Tenacious D

Go Jack Black; do it again

*Live At Roseland 7/22/00
*Tenacious D
*The Pick Of Destiny

Live At Roseland 7/22/00 - Epic 2000.
Rating = 8

You know what? Urban culture is for really smart people. Smart people who are going to make something out of their lives. Take Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, for example. He is a brilliant musician and songwriter who made his millions by creating challenging music for an elite core of urbanly cultured listeners. Likewise, Tenacious D, who sound like they SHOULD be an urban band, but are instead two obese guys with acoustic guitars. This is a bootleg that was forwarded to me via the "Mailboxnet" by a young fellow named Matt Robesch (or, as he likes to call himself, "Ttrobe"). This Ttrobe fellow thought that I might enjoy to hear a live double-CD of Tenacious D performing in Portland, OR, and that somehow it would tear me away from my 1975 Steppenwolf Hour Of The Wolf LP featuring "Caroline (Are You Ready For The Outside World)." It succeeded for a short period. And here's what's on it that may surprise you!

The Fat Albert theme, a Beatles medley featuring "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window" and "The End" (drum and guitar solos played by mouth!), Jack Black singing a capella "Heaven And Hell" by Black Sabbath, a song about penis glue called "Rocket Sauce" sung to the melody of The Beatles' "Blackbird," KG playing the riffs of "Crazy Train," "Sweet Child O' Mine" and "Mr. Brownstone" on his guitar with a hole in it, lots of "Stairway To Heaven" musical references in "Tribute," an uproarious audience participation bit where Jack Black has the crowd yelling "Rock!" "And!" "Roll!" and "Ten!" "Acious D!", and lots of unreleased originals (or what I guess are originals) like "Warning," "Jesus Ranch," "Special Thing," "Sasquatch," "Fucked Our Asses," "You Broke The Rules," "Kyle Took A Bullet For Me," "Cosmic Shame," "Hare Krishna," "Shells," "The Five Needs" and "Spider-Man Vs. The Flash." Perhaps these songs were featured in the television series. Being too important and well-read to waste my time on such a juvenile pursuit as the "dumb guy box," I wouldn't know.

Taken across a loose two hour show, it becomes evidentually prevalent that these guys are more "fun" than they are "funny." A lot of the song melodies are really pretty, the vocal harmonies are amazingly pretty considering who they are, and some of the lyrics are clever ("Tribute" is SUCH a bright idea), but too much of it is bogged down by unfunny cussing. Singing "motherfucker" in and of itself isn't funny. Neither is just acting like an asshole without a good joke to back it up. Sometimes Jack Black has a joke, but when he doesn't, his bratty persona wears really thin. Like a turtleneck sweater on a starving child!!!!

I realize that many of you may consider that last joke to be in poor taste. What you have to take into consideration is that, phrased as it is, it doesn't actually make any sense.

Thus, urban culture = how bad the bottom of my foot smells sometimes.

Did you say TURBAN CULTURE???? Hey Osama! If you like skyscrapers so much, stick THIS up your ass!

I don't actually have a skyscraper here in the room with me.

Add your thoughts?

Tenacious D – Sony 2001.
Rating = 8

Several months ago, I was walking through Greenwich Village with my friend and former colleague Eric Litchfield when he suddenly turned to me and spoke these words, “Have you ever heard of Tenacious D?” Naturally, I assumed he was speaking of a hip-hop outfit of ill repute, but as the words continued out of his mouth, on and on interminably as hours turned into months, something suddenly occurred to me: this was no rap artist at all! And was, thus, GOOD!

Derek Snitchfield told me about how it was a duo that played hilarious acoustic songs and that the main guy was that Jack Black fellow from Jon Cusack’s record-breakingly forgettable motion picture High Fidelity. I enjoyed Mr. Black’s performance as the asshole record store guy, so was tickled to my tummy when Splerik Mitchfield explained that Mr. Black performed the same kind of hateful but funny character on what I guess was an HBO TV show or something. You tell me – I don’t have TV anymore. It is part of the past.

