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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.



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.


Final Countdown

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at


Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.


Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…