The self-proclaimed "Greatest Band on Earth,"
Tenacious D [ www.tenaciousd.com
] is in the radio.wazee
spotlight this week, with "Tribute" from
their long-awaited, eponymous major-label debut on
As they say in the song, "Tribute"
is not actually the greatest song in the world, it’s
just a tribute, because they forgot how the greatest
song in the world went after conquering the Devil
with it. This is a prime example of the quirky sense
of humor synonymous with the chunky acoustic metal/comedy
duo of singers/guitarists/actors
Jack Black and Kyle Gass (aka JB, Jables, KG and Rage
Kage, among other aliases). The duo met at an acting
class and began playing together in 1994, making their
live debut later that year at Al's Bar in Downtown
Los Angeles, playing just one number, "Tribute."
In the audience that night was comedian/actor David
Cross, who invited Black and Gass to appear with him
and other like-minded performers such as Ben Stiller
and Janeane Garofalo in a series of alternative comedy
shows. The D soon headlined shows at venues like Pedro's
and Largo, planting the seeds of a die-hard cult following.
The following year, Tenacious D
made appearances on Bob Odenkirk and Cross' HBO sketch
comedy program "Mr. Show With Bob and David,"
beginning their rise to the mainstream and the 1999
HBO series. Though it lasted just three episodes,
"Tenacious D" the show included, among other
adventures, the group's search for "Inspirato,"
the cosmic creative force; the love triangle between
Black, Gass, and a heavily pierced, Satanic clog dancer
who threatened to destroy the group; and the discovery
of Lee, Tenacious D's biggest fan. More of the D's
brilliantly dumb songs debuted on the show, and fans
began trading and auctioning video and audiotapes
at fever pitch. The duo also played opening gigs for
friends like Beck, Pearl Jam, and the Foo Fighters
and embarked on their first full-fledged tour. Epic
won a bidding war to sign the group, and in 2000,
Black's popularity and prominence as an actor grew
with roles in films like "Jesus' Son" and,
especially, "High Fidelity," as the larger-than-life
record store clerk Barry. A Tenacious D album was
in the works, produced by the Dust Brothers and recorded
in part at ArcAngel Studio in Los Angeles – which
is owned by the D’s idol Neil Diamond – and featuring
appearances by Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters (the duo
appeared in the Foos' "Learn to Fly" video),
Page McConnell of Phish and Steve McDonald of Redd
In 2001, the D's momentum hit critical
mass: Black co-starred in "Shallow Hal"
with Gwyneth Paltrow and the group set out on their
second nationwide tour. And, despite an attempt to
recall "Tenacious D" the album at the last
moment because of its back cover, which depicted two
babies chained to an altar, their debut entered the
charts at a surprisingly strong number 33. Equal parts
power balladeers, improv comedy troupe and acoustic
rock duo, the D is currently working on a Tenacious
D movie. Long live the D! Comedian/musicians Jack
Black and Kyle Gass are Tenacious D, the self-proclaimed
"greatest band on earth." A Spinal Tap version
of a demented acoustic guitar duo, Tenacious D perform
their bizarre open-mic night routine at sold-out clubs
throughout the United States. Their following, once
exclusively underground, is slowly going mainstream.
"The D" have two HBO specials
under their belt and turn up regularly on the "Mr
Show" HBO series. They also appeared alongside
Pauly Shore and Stephen Baldwin in the soon-to-be
classic film Bio Dome. In 2001 the duo released Tenacious
D, their long - awaited debut album.