Tenacious D Tell You How To Behave

As Tenacious D, Kyle Gass and Jack Black parody, yet also glorify, the majestic stadium rock of the '70s and '80s. And now they are public radio's moral compass.

Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Tenacious D have put out three albums, a feature film, and are currently touring the world. On the eve of their annual music and comedy extravaganza, Festival Supreme — which goes down Saturday, October 25th in L.A. — we decided to crown them etiquette experts.

Brendan Francis Newnam: Each week you send in your questions about how to behave, and here to answer them today… are Jack Black and Kyle “KG” Gass, AKA Tenacious D. Using naught but their mighty guitars, soaring voices, and penetrating wit, they have fashioned hilarious yet actually masterful operatic rock music since forming in 1994. They also starred in their own movie, “The Pick of Destiny.” And Jack starred on his own in a few movies no one saw, like “School of Rock”…

Rico Gagliano: …”King Kong,” little stuff.  Here’s a clip from their song, “Tribute,” in which they slay a demon with the best song in the world.

Rico Gagliano: Oh, it is glorious.

Brendan Francis Newnam: This weekend, they will rock completely out at their annual rock and comedy fest called Festival Supreme. It takes place at the Shrine Exposition Hall and grounds in Los Angeles on October 25th. Jack, Kyle, welcome to our show.

Kyle Gass: Thank you.

Jack Black: Thank you for having us.

Rico Gagliano: So we asked you here to answer our audience’s etiquette questions…

Kyle Gass: Very good move. You’ve come to the right place.

Rico Gagliano: I know, we suffer from no delusions — you are the most famous rock band that exists on earth, so we’re not going to pretend you haven’t misbehaved on the road. Want to maybe give us a particular moment of bad behavior that leaps to mind?


I don’t want to bore you with the details.

Rico Gagliano: Can we even talk about that on public radio?

Kyle Gass: I don’t think it’s a good idea.

Brendan Francis Newnam: Okay, so what’s the bougie-est situation you’ve found yourself in on the road?

Kyle Gass: The booziest?

Brendan Francis Newnam: Bougie-est. Like, most bourgeois. Are you like Bryan Ferry? You have green juice backstage, and masseuses?

Jack Black: We have had a few deep tissue massages but nothing really bougie. We’re a pretty low maintenance crew. Me and KG, we keep it real. We’re still Tenacious-from-the-block.

Rico Gagliano: So you just find a cheap hotel room, smash it up…

Kyle Gass: Well, actually, we do try to find the best hotel.

Jack Black: Yeah, we pride ourselves on paying no dues.

Brendan Francis Newnam: There we go.

You know, you guys write funny music, but people make a lot of the fact that you are actually talented musicians. I’m wondering, in your opinion, who is the funniest non-funny band? Unintentionally funny.

Kyle Gass: Creed.

Rico & Brendan: Creed!

Kyle Gass: We actually have a copy of Scott Stapp’s autobiography at our rehearsal space and before each rehearsal, we just read, at random, a passage. And it’s always funny.
Jack Black: I don’t know — if you’ve ever seen “Styx: Behind the Music”?  It’s pretty magnificent. That was an amazing chapter in rock.

Kyle Gass: That is a good one.

Jack Black: But I should also say that I love Styx. They were my first love. That was the first album I bought, was “Grand Illusion.” But man, the “Domo Arigato” period is amazing.

Rico Gagliano: Can I tell you, I saw Styx on that concert tour

Jack Black: Oh my God.

Rico Gagliano: …And at the time, I think I was 13, I thought it was the best concert ever. It was kind of a melodramatic rock opera with an actual story…

Jack Black: Yeah!

Kyle Gass: We saw them. We saw them without the lead guy — what’s his name?

Rico Gagliano: Dennis DeYoung.

Kyle Gass: Yeah, and they had a guy that had a spinning keyboard on a hydraulic, and all he did was spin it the entire time. It was ridiculous.

Brendan Francis Newnam: All right, well are you guys ready to tell our audience how to behave?

Kyle Gass: Yes.

Jack Black: I think so.


Be Napoleon

Brendan Francis Newnam: Well, let’s begin then. Our first question comes from Seth in Roosevelt, New Jersey. Seth asks:

“What should you do if you have a ringtone you really like, but everyone else thinks is really annoying?”

Kyle Gass: Captain your own ship. Live by your own rules. March to the beat of your own drummer. Why are you so concerned about what other people think?  If you like it, you keep it! My ringtone is “Caribbean Rhythm,” I believe.

Jack Black: Yeah, you think Napoleon cared about what people thought of his ringtone?

Rico Gagliano: I don’t.

Jack Black: I mean, history is littered with amazing people who didn’t care.

Rico Gagliano: Play what you want, when you want.

Jack Black: Yes.


Bogus Balls and So-Called Buddies

Rico Gagliano: All right. Here’s something from Lake Ozark, Missouri. This is Jeff, and Jeff writes:

“I play golf with a buddy of mine and every time he hits one in the woods, he miraculously finds it. I’m not saying he’s cheating but he must hit it so hard, it changes logos. Should I call him out or not?”

