Interview: Jack Black and Kyle Glass
"Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny"
Posted: Monday, November 13th 2006 12:34AM
Author: Paul Fischer
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Jack Black may be a standalone actor and movie stars, but he doesn't forget he's tenacious - as in Tenacious D. He and Kyle Gass have been on the road is this weird comic music duo for years, and now the 'D' is on the big screen. Harking back to their genesis, this hilarious, no holds barred comedy bares all, and Jack and Kyle are in top form. They spoke to Paul Fischer.
Question: Were you guys always thinking about turning the D into a feature?
Jack: The D..
Kyle: I think it started happening pretty seriously after our HBO show and we were going to do a run at HBO.
Jack: Wait a second. We did the HBO show and that thing was cancelled.
Kyle: Not really?
Jack: Whatever. We fuckin' said, or mutually agreed that it was bullshit.
Kyle: Can we just say it was cancelled?
Jack: We have to say that we fuckin' killed it?
Kyle: They offered us ten episodes and wanted to fire us from being executive producers. We said, 'F-you. We'll go make a movie'.
Jack: Yeah. They said, 'yeah, we want to do a lot with you without you having any creative control. We want you to be more like The Monkees'. We're like 'what? Why would we do that when the first ones were so good when with us fuckin' in charge'?
Kyle: They said 'do you want to make the show'?
Jack: 'Fuck you. We're beyond it. We're gonna go make and movie, then we'll show you whose [overlapping sounds like: whose shit don't stink???].
Kyle: You know why? Because success is the only revenge.
Jack: But then Cage [he calls Kyle Gass Cage for KG] was like 'dude, fuck the movie. The only thing that matters is the album', remember?
Jack: So then we made the album.
Kyle: And I was right.
Jack: Then, you changed your tune.
Question: Was it hard to get some of the people to be in the movie?
Jack: It was easy when we were talking with New Line and we were saying 'let's make a five million dollar movie. It'll be incredible. It'll be funny. We've got fuckin' enough fans already that's it's gonna make money. And then it expanded and we said 'wait a second, it's actually more like 18 or 19 million or 20'.
Kyle: Is that okay?
Jack: And then there was only one studio interested. We went all around the Horn and then New Line was the only one that said 'yeah. we'll put our money on that one'. Nobody else was interested. It was too expensive. None of them thought we could do it.
Kyle: We had to take no money. On the back end. If it does well, we're going to be on Barbados with...
Jack: Mai Tais.
Question: Jack, since the show and the album you became a huge movie star. Has that changed Tenacious D at all?
Kyle: Yeah. I hate him.
Question: You're as big as he is.
Kyle: I'm bigger.
Jack: I like to think that we would never have gotten the movie made if I hadn't built some sweet...
Kyle: There you go. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. As big as Jack was getting, it could only help get a name I think. That's all they really think about it bankability.
Question: But has it changed you, Jack?
Jack: Has it changed me? Oh, yeah.. we've gone on tour after "School of Rock".
Kyle: We've played shows. We've had great tours. I think people seem to separate it pretty much.
Jack: It was a bummer after "Shallow Hal" when people were carrying around the Shallow Hal billboards at the concerts [he indicates people holding them up over their heads]. That's not really heavy metal to look out in the audience when you're tryin' to rock and there's a Shallow Hal cardboard cutout.
Question: They'll have Nacho Libre posters next.
Jack: That I don't mind.
Kyle: It's just the way it is. You've got two jobs. People can separate it.
Question: How do you describe your style of humor?
Kyle: Childish, sophomoric, scatological.
Kyle: I suppose there's an element of that.
Jack: What are we satiring? Satirizing? Damn, what's the saturnization about in this?
Kyle: The saturnization really begins with.. I think we're poking fun at the pomposity of rock stuff.
Jack: A little bit, kind of.
Kyle: It's really just about us though. These guys rockin'? People respond to the weird confidence about the mission. We have this grand mission to rock and we have acoustic guitars. It seems to connect that way.
Question: When was the last time you were in an apartment like yours in the movie?
Kyle: This morning.
