Tenacious D is nothing if not inventive (and hilarious).
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For those reasons, the duo’s upcoming Audible Original in the “Words + Music” series, The Road to Redunktion, is likely going to be delightful.
The new project, which is set to drop on August 5, features storytelling and songs from the musical duo, comprised of Jack Black and Kyle Gass.
According to a press statement about the project, “In addition to seven newly recorded catalog songs exclusive to this volume, Tenacious D: The Road to Redunktion features 30 years of never-before-heard archival audio, bringing to life every anecdote with a docu-quality that places listeners right then and there. What’s unexpected is just how sweet it is to spend two hours with two true friends, both monstrously talented, delighting in their creativity and their unlikely journey from the living room to the stars.”
Below, check out a few excerpts from the project ahead of its release in a few weeks.
Tenacious D on how they picked their name: LISTEN HERE
Jack Black: “So it was born, and we took that song and we went over to a little club called Highland Grounds in Hollywood and it was an actor’s gang, sort of, not like a full-on show but it was an actor’s gang presentation. Yeah, a bunch of people from the gang would go up and do like a skit or a song or whatever. And we went up and we didn’t have a name for the band yet. We had a few different names. We knew we wanted to be called Tenacious D, but we were like, you know, there’s some other funny names. The Responsive Chord, Balboa’s Biblical Theater, Pets or Meat. And so we give it to the audience was like, “Hey, show. Let’s, let’s, let’s hear a round of applause for which name you liked the most?” Who was in the audience dude? Who was in the audience that night? It was like a sign from the Lord. Harry Shearer in the audience, of course, he’s the legendary bass player from Spinal Tap. He’s fucking comedy Rock Royalty, and he’s digging our shit. I can tell he’s digging our shit. Just the fact that he was there and saw our first ever concert was just like it was a sign. It was a sign from the universe that we were on the right track.”
Tenacious D on their creative process: LISTEN HERE
Jack Black: “It was like we had a radio show, but there was no audience. It was just for ourselves. We were doing podcasts before there were. Okay. What we’re gonna do, what we’re gonna do, we’re gonna write a song right here. We’re going to show you how the creative process works because a lot of times, you know, we come out with these songs, we sing them and you go, ‘Oh, dow did they think of it?’ You’re gonna see how we think of it. We’re going to dispel a lot of myths. We’re gonna break down a lot of barriers and we hope that we explode some smoke and mirrors. Now, I don’t know what this song is gonna be about. I don’t know what it’s gonna sound like, but I know one thing at some point, I want to say ‘Shit. Yeah, go girl.’ Now, do you have any riffs or anything? In your head?”
Kyle Gass: “Yea, I have no idea what I’m gonna play. Absolutely none. I’m gonna, I’m gonna use everything that’s around me, here.”
Black: “You know, is it going to be hard rockin’ or is going to be mellow?”
Gass: “See, I don’t even know. That’s the magic of this.”
Black: “Up yours you fucking cocksucker! Yeah, go girl go. It’s an existential mystery and everything’s weird, you know. You know!”
Tenacious D on their rise to fame following their show on HBO: LISTEN HERE
Jack Black: “Around that time, Bob [Odenkirk] and David [Cross] of Mr. Show, who kind of introduced us to the world of comedy, said to us, “Hey, so we’re gonna do, we got a show, we got a deal to do a show on HBO. We want you to do a little, a little appetizer nugget.” Like you know how when you go to a movie, sometimes they’ll show a little cartoon at the beginning. That’s what we were. We were like the little cartoon, the beginning of Mr. Show. It was, it was an incredible opportunity. And we knew it at the time was like, oh, fuck, our ship has come in. So we’re writing the Tenacious D show and we work out a few little episodes and this is the first time we had to write some songs on assignment. So the show airs on HBO. And I feel like it was a week later, we had a concert we’re gonna play. We’re opening for another band named Winch and we’re playing the Key Club which is also on the strip, but it’s much bigger than the Viper Room, and we are, you know, Tenacious D you might know him from HBO. It’s only been on HBO for a week, but it was night and day, the place was packed. It’s like 1000 people packed sold out and you know, I love Winch but I think they were there to see the D because we were this new sensation…and the power of TV it was like, wow, because we were selling out 100 max before that. Yeah. So all of a sudden we felt our power.”
Kyle Gass: “I think that was the first time I saw somebody singing along. Yeah, actually, when you see that someone’s singing your song. It’s pretty mind-blowing.”
Black: “And it was a different reaction out of the gate. Like when we walked onto the stage, you could feel like ‘What are we, the Beatles?!’ You’re screaming way more passionately now. This is nice. But also like, maybe a little scary. Because I remember the first time they screamed like that, where it was like 1000 people screaming as loud as they could. You felt like you might have a heart attack.”
Gass: “Yeah, yeah, I think I had to go Jim Morrison turn my back to the crowd.”
Black (finishes): “The loud, the volume and just the sheer audio vibration in the crowd. You felt like it was like vibrating your chest cavity too hard, it almost put you into a panic attack. And then we fucking played that show and we’re like, we’re off to the races. Now we’re rock stars. We don’t even have a record out. No, we’re just a couple of clowns from HBO. And we booked a tour.”
Tenacious D on playing SNL to promote their movie, “Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny” and why it bombed in the box office: LISTEN HERE
Jack Black: “The movie is done. We look at each other. We all know we’ve done it. This is a masterpiece. We promote the shit out of it because we didn’t leave. We didn’t want to leave any stone unturned that would help promote. We did all the talk show, we did all the things, and then dude, crazy pants McAllister, I call in the favor because I’ve been on Saturday Night Live at this point and I knew Lorne Michaels and I call him up and I go, ‘Dude, let Tenacious D play SNL. We want to be the musical guest right before the movie comes out, it’ll be huge and he was like ‘Yes, do it.’ We play SNL and it’s so great and fun. The whole cast gets in on the act and there a lot of huge shit is going down. We sell out Madison Square Garden. We play with the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. The world is our motherfucking oyster, so at this point, we’re just jet-setting around the world promoting our movie, this upcoming movie. And I remember we were on the jet, our world tour is starting. Our world tour of Pick of Destiny to promote the album and just to rock the world is launching right as the movie is coming out. And we’re on the plane and we’re making predictions about opening night box office returns and we’re going high, low. How’s it going to do? I’m saying it’s gonna make at least $30 million opening weekend. We’re just feeling very cocky, very cockysure. And we’re flying and we’re eating like caviar and drinking champagne and we’re laughing and when the plane comes down and we’re in like Cincinnati or somewhere, I don’t know where we are, we’re someplace on tour, we’re gonna play that night somewhere. The first reviews come in and the reviews are bad. Also, we don’t really care. Okay, so the critics are not into it, big surprise. There’s a lot of fucking cocks and, and shits and devils. It’s ridiculous. And yeah, it’s not critical. But the numbers start coming in. And we realized pretty quickly that no one is going to see the movie. I mean, theaters across the world are empty. Yeah. And that’s like, Whoa, where are the D fans? Why is there no anticipation? We did everything and we realize that all of our work seems to have come to amount to a hill of beans. The movie was a bomb and it was fucking depressing.”
Photo by Taylor Stephens.