I recently watched Tenacious D‘s movie The Pick of Destiny. It was a sloppy, scatological train-wreck. Intentionally so. And the remarkably talented director/musician/actor/D-fan-collaborator Liam Lynch makes that perfectly clear. But I loved the movie anyway. The music somehow stole my heart, and subsequently sold it to Satan (played by Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighers).
Jack Black (yes, the actor/comedian) and Kyle Gass (aka KG) are the Spinal Tap of my lost generation. They mix uncomfortable self-deprecating satire, parody, and in-joke comedy with honest-to-goodness kick-ass old-school 70s metallic-rock. Ironically, many (most) of their pieces are performed raw (and somewhat tongue-and-cheek) as an acoustic duo with KG on lead/rhythm/backup vocals and Black on lead vocals/rhythm guitar. Black’s vocals are absolutely phenomenal. Pure genius. Drawing from every influence on the planet, he could be the single most talented rock vocalist of all time. I kid you not. He may be the Kwisatz Haderach of rock vocalists, the final result of generations of careful rock vocal bloodline manipulation.
Ronnie James Dio is a hero of Black’s. Below is their classic Dio tribute song performed live at Brixton Academy. Originally, when a colleague pointed out the song, Dio thought Tenacious D was mocking him outright (which they are). But when he learned it was not done out of spite but rather as a loving parody done in Black’s unique comic style, he and Black became good pals. Dio appears in Pick of Destiny and Tenacious D has appeared in the Dio video for the song Push.
There really is no shortage of D videos available on YouTube. But I can’t resist posting a couple more here for your convenience. The first video below is (after a little nod to System of a Down) their epic song Tribute (starting about 40 seconds in). This is perhaps their best known tune written with a classic Faustian libretto as a tribute to the greatest song in the world. The second piece is Master Exploder from the movie. It plays a similar role as the dream sequences in the movie Song Remains the Same by Led Zeppelin. It gives you a clear view of their silly non sequitur scatology and perhaps how the “perceive” themselves on stage while performing acoustic (an insight made by director Liam Lynch). Enjoy.