This CD is the first musical debut CD by this debut, along with several big-name star attractions like drummer David Grohl of Seattle’s own Nirvana, lead electric guitarist Warren Fitzgerald of The Vandals (whose music was featured in an X-Files episode featuring Jack Black and a young Giovanni Ribisi prior to his amazing leap to superstardom in The Mod Squad) and Page McConnell, who wasn’t that guy in Helmet. The CD is comprised of bombastic, hilarious and mostly acoustic songs about sex (“Fuck Her Gently,” “Kielbasa,” “Double Team”), drugs (there aren’t any songs about drugs) and rock and roll (“Dio,” “Tribute,” “The Road,” “Rock Your Socks”). Sort of like an unplugged Spinal Tap (yet completely dissimilar to the *actual* unplugged Spinal Tap, The Folksmen), Tenacious D curse, boast and folkishly croon like David Crosby about all manner of ridiculous situations and complications, usually about how much they rule and of how important a universal force is the power of rock. Even when they’re not funny, they’re catchy. Don’t question me about “catchy.” A song is “catchy” if it makes you want to sing along to it because you enjoy the melody so much. And that’s what I mean by it. I don’t need to take any courses on music appreciation to know what catchy means. So drop it.

Interspersed between the songs are little skits which I suppose might be taken from the show but again I’ve never seen the show because television is for rubes, so you tell me. Ludicrous gags like “One Note Song,” (in which Jack Black “invents” a song with one note and then brags about it), “Inward Singing” (in which Jack Black “invents” a style of singing that allows him to rock nonstop all night long) and “Drive-Thru” (in which Jack Black orders about five million different items at a drive-thru window, including filet-of-fish “because it has less fat in it, because it’s fish” before yelling at his cohort Kyle Gass for “taking forever” to order his two items) sit pleasantly in the annals of situational comedy heretofore occupied by such masters as Steve Martin, Adam Sandler and the Not Ready For Prime Time Players. However, not all the gags are worth it, and garbage like “Hard Fucking” (dirty but no real punchline), “Cock Pushups” (dirty but no real punchline) and “Karate Schnitzel” (not even DIRTY and STILL no punchline!) makes me wonder if the show itself is more Friends (a terrible show starring assholes and watched by morons with shit on their dicks) than Sledgehammer (a fantastic Hunter parody that was killed before its time).

Man, I haven’t thought of Hunter in hella years.

In conclusion, Tenacious D doesn’t strike gold nonstop from intro to coda, but a lot of it is super espressoly good, especially since they bothered writing good anthemic music to go with the bombastic lyrics!

Reader Comments

chaucer@ix.netcom.com (Ryan Maffei)
Page McConnell is the pianist/organist from Phish! I have a Phish page on you site! Maybe if more people read this review, they'll actually start coming to my page! Could you maybe, like, devise a banner or something?

By the way, this album is excellent, and funny as hell.

So is my Phish page! Visit it!

jfiero1@lsu.edu (Joshua Fiero)
"Karate Schnitzel" will make you laugh like a loon if you've seen the show. The setup for the number is way, way better, and Kyle and Jack actually kung-fu fight! Well, sort of.

I was a little trepidatious when I first listened to this album; a full band sound? Production by the motherfucking DUST BROTHERS?! Surely, surely not! But I should have known better! Tenacious D is just a big egofest set to music ("We ride with kings on mighty steeds across the devil's plain/ We walked with Jesus and His Cross/ He did not die in vain"), so the bombastic instrumentation and slick, busy production suits the songs perfectly.

Have you seen the video for "Wonderboy?" MY GOD! This album's only half the story, as good as it is. You've got to SEE the "D." That makes the joke whole. Still, no special edition DVD as yet, and the movie's still in pre-production, so the CD will have to do. And it does nicely. If it's your introduction to the band, Mark's rating sums the experience up nicely (a lot of laughs mixed in with a little "what the fuck?"), but if you're a fan already, and you can picture KG and JB in your head as you sing along, bump that eight up to a nine.

aliciarules@hotmail.com (Alicia Rose)
i throughly enjoyed your tenacious d review, but i don't think you should review their cd until you see the episodes. they had a few shorts on hbo which are the FUNNIEST things ever. if you like the cd, you really should look into a tape. almost all of the songs are from the episodes. you should really check them out. www.tenaciousd.com. it's great. goooooooooo

Do people really think that these flubbery, fat, smelly pigs are funny? A bunch of gay tossed off skits referencing pop culture, Ronnie James Dio and fucking. This is not original or really that humorous. Jack Black is a cock and he is an ass-eater. Prindle is an ass-eater too for actually liking this vaginal blood-fart of a recording. Really it was the Spinal tap references that did me in. That was the defilement of sacred ground. I issue forth a fatwa calling for all lovers of Tenacious D to eternally perform analingus on Bea Arthur.