Jack: No. You've bumped it up since then.
Kyle: I had to get out of there.
Question: Rock of Ages, the movie ever?
Kyle: It was great. They're gonna do it in New York City in the Spring at the [sounds like: a nice] theater downtown. It's gonna be great.
Question: Jack, you got to fool around with Kate Winslet?
Jack: Yeah. What was it like?
Question: The movie looks rather nice.
Jack: It's very sweet and my mom's gonna love it I'm sure. I haven't seen it yet. It's a departure for me in that it's romantic and sweet.
Kyle: Mmmmm. More than "Shallow Hal"?
Jack: More than "Shallow Hal".
Kyle: Cuz at the end you said , [baby voice] 'I don't care if she's fat'.
Question: Was there a scene in this that was hard to get through because you were cracking up?
Kyle: We're pretty good at not cracking up because you don't want to blow the take. There were a couple of times. You take movies apart so much...some weird close-up.
Jack: I was laughing all the time. I haven't had this much fun on a movie ever.
Kyle: I think the very last scene we had a good time when we're smoking out of the Devil's bong and we put some real pot in there.
Jack: Yeah. I got too high and I was paranoid that there were some SAG secret officials there that were gonna bust us for smoking real pot. It's too powerful. Someone put the [sounds like: Kronk] in there. Two bong hits. I'm a lightweight too. So, it's like Aaaaaaaah. Driving home was a real challenge.
Question: Can you talk about the physical aspects of the D performance?
Jack: You've got to be in the best shape possible.
Kyle: We're like Jackie Chan. We do all our own stunts.
Question: Is what you do on stage choreographed?
Kyle: You pretty much have to choreograph for the movie.
Jack: You have to block basically.
Kyle: Cuz' lighting is so difficult.
Jack: But, on stage they did a lot of camera movement and let us do whatever we want. It was pretty lose up there.
Kyle: Keep it fresh and relaxed.
Question: Your music is really good. Does it have to be good before it's funny? What comes first?
Kyle: I think it's important for us that it's as good as we can do it just musically-wise.
Kyle: I think it's what makes us a little different from some guitar comics. We love music and just try to make really great songs.
Question: Do you start with the tune before the words?
Kyle: We usually have an idea and we do a lot of improv and Jack will riff a lot of the lyrics.
Jack: Kyle is always a bubbling cauldron of tunes. He's always playing and working on little melodies and riffs and then I would need to have something that I think is funny, a concept that I want to riff on, or, I need a type of song that I want to make that we've never made before. Then we can just start jammin' and always recording.
Question: You are so busy. How do you balance Tenacious D, movies, marriage and children or child?
Kyle: You're busy.
Jack: I'm very, very busy. But the way I do it is..
Question: Hanging out at Jar...
Jack: Jars' the best. Love Jar. It's all about the pork chop...What did you have? Here's how I do it. I look ahead on the future calendar and I can see that, come February, I have nothing on the schedule and I can always, not matter how hard it is, no matter how little sleep I'm getting, I know that there is sleep at the end of that rainbow.
Question: How is Kung Fu Panda going?
Kyle: That is rock and roll.
Jack: I'm just a voice. It's a sweet gig if you can get it. You go in like once a month, a few hours, once a month for eight years. At the end there's a fuckin' great cartoon and you are the star of it. It's a sweet gig.
Question: Are you the Kung Fu Panda?
Jack: [In big Panda voice] I am the Kung Fu Panda! I haven't seen them in a few months though. I hope it's still happening. Maybe they scrapped it and it's the Kung Fu Giraffe starring someone else now. Maybe they're waiting to see what happens with this movie. This one might ruin my career as an entertainer for children.
Kyle: You can be like Kate Moss or something [what??]
Jack: With the cocaine. Dude, we may be back to coffee houses after this.
Question: How much of this story is true?
Jack: Glad you asked. It's all true except....
Kyle: His father is one of the most supportive men..
Jack: My parents were always very supportive of my rocking.
Kyle: He was not a fundamentalist Christian.
Jack: No. I was actually raised a Jew. I went to Hebrew school and got bar mitzvahed. So that was a lie. But the rest.. true.
