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Rolling With The D
Celina Murphy tracked down Jack Black and Kyle Gass to talk about the pair's long-awaited third album Rize Of The Fenix.
Celina Murphy, 03 May 2012
Forty two and bellowing like a teenage girl at the back of the 19A, Jack Black is one extraordinary fellow. Where Billy Bob Thornton, Keanu Reeves and Russell Crowe failed miserably, this college-trained thespian made the near-impossible transition from actor to rock star, balancing duties as front man of gargantuan rock duo Tenacious D with roles in cult films like High Fidelity, School Of Rock and Nacho Libre.
Now Hollywood’s favourite cartoon actor and the only plus-sized gentleman allowed anywhere near a romantic comedy, Black is more than a household name; a multitude of Facebook and Tumblr accounts are dedicated to documenting his general awesomeness. Typical GIF-accompanied factoids include; he hangs out with Dave Grohl, does a mean version of ‘Kiss From A Rose’, sometimes does interviews while playing Guitar Hero (though not today, thankfully). But the most extraordinary thing about Jack Black is that he is genuinely as awesome as he constantly says he is.
“We’re in the masterpiece business,” he growls, when I ask why it took so long to put together The D’s third record Rize Of The Fenix. “We could have put out a record earlier, but it wouldn’t have been a masterpiece.”
It’s an effortless answer, typical of the star’s smirking, showboating comedy stylings.
“We needed every minute of that six years. We wanted to put out something on par with The White Album for instance, we don’t want to put out, you know, another Big Country album… although I do like that song quite a bit.” Suddenly he’s thundering through Big Country’s 1983 hit ‘In A Big Country’, “‘Like a lover’s voice fires the mountainside…’ No! we wanted to have something with more lasting power and sorry, six years is what it takes.”
Tellingly, I’ve yet to mention Kyle Gass, the consistently brilliant but significantly less famous other member of Tenacious D, who is, for this interview at least, happy to sit back and let Black do the bragging. Between 2001’s self-titled debut and 2006’s The Pick Of Destiny, the D have morphed from a pair of celebrity-endorsed nobodies to one celebrity and one guy-who-played-the-sidekick-in-Shallow Hal. It’s an issue that’s rather insensitively addressed on the new album. “Hollywood Jack hit the big time and went to make movies,’ Black shrieks, “Rage Kage was left far behind on the dust of his dreams.”