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DID YOU READ

Read This, Gently: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Tenacious D

Tenacious D

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In 1997, HBO granted airtime to a little known pair of acoustic rockers who went by the name Tenacious D. Comprised of two chubby musicians (Jack Black and Kyle Gass) with hearts made of pure metal, the band went on to recruit a legion of fans with their offbeat songs and white hot exuberance. They soon sold out massive concert venues, made their own feature length film, and played alongside some of music’s biggest names.

But even the most dedicated fans may not be aware of the whole story behind Tenacious D. Here’s a list of ten things you didn’t know about history’s most famous folk-metal duo.

10. Tim Robbins was instrumental to their genesis.

Buena Vista courtesy Everett Collection

Buena Vista courtesy Everett Collection

Tenacious D’s origin story dates back to 1985 when the duo met as members of the Los Angeles-based theatre troupe The Actors’ Gang, which was cofounded by Tim Robbins. Although there was animosity at first due to Black’s larger-than-life persona, the musically charged performances in the plays helped bring them together.


9. They got their name from Marv Albert.

Buena Vista Pictures courtesy Everett Collection

Buena Vista Pictures courtesy Everett Collection

Yes! Ol’ Back-Biter himself is responsible for dubbing Jack and Kyle Tenacious D. As the story goes, the duo were jamming, smoking weed, watching basketball, and in search of a name. When all of a sudden, sportscaster Marv Albert exclaimed after a particularly impressive play, “They’re showing tenacious D out there!” And so it was said, so it was done.


8. Their first on-screen performance is in one of the worst movies of all time.

MGM

MGM

Currently standing at 5% on Rotten Tomatoes, 1996’s Bio-Dome earned co-star Pauly Shore his third Razzie Award alongside Stephen Baldwin (admittedly, one of the lesser Baldwins) in a movie that’s a go-to reference for truly awful cinematic abominations. But in a blink-and-you’ll- miss-it appearance, Jack and Kyle perform as the folk-metal duo for the first time on-screen.


7. Dave Grohl has played on every one of their albums.

New Line

New Line

Dave Grohl, the obscure musician who performed in lesser-known bands like Nirvana, Foo Fighters, and Queens of the Stone Age, sat in on the drums for each of the duo’s three studio albums. Grohl met the D when he was taken by the energy of a Tenacious D live show at the Viper Room, which led to the three sharing the stage at concerts, as well as many mutual cameos in music videos like “Learn to Fly” and “Tribute.” (He also played The Lord of Darkness himself in Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny.


6. Ren and Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi directed one of their videos.

John K

John K

Renowned curmudgeon and animator John Kricfalusi, who created a high-energy duo of his own, was tasked to direct the risque video for the song “F*** Her Gently” off Tenacious D’s debut album. Produced for $40,000, the video was animated by Kricfalusi’s studio team at Spümcø and features Jack and Kyle as cherubic angels who give the Devil pointers on, well, how to pleasure his lady friend.

5. Inward singing exists.

Tina Korhonen/Retna Photoshot Everett Collection

Tina Korhonen/Retna Photoshot Everett Collection

According to Jack during a skit on their debut album, his creation of inward singing — where the melody continues during the inhale as well as the exhale — would be responsible for non-stop rocking. Little did he know that the technique has been around for quite a while, most notably in Inuit Throat Singing where vocalizing the inhalation is a key to the distinctive sound.


4. Their firm stance on maintaining creative control led to their movie.

New Line courtesy Everett Collection

New Line courtesy Everett Collection

When it came time to order more episodes of the band’s eponymous cable show, HBO stipulated that the duo must relinquish their roles as executive producers in order to get ten more episodes. Jack and Kyle balked and opted for making a feature-length film rather than continue the show. Thus, The Pick of Destiny was born.


3. They are politically involved and very, very pro-cannabis.

No surprise to their stoner comedy fans, Jack and Kyle are vocal proponents of the devil’s plant and have performed at a benefit concert for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). They’ve also played alongside the Beastie Boys, David Crosby, and Graham Nash at a benefit concert for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, and in 2010 boycotted performances in Arizona due to the state’s harsh views on immigration.


2. But they hate performing big venues.

Tina Korhonen/Retna Photoshot/Everett Collection

Tina Korhonen/Retna Photoshot/Everett Collection

In an interview with Relix, Black admitted to the band’s reticence to get on stage before huge crowds and that they’re always looking for loopholes to back out. “Pretty much every concert we’ve ever done, we’re trying to find a way to cancel the show at the last minute. There’s people out there chanting, ‘D! D! D!’ And that’s something that causes nauseous-ness when you hear it backstage.” However, once they come out, he admits, they’re transformed into Gods of Thunder and the bravado returns.


1. They were criticized for winning a Grammy for Best Metal Performance.

Grammy.com

Grammy.com

Much like the gripes that followed Jethro Tull’s 1988 win for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance, Tenacious D’s 2015 Grammy win in the same category wasn’t well-received. After being nominated for Best Comedy Album in 2012 for their album Rize of the Fenix, music critics like Vice‘s Kim Kelly called the D a “joke band” and denounced the Grammys as being “utterly clueless” when it comes to music.

But, come on… they rock.

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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via GIPHY

We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

via GIPHY

The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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GIFs via Giphy

Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.