytes. And I try not to eat too much at lunch. Cause that’ll fuckin’, that’ll fuckin’ end the party.
KG: I’ve been napping through lunch, just so…
JB: Yeah, whatever.
KG: And I turn on the AC and just *douche* into the pillow, just *douche* (mimes going face first) and I got to say it takes a half hour of make up to get this off (he points to the wig on his head).
JB: You get pillow face.
Q: How many of your songs from the album are in the movie?
JB: The old album or the new album?
Q: The old album.
JB: Two songs, just to give a little nod to the old days, and also, this is about the beginning of The D, so we had to represent a little.
Q: So it’s an origin tale?
KG: It’s a bio-pic.
JB: It’s an origin episode.
KG: It’s origami, organic…
Q: Which two songs?
JB: We got “History of Tenacious D” –
KG: – for our very first gig.
JB: Yeah for our very first gig we ever played, and then we got “Rock Your Socks Off” and we redid those, but we got a lot of new tracks on this one.
Q: How many new tracks we got?
KG: We started with seventy two…
JB: But we whittled it down to thirteen. Right now there’s thirteen tracks.
Q: Anything you miss?
KG: In the vault there’s like seven double albums of this stuff.
JB: For the time capsule. Actually, we never save any golden nuggets for later. We always shoot our load.
Q: Who collaborated with you on the new album, some of the same people?
JB: We got Dave Grohl back for one song, as of now that’s the only one with drums on it, but we’ll get him back later for more.
KG: John King is the producer.
Q: From the Dust Brothers?
JB: Yeah, he produced our last one too, and we have some friends of ours playing different instruments.
KG: Like our Friend “Shreddy” who’s right behind us. He’s responsible for the “Master Exploder” guitar.
JB: His name is actually John Konesky, but we call him John Bartholomew Shredman – but he hates it, hates it, when you call him Shreddy, but it’s really sticking, and now he can’t fucking stop…
KG: He can’t shake it.
JB: He can’t shake the Shred, but why would hate being called Shreddy though? Shreddy, it’s like saying “Hey, my name’s Awesome.” What’s wrong with that?
KG: Yeah, everyone loves the Shredder.
Q: How tough was it for you guys to put together the origin story?
JB: It took years. It took years of fucking figuring out the simple thing: “Wait we should make a real biography of how we started off, and we’ve got to start from the very beginning.” That shit took years to come to that simple conclusion. Which, once we settled on that, it was so obvious “oh of course from the beginning, that’s where you start.”
KG: You start from the beginning…
JB: Retarded! You know Batman didn’t start at the beginning. That movie, they started in the fuckin’ weird middle. I didn’t see it, did you see the latest one? I hear it kicks ass.
Q: It does.
KG: I gotta go see that.
Q: It’s Christopher Nolan.
JB: Right, yeah.
Q: He did Memento.
KG: I think whenever you take a Tim Burton off the project, you’ve done a good job. Batman is stinkin’ it up.
JB: Me and Kyle tried to write it about five years ago, and then we just got depressed, and we bailed on it. We had some other guys take a pass at a draft, and we read that and got more depressed, we were like “Aw, fuck it.” But then it was like, “no no no, now that we’ve seen the stinky let’s really fucking put it together.” It wasn’t that it was stinky, it just that it wasn’t ours.
KG: Yeah, it wasn’t bad.
JB: But then we started partying with Liam (Lynch) and going, doing short films with him, and he did a documentary, and he was like “We should just fucking do it. You guys don’t need someone to write the fuckin’ script, we can do it.” And he just provided the confidence.
KG: Liam really is so creative.
JB: Yeah, he took us to the next level.
KG: God Bless Liam Lynch.
JB: But the answer is: Five years. But then once we really started with Liam, it took like, I don’t know, fucking fifty days. And fifty nights.
KG: And once we sort of knocked out the story, it just really seemed right. There were only like two rewrites.
JB: Yeah. Like most of our stuff it plopped out in one well-tapered, not-too-much-over-thinking-it poo.
JB: A golden nugget that pops out of our butts. Alright, that’s enough description of ass creativity.
Q: Now I was told that the super awesome Kong song you did at the Comic-con was a Peter Jackson exclusive, right?
JB: Uhh, did I say that?
Q: No, you didn’t say that, Peter said that.
JB: Yeah, Peter said that “You wrote it just for me!” Yeah, I never agreed to that. There was no handshake over that. Why would I say yes to that? Because he’s going to sell the
KG: But what’s he going to do?
