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

Tenacious D

Posted by on

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.



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.



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.

Watch More

Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

Posted by on
Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

Watch More
Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

Posted by on

End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

Watch More

Byrning Down the House

Everything You Need to Know About the Film That Inspired “Final Transmission”

Documentary Now! pays tribute to "Stop Making Sense" this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

Posted by on
Photo Credit: Cinecom/courtesy Everett Collection

This week Documentary Now! is with the band. For everyone who’s ever wanted to be a roadie without leaving the couch, “Final Transmission” pulls back the curtain on experimental rock group Test Pattern’s final concert. Before you tune in Wednesday at 10P on IFC, plug your amp into this guide for Stop Making Sense, the acclaimed 1984 Talking Heads concert documentary.

Put on Your Dancing Shoes

Hailed as one of the best concert films ever created, director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) captured the energy and eccentricities of a band known for pushing the limits of music and performance.

Make an Entrance

Lead singer David Byrne treats the concert like a story: He enters an empty stage with a boom box and sings the first song on the setlist solo, then welcomes the other members of the group to the stage one song at a time.

Steal the Spotlight

David Byrne Dancing
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Always a physical performer, Byrne infuses the stage and the film with contagious joy — jogging in place, dancing with lamps, and generally carrying the show’s high energy on his shoulders.

Suit Yourself

Byrne makes a splash in his “big suit,” a boxy business suit that grows with each song until he looks like a boy who raided his father’s closet. Don’t overthink it; on the DVD, the singer explains, “Music is very physical, and often the body understands it before the head.”

View from the Front Row

Stop Making Sense Band On Stage
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Demme (who also helmed 1987’s Swimming to Cambodia, the inspiration for this season’s Documentary Now! episode “Parker Gail’s Location is Everything”) films the show by putting viewers in the audience’s shoes. The camera rarely shows the crowd and never cuts to interviews or talking heads — except the ones onstage.

Let’s Get Digital

Tina Weymouth Keyboard
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Stop Making Sense isn’t just a good time — it’s also the first rock movie to be recorded entirely using digital audio techniques. The sound holds up more than 30 years later.

Out of Pocket

Talk about investing in your art: Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz told Rolling Stone that the members of the band “basically put [their] life savings” into the movie, and they didn’t regret it.

Catch Documentary Now!’s tribute to Stop Making Sense when “Final Transmission” premieres Wednesday, October 12 at 10P on IFC.

Watch More
Powered by ZergNet