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Interview: Tenacious D

24th May 2012

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Tenacious D’s last album was The Pick of Destiny in 2006. In the years since they’ve been meditating – as well as working on their new album, Rize of the Fenix, a journey they describe as being “similar to that of Gandalph in The Lord of the Rings.”

Ahead of their world tour, Jack Black and Kyle Gass reveal why their best audiences are in the UK – and why their new album is scientifically proven to be better than an orgasm.

What has Tenacious D been up to in this time?

Jack: Well we’ve been working on our meditation, a lot of meditation. There’s been a lot of time spent in the Himalayas. There’s been a lot of exercise and diet. There’s been a lot of nose to the grindstone. That’s right; I’ve been nose to the ground stoned! We put out a DVD, about three years ago.

Kyle: That’s true. The Complete Master Works 2.

J: This time even more completer! We’ve been working very hard to complete a masterpiece, you know. But what else have you been up to?

K: I’ve made babies since last time.

J: I’ve been making babies too, but I just can’t find them.

K: Did you lose them?

J: I don’t know where they are. Maybe we’ll find them somewhere on the road!

So can you tell use a little bit about the inspiration behind the songs on this album, and a bit about your songwriting process?

J: Well my inspiration was really just my children. It’s kind of like when Creed found out about his baby and he wrote all those songs about it –  like ‘With Arms Wide Open’. This is kinda my Arms Wide Open album. Would you agree?

K: I don’t know, that’s the first I’ve heard!

J: I guess the inspiration was the haters, the non-believers, they inspired us to fight much harder. I mean, it’s definitely our comeback album. We’ve been gone for years. What was the inspiration K, besides fighting off the haters and the critics?

K: Well every song has its own story really. I mean, ‘Low Hangin’ Fruit’ was inspired by sexy, you know, sex. ‘Senorita’ was inspired by sex. Okay so I guess there’s a lot of sex in there.

J: The cover of the album is really a big raging boner. I guess the inspiration was orgasms. We should put orgasms on the special thanks list, I don’t know why we didn’t really.

K: Not until we get more, more and better ones.

J: I don’t need more, I have all the orgasms I need.

K: Really?

J: Well, if you have more orgasms then they’re not as good, you know that. You’ve gotta spread them out. If you’re gonna want an orgasm every night, it lessens their explosivity. You’ve got to hold off sometimes, just to have a bigger blow-out.

Have you received any feedback?

J: Everyone who’s heard it so far has creamed, they’ve creamed upon it. The songs are better than orgasms, it’s been proven scientifically. They’ve wired people's brains and when they listen to the album their pleasure cylinders fire on all cylinders. K, can I get your back up on this?

K: I’ve read every review so far and they’ve varied about 90% positive. There was a bad one.

J: Who fucking dared?!

K: I can’t remember who it was! It said the big comeback falls short.

J: What a dick! Well my mum likes it a lot.

K: That guys either a liar or has the worst taste.

J: That fucking asshole can just chew on it all day long. And when I say ‘it’ I mean my shit.

A fair chunk of your tour is going to be spent in Europe in June. What do you like about performing for this audience? What are you hoping for these shows?

J: Well we’ve never played in Germany before so that will be interesting. We’re looking forward to seeing if the hunger for The ‘D’ is as ravenous as we’ve heard. But the UK has always been some of the best shows we’ve ever had. They just have a deeper appreciated for rock than the rest of the world. And it makes sense, I would say most of the best rock has come from the UK, and it makes sense that they would appreciate it more. Wouldn’t you agree K?

K: I do, I think the people in the UK are just a little smarter, a little more sophisticated. Thank you UK.

What kind of British rock do you like?

J: I don’t know if you’ve heard of these kids, the Arctic Monkeys? I like some Arctic Monkeys, and have you heard of a band called Biffy Clyro? We had to open for them. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, there’s just some really great bands.

And you’re also playing Download in June. What can we expect from your set?

J: Well I’ve heard that if they don’t like you they throw urine at you. Hopefully we’ll be well liked. But you should expect an umbrella – I’ll bring an umbrella just in case. As much as I appreciate the golden showers, I don’t think it would be safe - there’s possible electrocution.

K: I think we’ll be playing fewer songs than we usually do.

J: That’d right, the festival crowd – you’ve got to keep it tight.

K: Look forward to a very economical set.

J: You can expect a spirited…no, muscular set. There should be a sexier word than muscular, but fuck it. It’s gonna be a good set.

K: Enthusiastic?

J: No…

K: Stimulating?

J: But you’ll be hearing new songs. We’re gonna kick the teeth right out of the gig with some new songs.

K: We’ll massage their libidos in the second half with some old favourites.

J: But it’s probably gonna be about 45 minutes of love.

Do you have anything else you would like to add?

J: Thanks UK, we’ll see you soon. And one more message for Europe: just stay alive. Because it would be a shame if you died before the D came into town. You don’t want to miss this.

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