JB: Yeah, maybe it’ll just happen? I’ll just say “Dude, I thought I was helping! You! I thought I was helping you!”
Q: But how mad does Peter get?
JB: I’ve never seen him lose his temper.
KG: This is just a rumor but I hear there’s a Lord of the Rings Part Four.
Q: Do you mean The Hobbit?
KG: Not the Hobbit. I don’t know what it is. But it doesn’t seem right to me.
JB: It’s retarded.
Q: You guys have been shooting this for a while, what has been the toughest or most challenging scene for you to shoot?
JB: The hardest one? The one where I had to remember a bunch of shit. I was really worried about certain scenes, like when we sit down to write the masterpiece, but I don’t want to give away too much.
KG: Whenever we had to talk, that was probably the hardest.
JB: When we had a lot of talking.
Q: So when you were writing it, were you thinking “Shorter. This doesn’t need to be a full page.”
JB: It’s weird, when we wrote it, it was ninety pages long, but now it’s a two hour movie, somehow, cause it doesn’t really… you could have a one page script that goes for five hours if you go… nevermind.
KG: A man takes a train to
JB: I think we’re going to have a lot of painful cuts, there are so many funny nuggets that are going to have to streamline.
KG: But great
JB: Yeah that’s the good thing about
KG: And it’s going to come out on the same day.
JB: Dude, that’s what I heard about King Kong.
KG: It’s going to come out on the same day to beat piracy.
JB: But I heard that from Kyle, so, or from your mom (Kyle’s parents were on the set that day). Have you heard that? Movie released and
KG: With popcorn. Here’s my plan. I’m going to make enough money off this thing to get out of the biz, open a Jersey Mike’s, smoke some weed…
KG: A great sub shop, they don’t have them out here, and dude they make it right there.
JB: With the slicer right there? Are you gonna buy one?
KG: I’m gonna buy one, yeah.
JB: That’s good investment ‘cause they don’t have one out here on the West coast.
JB: That’s a good idea, dude I’m in (Jack gives Kyle the fist pound).
KG: And then we hire these really capable young men to run it. (laughs) These really capable guys to run it.
JB: (laughs) You’re really psyched to have those guys you’re going to hire. (more laughing)
KG: Maybe some chicks too, maybe some chicks. I don’t know. But they’re really good, really good subs.
JB: I wouldn’t really trust anyone.
KG: No, I’m picking up the money from the till every day. That’s why you can’t have J.R. (Jason Reed, who plays Lee in the film and on the show) in there. Sticky Fingers Reed, I’m telling you. Don’t leave money around him. He’s a good friend. (To Jack) You’re in right? I think it should be in the Valley.
JB: I’m not sure if I’m in any more. Did I shake on it just now?
JB: Punched it, that’s not legally binding. Knuckles do not legally bind.
Q: So who from your cadre made it in the movie?
JB: We got everybody except Bob and David. But that’s just because we didn’t have good enough parts for them. And we would have felt like we were insulting them to give ‘em turds.
Q: So they don’t have a “Kick in the Cunt” scene? (From Run Ronnie Run!)
JB: They do not have a kick in the cunt scene. We should have maybe given them a little “Kick in the Cunt.” (apologetically) Maybe they should have been security guards. One and two. But we got Paul F. Tompkins…
KG: Jay Johnston is in it.
JB: Who’s great.
KG: Who’s the other guy from Mr. Show?
JB: Oh yeah, Jon Ennis.
Q: Brian Poeshn?
JB: No Brian Poeshn, but almost, almost. We couldn’t get him. We couldn’t get everybody. We got a bunch of people from the actor’s gang, and a bunch of people from Mr. Show, and some other peeps that we love. Like Amy Poehler, she’s really funny, Ben Stiller’s in there…
KG: Sasquatch! Sasquatch in only his second role. You know what? He’s so wonderful.
JB: He wasn’t totally professional, though. He didn’t go in the fuckin’ port-a-potty.
KG: He shit in his trailer. He didn’t know though.
JB: He’s a force of nature.
KG: He is.
JB: We also got Ronnie James Dio.And Meat Loaf.
KG: Oh, oh, and Will Ferrell promised to be in it, and then didn’t.
JB: No no no. That’s not true. He said “Yeah man, I’m gonna fuckin’ be there,” but his schedule was like “but this is kind of a foggy area, I’m probably going to definitely be there.” And I’m sure he would have made it, but we were like “we gotta go with the sure fire.”