By the way, if you think that farts are funny, look at my site http://www.cakefart.com.

jfiero1@lsu.edu (Joshua Fiero)
Dear Cabbage:

You're almost as big a dick as the one I'm sticking in your mom. She sends her love, btw.

I stand by my opinion about the Sweatloaf fag band Tenacious D. and to you, Joshua Fiero, don't get me started about yo mama - Yo mama is fat, she uses bacon strips as band-aids.

sweating101@yahoo.com (Nikolaos Sergakis)
Great debut!!! Some of the tracks are just joke tracks. Wait all the tracks are joke tracks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love this band and the album it deserves a 9 though. But that is your opinion. And another thing the cock pushup thing was funny at first but it has got to stop. My old buddies from Hammond are always talking about that and I think they are gay (wait a minute they are).

One aspect of TD that Mark didn't touch on is the band's bootleg tradin' cult following. Many of Tenacious' early live shows are circulating the "black market" waiting for you to track them down. Dozens of D performances (from their open mic / comedy club days in L.A. to their recent big-ass tours with bands like Weezer and Jimmy Eat World) can be enjoyed and many of them are both musically and comically brilliant. The best quality Tenacious D recording I've heard was from Roseland in Portland, OR (7-22-00). Prior to Tenacious D, the band was a two-piece acoustic act that had never gone electric. Thus TD was accurately described as an "acoustic heavy metal" band... possibly the only one ever!

I'd have to give Tenacious D a 6. Some of the comedy bits fall flat after a few listens, the rest were flat to begin with. The bits sound rushed AND improvised... a bad combination in any artform. From the live recordings, I must've heard six or seven different lead-ins to "Kyle Quit the Band" - all of them hilarious - but the "Kyle Quit..." intro on this album is just lame. Also, I found the 'Cleveland steamer' request from the new "Rock Your Socks Off" to be moronic if not infantile. For years the band would stop the song and request the audience 'drop trou and show us some boooosh!' Note to Jack and Kyle: Stop hanging out with the Farrelly Brothers, please! Believe it or not, it's diminishing your act.

In Addition to those few content tweaks the most regrettable thing about Tenacious Dis how KG's contribution seems so minimized. His brilliant acoustic guitar work (very evident on the live recordings) is drowned out by aggressive, bombastic hard rock versions of songs we've come to love in their original unplugged form. Positives: JB's voice is in fine shape and he hands in a great vocal performance that he should be proud of. The band they assembled rocks... It's nice to hear that Dave Grohl is still a genius on the drums and Warren Fitzgerald (who also spent a few years with Oingo Boingo) shreds his documents nicely. And this album does actually rock and make you laugh in parts.

Apparently there HAD to be an electric rock TD album... so this one will do fine, I s'pose.

toppoop@neo.rr.com (Tim)
I'd would just like to give credit to David Cross and Bob Odenkirk for directing and doing everything for The D's episodes on HBO. Everyone should also try to get their hands on some of Bob and David's show "Mr. Show" because J.B. appears on it numerous times and the shows rocks the house. Look for the Mr. Show movie too, that includes Jack and the rest of the crew...it'll be a good one!

amcquill@shaw.ca (Andrew McQuillan)
Yeah! Jack Black was really great on Mr Show, namely Joke, the Musical! and Jeepers Creepers. I remember he was in a few other skits too. Haven't heard much of the album, but goddamn, I really like 'Tribute' and 'Wonderboy'.

punkboy@nycap.rr.com (Pat)
Dear dick or whatever you call yourself,

You analyze things way to much, you ramble on and you make me want to shoot myself in the face just to get you annoying bitching out of my head. Tenacious D didn't make their music to be serious. Its suppose to be funny. Tenacious D made their album as a goof and didn't expect to get any aclaim for it. You don't know what you're talking about.You are a useless cocksucker that deserved to be fucked in the eye by a retarded dog. So, either shut the fuck up or stick a cock in it, asshole!

