On Tuesday November 14th, I had the opportunity to interview Tenacious D, also known as Jack Black and Kyle Gass. After proving their comedic genius in their new film, Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny, the two sat down at the round table interview at the Gibson Guitar Showroom in Manhattan.
Q: How easy was it to get all your friends on board to help you shoot the movie? Like Paul F. Tompkins…Black: Paul was one of the ones we knew before we wrote the script. We gotta get something in there for Paul because he was funny in the TV show. And we knew we had to get Meatloaf because I had an obsession with Meatloaf being my dad and yeah…Gass: We have a lot of friends that are actors and stuff.Black: Yeah, that’s the fun part of making a movie and being the Big Cheese. Gass: Yeah, “you can come on down and play …”Black: Yeah, or else. That’s the problem with being the Big Cheese, because if you don’t hook up your friends you’re a royal a-hole. Gass: “What about that friend and that other friend…”Black: So it’s good whenever people say, “Hey man, can you put me in the movie?” Sorry man I gotta take care of my friends. Gass: Trey Anastasio.
Q: How did you find the transition going from television to film?Gass: I don’t know. The film has to be a lot longer. It’s not a joke because we did real short things, but it’s going to 90 minutes. From 8 minute stories to 90 minutes. Black: Yeah it’s just making the story… that’s the challenge. It’s keeping the interest and excitement and the energy up all the way.
Q: How much thought went into striking a balance between pleasing old D fans and bringing in new ones?Gass: A big one. We thought about it from the get-go. We know the people that like us really like us, but that would be about $100,000 at the box office. So we had to make it so that people would get it. That’s where we came up with the origin part. And then hopefully that worked. We didn’t want to neglect the base.Black: I never thought about the fans. We never thought about the fans before we had fans, and that’s what got us fans. Why think about the fans? You thought about the fans. Why think about the fans, when, you know what I mean? You try to make yourself laugh and you try to make it funny for you, and then hopefully, you know, you’ll get some delicious results. I’m sorry to contradict you Cage, but I think you’re flat out wrong on this one. And you can quote me on that.
Q: The first album is sort of a classic among metal heads and they loved it, was there a lot of pressure on you guys to sort of replicate the awesomeness of the first record?Gass: Well we’ve only turned out one album in the last 12 years, so we’re not working too hard. But yeah there was pressure. We had to come up with all new songs for the movie, so yeah it was hard.
Q: Do you guys face any controversy for giving Lucifer a cameo?Black: Not yet. Gass: He’s tough to deal with.Black: We’ve always wanted to get some priests out in front of our concerts, saying, “Don’t go in there! Your soul will be damned!” That means you’ve made it, if you can do that and if you get it going. I think that was the signal of success in the 80s. But no one’s every protested for real.
Q: Live shows; what can fans expect? Is there going to be a big stage production? Are we going to see some sort of satanic thing going on?Black: Yes. We actually start off with a recreation of Kyle’s apartment from 15 years ago, a really crappy, we call it the cockroach. We jam there for a while, the first chunk of the concert. Then we die and we go to hell and the stage is transformed into the landscape of hell. And we form a band with Charlie Chaplain, Colonel Sanders, and the Anti-Christ. And then the rest of the show is in Hell. It has pretty high production values. Some people are going to complain that the tickets are too much. We’re not making any money. We’re losing money on the tour because we’re like Pink Floyd now.Gass: We got like trucks and buses. Black: Not since Styx “Mr. Roboto” has there been such a high concept of tour.
Q: Would you like to see this movie become a sort of midnight movie, like a cult hit, or do you think to do that you’d be sacrificing?Gass: We’re hoping that people come dressed as the characters and throw stuff at the screen. That would be cool.Black: That would be cool. Gass: I’d go. I’d go dressed up as… me.
Q: Any plans for another movie?Gass: We hope, if it does well. Black: We haven’t nailed down a story line yet, but I’m pretty sure we end up in space.