The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Tenacious D: Their epic musical quest to become rock gods

The self-proclaimed “Greatest Band In The World,” Tenacious D, is back with a new album, a new movie, and a new live show that will kick your ass with non-stop rock and roll.

“Tenacious D in: The Pick Of Destiny,” the new album, their sophomore effort, and movie, which comes out Nov 22, tells the story of Tenacious D, which was formed by lead singer Jack Black, best known for his roles in “King Kong” and “Nacho Libre,” and lead guitarist Kyle Gass. The story begins with a young Black, who, after fighting with his dad, pleads for guidance from Ronnie Dio, former lead singer of Black Sabbath and the man who made popular the horns hand gesture. Dio advises Black to go to Hollywood to find his partner. There, he meets Gass, together they form Tenacious D and go on a quest to become the greatest band in the world.

The live show, however, tells a different story while using the same songs. They open with a set of an apartment, complete with a 1960s era refrigerator, a Dio poster, an empty Krispy Kreme box, a bong on a side table, and a battered old couch. From under Spiderman and Superman blankets on the couch peek Gass and Black. Wordlessly, they rise and start to play.

“Thanks for coming out to Kyle’s apartment jam,” Black said.

At first they just played acoustic songs, mostly from their 1999 self-titled debut album, but also included a couple from their new album, including “The Government Totally Sucks.” What’s more rock than an anti-establishment song?

“It’s like I’ve said for a long time: the government totally sucks,” Black said.

After a couple more songs, Black said that, as awesome as they are, they would be even more awesome if they went electric. He pulls out from behind the couch what is shaped like a guitar, but is really nothing more than a toilet seat and aluminum foil duct taped together. Plugging in the “guitar,” Black spills water on the floor, electrocuting both him and Gass. The stage goes dark and we see a video of Black and Gass going to hell.

“I don’t think we’re in hell. We’re in heaven,” Black said. “Think about it, no one knows. Maybe heaven is red and hot.”

It seems like Black is right when they find Jesus shredding on a double-neck guitar. That is, until they found out that it is actually the Antichrist. Recruiting the Antichrist, along with Charlie Chaplin on bass and Colonel Sanders on drums, The D goes electric just like they planned.

“From now on we shall be known as The Fellowship of the D,” Black said.

Another curtain drops, and a scene of Hell is revealed, complete with fuming volcanoes and a pile of skulls for the drums to rest on, all made of cardboard.

“Man, I thought there were a lot of people in my apartment. It’s @#%*in’ crowded down here,” said Gass.

After playing a few more songs from their new album, including the powerful ballad “Dude (I Totally Miss You),” they played “Master Explorer.” Even though the song is all about how they are so awesome they do not need amplification, it becomes painfully obvious they’re lip-synching and acting along to a pre-recorded song, especially when the drums come in and Gass starts playing two guitars at once. “Even though it was satanic Milli Vanilli, it still took a lot out of me,” Black said.

He then tells Gass to play “that one song.” After talking to the Antichrist for a minute and flapping his arms, Gass, in one of the coolest moments of the show, begins to play “And Your Bird Can Fly” by The Beatles. Gass only manages to play a few bars before Black tells him to stop, but it was still a treat.

From there, the show follows the story of the album pretty closely. The D challenges Satan to a rock-off and even though they technically lose, they still manage to banish him, following “Beelzeboss (The Final Showdown).”

“Kickin’ ass on the devil really makes my dick hard,” Black said.

After they played one more song, the stage goes dark and Tenacious D leaves the stage. But the audience was having none of it. Chanting “D” and holding innumerable lighters in the air.

They came back out to thunderous applause and played a couple songs that did not fit into the story of the show, including my favorite “Tribute” and “@#%* Her Gently.”

When these songs were over, Gass started strumming a familiar tune, and, for perhaps the first time in the whole show, the audience was quiet. I was wondering what that familiar tune was. As they launched into the main part of the song it became instantly clear. Tenacious D covered three songs from the rock opera “Tommy,” including “Pinball Wizard.”

The whole show, like the album, was a constant display of rocking. Except for parts of “Papagenu (He’s My Sassafras),” a song acid trip of a song about sasquatch,

Unlike their 1999 self-titled debut album, this album had only a minimal amount of dialogue between songs explaining what was happening in the story. This gives the effect of a much more mature offering, focusing less on being a comedy album that rocks and more on being a hard rocking concept album.

The only way the album does not rock is its length. Though there are 15 tracks, all are less than two minutes except for the two main story songs, “Kickapoo,” which features Meat Loaf as Black’s dad and Dio as himself, and “Beelzeboss (The Final Showdown),” which features Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters and Nirvana fame as Satan.

Make no mistake, this album rocks, it just does not rock long enough. None of the songs feel too short, which I suppose is better than dragging too long. Like Black said introducing some of the new songs, “The next couple songs aren’t gonna’ make sense, cause the movie hasn’t come out yet, but when you see it, think back to the good times you had tonight.”

I know I definitely will.

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