FEW are given the chance to be unfunny across multiple disciplines; in that respect, if no other, Tenacious D are remarkable. Across television shows, films, albums and web series, Jack Black and Kyle Gass have taken a one-note joke, hammered it into the ground, then trampled all over it. Though the dominant sound of Tenacious D is the acoustic guitar, they are above all a comedy heavy-metal band. Their lyrics parody—albeit with a certain amount of affection—the excesses of the genre, particularly the ones in which the singer is blessed with extraordinary sexual abilities or those that involve terrifying encounters with the supernatural. Heavy metal, of all the musical styles, is the most susceptible to ridicule. In both cases, the gags became less funny as the comedians turned the projects into touring bands, appearing at festivals and making albums. The Darkness reached the top of the British charts in with a version of metal, one they always denied was a spoof but which trod the line between sincere and parody so finely that an awful lot of people who would never buy a real metal album lapped it up and revelled in its ridiculousness they imploded in amid drugs and bickering, like a real metal band. In America, Steel Panther employed much the same modus operandi , their albums popping up in both the Billboard comedy and rock charts. When Mike Judge wanted all-American idiots for his new animated show in , to whom did he turn?
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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 s. 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. The duo met at an acting class and began playing together in , 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. 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 's Bio-Dome slowed their momentum. 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.
The duo's name is derived from "tenacious defense", a phrase used by NBA basketball sportscaster Marv Albert. Prior to the release of Tenacious D's debut album Tenacious D , the duo had a three-episode TV series released on HBO , with the episodes broadcasting between and This series came about after the band had met David Cross on the Los Angeles music scene—and Black featuring in episodes of Mr. Show with Bob and David. The band also befriended former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl , and this would begin a working relationship between Foo Fighters and Tenacious D. In , they signed with Epic Records and the year after released Tenacious D, their debut album featuring a full band, including Grohl on the drums. The first single "Tribute" has since achieved cult-status, contributing to their popularity in the United Kingdom , Sweden , Ireland and Australia. In , the band hosted the comedy music festival Festival Supreme in Los Angeles, which would go on to host three more editions. Columbia Records released the album Post-Apocalypto on November 2, , just after the release of the sixth episode.
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