Question: Are you still a good Jew?
Jack: No. After my bar mitzvah I never went to synagogue again. Too much Hebrew school. I started to resent it because I didn't like school and then, on top of that, you're gonna send me to extra school? Hebrew school on top of school? Maybe if it had just been Hebrew school but don't sent me to another place. If it had all been in one place. If it started at eight and ended at three, okay but then you start tacking on more school.. it's crazy.
Question: How much did you practice the power slide and how was the car chase?
Kyle: We had to go to special driving school. No, we had stuntmen to do all that.
Question: The director said you got carsick, Kyle.
Kyle: Well, they have a special car that they make to do stunts that has these huge wheels and it kind of spins around and you're sort of driving it but they're driving you in the car. It's a barfy ride. I'm not gonna lie to you. It's a barf machine. It's fun though.
Question: On the power slide?
Jack: I got a little rug burn, yeah.
Kyle: But it was a pretty old school special effect. We were just being pulled.
Jack: And Kyle didn't lean back far enough.
Kyle: We did it all day, okay?
Jack: He's like.. [indicates arms straight up over head.. not leaning back at all].
Kyle: I know. How come I'm not sliding?
Jack: People ask, is there anything you would go back and change? Just that one thing, the power slide.
Question: How about having Meat Loaf sing your music?
Jack: Powerful stuff.
Question: Was he a good choice for playing your dad?
Jack: Yes. It had to be Meat Loaf.
Kyle: He was one of those guys written into the script.
Jack: [yawning] and if it wasn't Meat Loaf what were we gonna do?
Kyle: Frank Black, somebody. Larry thought Meat Loaf was okay.
Question: Are you going to take a break now?
Jack: No! We've got a grind coming up. Going to New York and do Letterman, we're going to go to London and do Jonathan Ross and premiere in London and come back and rehearse hard with our band. We've got a full band now. When we go on tour, it's not just me and Kyle anymore.
Question: You guys are big now.
Jack: We're big, bigtime, yeah. U2 is opening for us now.
Kyle: We're thinkin' we'll make them play acoustic.
Jack: Bono doesn't go all the way down on his knees.
Kyle: And we'll say 'Bono, lose the sunglasses'.
Jack: Oh man, hamstringed. We just took him off his game.
Question: Whose idea was it to have in the beginning KG be more aggressive or more the leader?
Jack: That's just kind of how it was.
Kyle: It really was. What's true? It's all kind of emotionally true but I was older and Jack was kind of....
Jack: Kyle was never like a fraud. I don't think he was ever going to put one over on me like he did in the movie.
Kyle: But, I knew that you were a fan and I started to take advantage of that and be the smart guy.
Question: How did you meet?
Kyle: We met in '89 through a friend [argument over what year it was]
Jack: I had been a fan since '86 or '87 because I had gone to see him. The first time I saw you perform was Carnage at the Mocha. When was that.. late '80's.
Kyle: But Jack got in a production that we were doing in the Actor's Gang called The Big Show and I would do all the music usually for the Gang stuff and Jack came in there and started contributing and threatening my very existence.
Jack: That's right.
Kyle: But it was a case of 'if you can't beat 'um, join 'um'. I couldn't beat him.
Question: There is going to be a lot on the DVD in deleted and extended scenes. Are there any you are hoping we'll get to see?
Jack: Yeah. We know what on those scenes.
Kyle: Dave [sounds like Keckner] had a really big scene we had to cut. There's a really good song in it.
Jack: There's the song "the Government Totally Sucks" It's a shame we had to cut it but it's on the record and it'll be in the deleted scenes.
Kyle: I think a lot of times when I'm talking.
Jack: There's a lot of little chunks but not whole scenes. There's a great scene in my fantasy sequence where Kyle is actually a cock monster and I go and punch on him, punch him out and punch on his balls with my feet .
Question: Was this a real dream you had?
Jack: No. It was just a flight of fancy.
Question: Some people call this a great love story?
Kyle: It's a threesome.
Jack: It actually is. It's about two men in love with their music.