P.S. I hope you die in a car crash.

karma_j@hotmail.com (Karma J. Mustafa)
Looking for verification on whether or not "wonderboy" is about the Sega Master System game. You know, chubby little guy in a loin-cloth, runs around throwing hatchets at inanimate snails and shit. The bad guy was this king who had ten alternating heads. Helluva game. Song doesn't do it any justice. How over, it could be totally unrelated, in which case, what do these comments matter to anyone?

product@tenvic.com.au (Tenvic Production)
This cd is the most refreshing thing to happen in music in a long time. Having just caught the boys' show a couple weeks ago I can honestly say that they rock ass!!!! Cabbage get a life you fag. U are obvioously a little jack osbourne like faggy boy who knows Jack shit about what sounds good and what is funny. Get bent!!!

they rock!!!!!!!!!!! wow wot a band i love wonder boy its better than tribute.so to anyone who doesnt like them get a life!!!!

hmmmm, the d? They rocked my motherfuckin socks off from the first time since i saw the video for tribute. I got the album, thought, man this is all good, and from there have realised the god like work that is the tv show! All i say in anger is that the film will not be out till 2005. 2005! what the fuck, how the hell am i gonna get my socks rocked off, and man, anyone that doesn't like it has had a sense of humour failure, or they may just be a diligent fuckwit!!! have a good one

bsumpter@bigpond.net.au (Barry G. Sumpter)
TD rocks!

Didn't Jack Black co-host a music awards ceremony with Sarah Marie Geller? He was freakin' hilarious and he was so cool trying to get it with Sarah. Anyone know of anything else he's done?

Good review. Just to inform you that Arabs don't wear turbans; Sikhs do.

I'm indifferent on the album, but I loved the Sledgehammer reference. Actually, the reference was only okay, but that show ruled! It was killed before its time, but then again, hardly anyone really 'got' it.

Whoever added a thingy to JB and KG themselves (talkin to you mattro@raptorial.com) you're an idiot, and should probably shoot yourself in the chin with a nailgun, or at least something remotely painful (like a champagne cork). What makes you think that anyone that wasn't looking up song tabs and ended up here by mistake would actually read your pretentious bullcrap analysis, you muthafuckin cock-juggling thundercunt? I mean, cummon, "I found it to be moronic, if not infantile...blahblahblah"...YOU WROTE ON THIS PAGE, AND YOUR INSULTING SOMEONE ELSES INTELLECT?!?!? Shit stabbing, sister fuckin hypocrit, go die in a bin, somewhere nasty (like CockneyLand).

P.S. It ain't hypocritical for me to say this shit, cos I ain't pretendin to be above it ;)

P.P.S. Tenacious D rock, kill anyone who disagrees (or at least throw a shoe at them).

P.P.P.S. I ain't got a problem with anyone else, just that horse-blowing fuckface, whoever they were.

P.P.P.P.S. Normally I'm nicer, but I got hit by a car the other day, and I ain't allowed to walk till bone starts healing. May you all remain fertile with a full head of hair till the end of your days (except mattro, who will lose whatever they pass off as a reproductive system to a hungry goat, and have all their hair move in front of their ass, so any shit leaving gets tangled and they need a collostamy bag for the rest of their lives).

Night everyone.

I'd love to hear what you think of Stephen Lynch... he sounds absolutley, positivley right up your alley. It's like Tenacious D done one better.... better singing, better jokes, no 'Fucking fucking fuck' every 3 seconds (except in the Jesus song... natch.... actually, the song's called 'Craig') more subtle backup band. Check him out if you haven't already.

Add your thoughts?

The Pick Of Destiny - Epic 2006
Rating = 8

Webster's Dictionary defines it as "A pertinacious, persistent, stubborn, or obstinate fourth letter of the alphabet." But to the rest of the world, it's simply "

Shortly after submitting the preceding reviews, I was granted the opportunity to view for myself a few episodes of the Tenacious D TV show. And believe me, it didn't take a genius to discover that Jack Black's schtick gets really fuckin' old after about ten minutes. His character is, simply put, a complete asshole. There are a few funnymen that can pull off the 'complete asshole' schtick in an endearing and idiosyncratic way -- Ted Knight comes to mind. But - and obviously this is just my preference talking; not yours or anybody else's - all too often the complete unpleasantness of this stock character drowns out any potential comedy antics that threaten to ensue. I've never understood the psychology behind people enjoying a character/personality that they would out-and-out loathe in real life (ex. Harvey Korman). And I don't mean just "all villains" in general, because some entertainment villains have terrific personalities that are easy to enjoy (for example - the ignorant dickheaded character portrayed by Andrew Dice Clay is so hilariously over-the-top you could never mistake it for a real person). But characters that are just snivelling, self-obsessed, obnoxious pricks hit a little too close to reality for me to find them all that clever or worthwhile. I mean, I can deal with David Spade for about four minutes, but that's it.

