07 diciembre 2006

Tenacious D - Tribute

Inicios: En 1985, a los dieciséis años, Jack Black conoció a Kyle Gass (24), en Los Ángeles, Estados Unidos, cuando ambos entraron a formar parte de la compañía de teatro "The Actor's Gang" ("La pandilla de actores"). Aunque Black y Gass no se llevaban muy bien en un principio, con el tiempo lograron superar sus diferencias y Glass le enseñaría a Black a tocar la guitarra, para más tarde ofrecerle formar una banda. Aunque ambos cantaban y tocaban guitarra, a Jack Black se le suele considerar el cantante y a Kyle Gass el guitarrista principal. El primer disco (2001 - 2004): Tenacious D lanzó su primer disco, homónimo, en 2001. Fue producido por The Dust Brothers, y en él trabajaron también el vocalista y líder de Foo Fighters, Dave Grohl; el tecladista de Phish, Page McConnell; Warren Fitzgerald, guitarrista de The Vandals, y el bajista Steve McDonald. La mayoría de las canciones en el disco provinieron de versiones anteriores vistas en su programa de HBO. De él se desprende su canción más conocida hasta la fecha: "Tribute", es un tributo a la mejor canción del mundo, la cual fue escrita improvisadamente por "The D" para poder vencer a un demonio (representado por Dave Grohl en el video). mentablemente, la olvidaron, y esta canción tributo no se parece en nada a aquella. El actor Ben Stiller también hace una corta aparición en el video. Algunas de las primeras versiones de la "Tribute" tenían ciertas similitudes con "Stairway to Heaven", de Led Zeppelin sugiriendo así que "la mejor canción del mundo" era de hecho aquella. En la versión final, sin embargo, los indicios casi desaparecieron por completo. Tres canciones siguieron a "Tribute": "Wonderboy", "Dio" y "Fuck her gently". "Dio", es un tributo al músico Ronnie James Dio, en donde le piden que deje de hacer rock y darles tiempo para alcanzarlo como músicos. A Dio le gustó tanto la canción que invitó a Tenacious D a participar en su video "Push". El video de "Fuck her gently" (mayo 2004) mostraba animaciones de Spümcø, el estudio creador de la serie Ren y Stimpy. Gran parte de las canciones en el disco vienen precedidas de "sketchs" en los que Jack y Kyle pasan por una discusión o por el proceso creativo que termina finalmente en la canción. La mayoría de estos sketchs fueron adaptados de episodios de la serie "Tenacious D", pasada en HBO.

Rightfully hailed as "the greatest band on Earth," the super-sized acoustic metal/comedy duo Tenacious D was an unlikely success story. Actually, Tenacious D was probably so successful precisely because they were so unlikely: few people would imagine that two chunky guys bashing on acoustic guitars, singing songs like a tribute to the greatest song in the world (because they forgot how the greatest song in the world went after conquering the Devil with it) became one of the biggest cult bands of the late '90s and 2000s. But the sheer charisma, humor, and energy -- not to mention inspired songwriting -- of singers/guitarists/actors Jack Black and Kyle Gass (aka JB, Jables, KG, and Kage, among other aliases) took them from L.A.'s underground comedy scene to their own series on HBO and a major-label album deal. The crazed, wide-ranging sense of humor and intensity that Black brought to Tenacious D also made him a sought-after character actor, appearing in films like Bob Roberts, The Cable Guy, and Saving Silverman; Gass' film career includes supporting roles in Jacob's Ladder, Idle Hands, and Evolution. Similarly, the D's act showcased Black's theatrical, versatile vocals and Gass' deft support on the guitar in seemingly stream-of-consciousness songs about smoking pot, the duo's musical and sexual prowess, and subjects straight out of Dungeons & Dragons, as well as in equally absurd and inventive sketches. The duo met at an acting class and began playing together in 1994, making their live debut later that year at Al's Bar, playing just one number, the aforementioned homage to the world's greatest song, "Tribute." In the audience that night was comedian/actor David Cross, who invited Black and Gass to appear with him and other like-minded performers such as Ben Stiller and Janeane Garofalo in a series of alternative comedy shows. The D soon headlined shows at venues like Pedro's and Largo, planting the seeds of a die-hard cult following; not even their inauspicious film debut in 1996's Bio-Dome slowed their momentum. The following year, their appearances on Bob Odenkirk and Cross' brilliant HBO sketch comedy program Mr. Show With Bob and David and a 1998 performance of "Sex Supreme" -- which sang the praises of a ménage à trois with KG and JB -- on Saturday Night Live hinted at the duo's just-beneath-the surface popularity, which began to rise into the mainstream with the group's 1999 HBO series. Though it lasted just three episodes, Tenacious D included, among other adventures, the group's search for "Inspirato," the cosmic creative force; the love triangle between Black, Gass, and a heavily pierced, Satanic clog dancer who threatened to destroy the group; and the discovery of Lee, Tenacious D's biggest fan. More of the D's brilliantly dumb songs debuted on the show, and fans began trading and auctioning video and audiotapes of Tenacious D. The duo also played opening gigs for friends like Beck, Pearl Jam, and the Foo Fighters and embarked on their first full-fledged tour; Epic won a bidding war to sign the group. In 2000, Black's popularity and prominence as an actor grew with roles in films like Jesus' Son and, especially, High Fidelity, where his turn as the larger-than-life record store clerk Barry made him a bona-fide star. Meanwhile, the group worked on a self-titled debut album with the Dust Brothers, Dave Grohl, Phish's Page McConnell, Redd Kross' Steve McDonald, and other friends. In 2001, the D's momentum hit critical mass: The group set out on their second nationwide tour, playing significantly larger venues than before and selling out many of their dates. And, despite an attempt to recall Tenacious D at the last moment because of its back cover, which depicted two babies chained to an altar, their debut entered the charts at a surprisingly strong number 33. Meanwhile, Spumco, the production company of Ren & Stimpy mastermind John K., crafted an appropriately witty and raunchy video for the single "Fuck Her Gently," and, last but not least, the duo continued work on a Tenacious D movie.