Jack Black: I’d try to get some video evidence before I called him out.

Kyle Gass: No, golf is a game of integrity and good sportsmanship, and you have to count your strokes — and if he’s not, yeah, bust him on it.

Jack Black: That’d be a pretty satisfying bust, though; if you took a picture of his ball before he started playing, and then presented the hard, cold evidence when he came in with a bogus ball? Ohhhh, delicious!

Brendan Francis Newnam: “That’s right, so-called golf buddy!”


Be Kind, Despite the Kids

Brendan Francis Newnam: All right, so our next question comes from Jay in Chicago. Jay writes:

“I’m of the old school: I was raised to get up and offer my seat to the elderly, women, handicapped folks etcetera, when riding on a public bus. However, I’ve just turned 50 and I’m old enough to get really uncomfortable standing on my commute. The morning bus is chock full of high school students who I know will not move to give a truly deserving person their seat. Am I a heathen if I don’t give up my seat?”

So Jay is 50, doesn’t want to get up anymore, but still feels that impulse.

Rico Gagliano: Even though there are kids that should get up.

Kyle Gass: Yeah, I’d say work through that and just get the hell up, for God’s sake!

Jack Black: Yeah.

Kyle Gass: Spread a little kindness.

Jack Black: Work the glutes while you’re at it.

Kyle Gass: Pay it forward. Get out of your seat.

Rico Gagliano: It occurs to me that you guys probably travel on a bus, right? When you tour?

Brendan Francis Newnam: You’re saying they tour on a public bus?

Kyle Gass: We do try to save money.

Rico Gagliano: I’m saying if the tour bus is so full of groupies that there’s only one seat left, which of you gets it?

Jack Black: Oh, that’s always Kyle.

Kyle Gass: Yeah, it’s gonna be me. I’m much older than Jack.

Jack Black: The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and KG is in never-ending squeal. [whining] “That’s KG’s corner! Guys, please!”

Kyle Gass: I don’t travel that well! I need comforts.

Rico Gagliano: I guess that’s your answer, Jay. Stand up.


We Must Ask About the Moustache

Rico Gagliano: Here is something from Katie in Burbank, California. Katie writes:
“Is it impolite to grow a moustache for ironic effect? And, if someone has an ironic moustache, is it gauche to acknowledge it, or does the irony of it go unspoken?”

Kyle Gass:Man. Never has more been said about so little. It does remind me of that movie you did, Jack, where you grew an ironic moustache.

Jack Black: “Margot at the Wedding.”

Kyle Gass: “Margot at the Wedding”! That was a funny bit, though.

Jack Black: Thanks for watching that!

Brendan Francis Newnam: Also in “Bernie.” I believe Bernie had a moustache. Right?

Kyle Gass: That was quite a character motif.

Jack Black: Yeah, I mean, it’s rude only to the moustache culture that takes it seriously. Like, your police officers… I mean, that’s the thing: You don’t wanna piss off the dudes that really take a moustache seriously.

Brendan Francis Newnam: Porn stars and police officers.

Jack Black: So, I’m going to say, I don’t know that it’s rude, but I do think it’s dangerous.

Rico Gagliano: If you’re not a police officer, keep the ironic moustache inside your face.


Hanging Out in Neil Young’s Barn

Brendan Francis Newnam: So here’s our last question, and we ask this of all of our guests on the etiquette segment. The question is, what’s the most memorable get-together you’ve been to? Details, please.

Kyle Gass: You know, that night at Neil Young’s house was pretty…

Jack Black: Oh, that was the one!That was it!

Brendan Francis Newnam: Was that real?

Jack Black: Yeah, we played this benefit a few years ago. The Bridge School benefit that Neil Young does every year. And the night before, he has everyone come out to his crazy barn house that he’s, like, been building slowly for the last 30 years? And it looks kind of like a Scooby-Doo mansion?  And we were just kicking it, out by the fire, barbecuing some dogs with Thom Yorke and…

Kyle Gass: …James Taylor…

Jack Black: …And Neil Young. And then it’s like, “What is Tenacious D doing here?!”

Kyle Gass: “What’s wrong with this picture?”

Jack Black: “This is heaven!”

Kyle Gass: “Why are we here?!”

Brendan Francis Newnam: I’m picturing that campfire. So, Neil Young plays “Harvest,” Thom Yorke plays “Creep” or something. And then they go to you guys… what was your move there?

Jyle Gass: Well, we weren’t really kickin’ it around the fire sharing songs.

Jack Black: No, we weren’t jammin’, we were just talking of life and staring, longingly, into the stars.

Jyle Gass: Just trying to pretend like it’s no big deal.

Jack Black: I don’t know that that was actually my favorite gathering of all time, because I was pretty nervous…

Kyle Gass: Yeah, that’s true.

Jack Black: You know who throws a good party is Sarah Silverman, on the roof. God, I’m dropping a lot of names in the last five minutes!

Rico Gagliano: We’ll get out of here before you make us totally jealous.

Brendan Francis Newnam: Thank you for telling our audience how to behave.

Jack Black: Hey, thanks for having us, bro.

Kyle Gass: You got it.