As such, my enthusiasm for Tenacious D waned newton and I moved on to the next hilarious funny gag duo (Townshend and Daltrey). But then, years later, my good friend and funnyman Neil Hamburger alerted me to his cameo appearance in a new film entitled Tenacious D: The Pick Of Destiny. "Wow!" I thought. "I'll have to go se.... oh wait. Jack Black's in it, I guess?"

As further such, I haven't seen the film, nor do I plan to. However, I'm pleased as patoot to discover that regardless of my disdain for Mr. Black's cshcstickh, the music still rules. This band's songs are funny, brilliantly faux-dramatic, vocally harmonious, and sometimes even ass-kicking! Plus, this time around, it's a CONCEPT ALBUM!!!

Oh okay, it's really more of a movie soundtrack than a concept album, but even so, it sounds like a CONCEPT ALBUM!!! The 34-minute, 15-song CD details Jack 'JB' Black's musical career from (a) "a long-ass fuckin' time ago" under domineering anti-rock father Meat Loaf through (b) the formation and rise to power of his band Tenacious D, (c) the subsequent break-up of his band, (d) the discovery that his real father is not Meat Loaf at all, but in fact a Sasquatch, (e) the triumphant reunion of his band, (f) a car chase, and (g) a Rock-Off against Satan. I'm pretty sure that's what happens, anyway. Presumably the movie expands on these plot details.

The important point is that the album itself works even without the movie because it is a near-perfect parody of the dumbass pretentious nonsense that Rush was creating in the mid- to late-70s. Every chord sequence resonates with a ridiculously self-important sense of HIGH DRAMA, even as Jack sings lyrics like "We've been through so much shit/Deactivated lasers with my dick." Acoustic strumming and three-part harmonies share space with distorted hard rock blow-outs, classical guitar (in the most literal sense of the phrase), gentle power ballads, Boston-style dual-harmony guitar solos, bubblegum folk with clavinet, and honestly kick-ass punk-metal (hence David 'Satan' Grohl's non-rhyming boast, "I'm the devil!/I like metal!/Check this riff:/It's fuckin' tasty!").

Although I doubt that Jack and Kyle have thought about it in these terms, I think the most important part of what they're saying with their music (and the same can be said of Spinal Tap before them) is that it's okay to both love rock music and make fun of how stupid and predictable it is. I know that my reviews periodically imply (through precise, unambiguous language) that music is fun but "not important in the great scheme of life." I think I'm ready to amend that statement. For some reason that I don't pretend to understand, music of some sort or another seems to play a role in the lives of almost every human society. There is something important about it that compels us to perform and listen to it on a regular basis, whether we're a tribe carrying baskets on our head in Zimbabwe or an office full of greedy stockbrokers hoping people die so we can make more money. Maybe it's just that life would be too fuckin' quiet and boring without music? Who knows. I just know that whenever no music is playing, I get a very strong urge to make music be playing. So if you ever see me say anywhere on this site that "music isn't important," replace the last two words with "is the most important thing in the world, dwarfing such frivolous concerns as medical advances and breathable air."

Reader Comments

I agree with the review and rating, the album is pretty funny, I just got back from seeing the movie and it was kind of dissappointing I maybe laughed one time.

rkay51@hotmail.com (Ryso)
Good site Mark, thanks for all the free reviews.

My thoughts on the aforementioned review/cd -

I can't believe you didn't see the film, and you actually know Neil Hamburger! my friend and I didn't know he was in the film, it was a great surprise and prompted a brief round of applause in shock from us both. We were hoping he would get to tell a joke though.

Whilst we did have a great old laugh at the film, it wasn't wall to wall laugh out loud kind of laugh (absence of David Cross and Bob Odenkirk perhaps, who knows?) but it is nonetheless very enjoyable. Although if you don't like Jack Black (as you don't) I still won't recommend it to you.

In any case, I don't think this album is as good as the last one, whilst some criticised their debut for the skits, i in fact thought they were ruddy hilarious (especially drive thru (who knows why!)) so i miss that comedic element this time. I am also not sure that the songs will have the same staying power as the first set.

Anyways, Peace out 2006

i jsut wanted to say your blog is kinda gay i want to knwo the ending of tancious d and the pick of destiny not codas and shit i want to read about something sorta hip.if you would be so kind in finding the time to give me the ending of tancious d and the pick of destiny.

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