KG: It’s bullshit, you were going to have a Bass off.
JB: It’s not bullshit.
KG: It is bullshit, because when I said I would do Elf (Jack Laughs) that there was one stipulation.
JB: There was one caveat.
KG: Mr. Bill, Will, whoever you are this week – that you do our fuckin’ movie.
JB: In fairness we asked him after he had already booked this other movie. So he didn’t have the chance to block out that time.
KG: Will, if you’re watching the internet… Bullshit call. When Elf 2 rolls around, you’re not going to find me.
JB: On Elf 2. (laughs)
Q: The Elfening, which is supposedly happening. Is the album going to be release in conjunction with the movie, or released prior to it?
JB: I would like to release the album day-of the movie release, and Kyle wants to release it five months before.
KG: on 6/6/(0)6.
JB: You know I was into
Q: Including the Omen remake.
KG: We’re no longer, we’re going day of.
JB: Or probably the Tuesday before the movie opens, I think is how we should do it.
KG: I think we’re going to put a comic book in, of the whole movie.
JB: You know what I was thinking might be good? Just fucking kick ass pictures from the movie. Kick ASS pictures from the movie. Put some lyrics on the other side… Comic books are hard, man.
KG: We’re not doing it!
JB And it’s this size (makes stamp size) though, it’s hard to communicate the whole story of the movie in comic books that are four by that. Stamps.
KG: Trust me.
KG: We’ll include a magnifying glass.
JB: We’ve been thinking about doing a comic book.
KG: I think it would be great.
JB (to me, as I was wearing a New Pornographers shirt): Are the New Pornographers really a band?
Q: Yeah, they’re Canadian.
JB: Are they good?
JB: Where’s Liam? He disappeared like a puff of smoke.
KG: Oh, dude, do you have any cigarettes?
JB: Dude I have been going strong no smoking since we started shooting this film.
KG: I’ve been going as long as you.
JB: And right now… I’m wanting I’m wanting.
KG: You didn’t smoke in
JB: No. What do you mean you haven’t?
KG: Dude Dude Dude (Kyle leans over like he’s farting)
JB: Awww, evacuate. (Jack takes off)
KG: False alarm, turtle alert. False alarm, turtle alert. Come back. (Jack doesn’t come back) Alirhgt, now that’s he’s gone. He’s such a diva now, it’s like “all right” he can’t take a shit on his own. He’s out there with his helper, who’s got an umbrella, like he’s Michael Jackson such a bullshit call. The ego is out the door, the ego has landed.
Q: Is he taking your close ups?
KG: Taking my close ups? I don’t even know if I’m in the movie! Fuckin’, it should be a one man show. I’m a prop in a costume, we’re all a part of the Jack Black story. But I don’t want to back talk him, that’s not my style.
Q: When they did the King Kong panel at Comic Con, everyone wanted to know where you were.
KG: Well, the irony was that I left ‘cause it was so boring. I was like “this panel is boring me to tears, I gotta go. Shit, I gotta get something to eat.” And then that’s when everyone started asking for me. And it was so flattering and I can’t believe I missed it.
Q: It’s more perfect that you weren’t there.
KG: I’m just glad the real story’s being told how we started. Who fuckin’ polished the shitty piece of coal into the diamond you see now. It didn’t happen by magic. You’ll see in this movie what really happened. Once in a while an older man takes a younger boy under his wing. Fresh, tight skin, takes him in his room and teaches him, teaches him things. That’s what happened.
Q: Life Lessons?
KG: Life lessons, important life lessons. How to hold his guitar, how to make it swing – sing. These sorts of things. (To someone from the crew) These guys are from the internet, does that mean anything to you? You know soon, you’re going to be able to shop online, pay your bills online. I don’t, but the funny thing is you can meet women online, but let’s face it.
Q: Actually I had friend who told me he’s only had sex with women he’s met through the internet for the last five years.
KG: Uh, that guy there (points to an unnamable cast member)? He’s mister Myspace.com. He invests into Myspace.
Q: Are you on Myspace?
KG: (Laughs) Yeah I’m on getthefuckoutamyspace. I want less people in my life, I think. I’m just trying to get it down to me in a room with a crack pipe. Just trying to get it down to the basics.
(We start getting the heave-ho from one of the minders, who’s name is Spooky)
KG: Will you quit giving them the bum’s rush? Let me tell you something (Kyle grabs my recorder) “Love is kinda crazy with a spooky little girl like you-ah!” Good night!