Tenacious D - Biography

Tenacious D

Tenacious D (sometimes referred to as "The D") is an American rock band composed of musicians and actors Kyle Gass and Jack Black. Their style meshes rock with other musical styles such as comedy rock and folk rock. They are known for their upbeat classic rock style and vulgar comedy. The band first gained popularity in 1999 when they starred in a self-titled HBO television series, in which Black and Gass established themselves as "The D" and the "Greatest Band in the World." The series is occasionally aired on Comedy Central.


Beginnings (1984 - 2000)

Jack Black met 24-year-old Kyle Gass when he was 16 in Los Angeles in 1985 when they were members of the "The Actors' Gang" theatre troupe. Ironically, Black and Gass didn't get along at first, but eventually worked out their differences. Later, Gass taught Black to play the guitar, and they eventually formed the band. While they can both sing and play the guitar, Black is billed as lead singer and Gass as lead guitarist.

The First Album (2001 - 2004)

Tenacious D released Tenacious D (#38 UK), in 2001. For their first album, they enlisted the help of Foo Fighters lead singer Dave Grohl, keyboardist Page McConnell of Phish, guitarist Warren Fitzgerald of the Vandals, and bassist Steve McDonald of Redd Kross. The Dust Brothers produced the album. The majority of the songs on the album are based on their short-lived HBO television series.

The first single off of the album was "Wonderboy", which has since become popular on both college radio and modern rock stations.

The second single is the band's signature song "Tribute", a tribute to the "greatest and best song in the world", which according to the duo they once played to outwit a demon, but which they have now forgotten. Celebrity Ben Stiller has a cameo in the music video, as Black grabs his arm while passing by. Also appearing is Dave Grohl, as the Demon. Early versions of the song incorporated guitar riffs borrowed from Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven", suggesting comically that the so-called "greatest song" was in fact that song, but this was minimized in the album version.

Three singles followed "Tribute", "Dio", and Fuck Her Gently. "Dio", a tribute to rock singer Ronnie James Dio, asked for Dio to stop playing rock music and allow them to fill his shoes. Dio liked the song enough to let the band appear in the music video for his song, "Push." The video for "Fuck Her Gently" (May 2004) featured animations by Spmc, the studio behind Ren and Stimpy.

Several songs on this album are preceded by "skits" where Jack and Kyle go through some sort of rudimentary creative process or argument which immediately precedes the next song. Most of these skits are adapted from episodes of their show and showcase the band's absurdist humor.

Side Projects

On screen

The Tenacious D song, "Jesus Ranch", was featured in the 1997 film Bongwater, performed by Jack Black's character, Devlin. The song was later featured in one of their HBO shorts, which they aired in 1999.

Earlier, they performed as a band in the movie Bio-Dome (1996) and shared the silver screen in The Cable Guy (1996) and in 2001's Saving Silverman and Shallow Hal, but not in character as "The D".

In 2003, they released a DVD entitled Tenacious D: The Complete Masterworks, which features their HBO shorts, videos, and a live performance from London's Brixton Academy (recorded on November 3, 2002).

A Tenacious D movie, entitled Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny, is planned for a 2006 release. Directed by Liam Lynch, who helmed their "Tribute" video, the film will portray the fictional beginnings of the band and their rise to super-stardom. Black comments that the movie's cast includes "Tenacious D, the Devil, and Sasquatch."

The first track from The Pick of Destiny, entitled "Dude, I Miss You", was unveiled by the duo on December 17, 2004, at St. James Theater in Wellington, New Zealand .They also leaked their new song [ The pick of destiny] on their website and email newsletter.

Black and Gass also made an appearance in the first episode of Tom Goes to the Mayor to be televised on Adult Swim. In the episode, the duo were known as "The Bear Trap Brothers," two competitive brothers who ran bear trap shops that were located side-by-side.

Near the end of 2005, Black hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live. During the episode, Gass appeared in a skit with Black in which the two performed a song about a spelling bee. (The song was at the end of the skit; the beginning of the skit was Will Forte's character, a young boy in a spelling bee, misspelling the word 'business' in spectacular fashion).

Other bands

Guitarist Kyle Gass a.k.a. "KG" also plays guitar and sings vocals for the band Trainwreck, under the pseudonym "Klip Calhoun" along with lead roadie and sometimes vocalist of "The D", JR "Lee" Reed, under the pseudonym "Darryl Donald".


Both Black and Gass had minor roles in Jim Carrey's movie The Cable Guy as Matthew Broderick's friend and a man at home. Black has had quite a successful acting career starring in films including Shallow Hal, High Fidelity, Orange County, School of Rock, Envy, King Kong, Enemy of the State, and 2006's Nacho Libre. They are also writing their own film, Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny.


A six gig tour of UK/Ireland in December was announced on September 4th, 2006. The concerts start on the 10th at the RDS Simmonscourt, Dublin, with the SECC, Glasgow on the 11th, Manchester Evening News Arena on the 12th, the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham on the 15th, The Brighton Centre on the 17th and finish on the 18th and 19th at the Hammersmith Apollo, London. It is rumored that a US tour is likely to follow.

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