Is corporate rock so desolate we're excited about Tenacious D?
In about three weeks the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival will begin its two-week run, welcoming blues rockers the Black Keys in their new role as rock 'n' roll headliners. It will be a big moment for the duo of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, whose headliner status has arrived a decade into their career.
In terms of no-frills, working-class rock 'n' roll, the Black Keys are an anomaly at the top of the Coachella bill, which features hip-hop pioneer Dr. Dre and more experimental rock acts such as Radiohead and At the Drive-In. Beyond Coachella, the Black Keys are also outside the norm of what has typically passed for popular rock, their scruff the antithesis of the wait-for-the-chorus power chord release of, say, the Foo Fighters.
Perhaps that's why the return of Tenacious D feels rather quaint. The pair of Jack Black and Kyle Gass aren't parodying current trends as much as our nostalgic remembrances of rock 'n' roll stars of a bygone era. A new album, "Rize of the Phoenix," is due May 15 and was teased Tuesday with an extended, movie-parodying clip titled "To Be the Best." Foo Fighter leader Dave Grohl appears, and his likable self-deprecation isn't all that removed from the attitude of these rock-loving jokesters.
Tenacious D, for instance, have a blast poking fun at their very own ironic-but-not-ironic ways. As evidence, one of the central conceits of this new video is the poorly received 2006 Tenacious D film "The Pick of Destiny." Elsewhere, crooner Josh Groban has a cameo, and more puzzling is the fact that no one seems to mind when Val Kilmer is killed. Evidently, plenty is disposable in the world of Tenacious D.
Unlike the video below, Tenacious D's new song, the title track, isn't embeddable due to non-newspaper-friendly language. Name a classic rock band, and there's likely a reference in the tune, but far more fun is the cinematic teaser for the album.
-- Todd Martens
Image: Jack Black, left, and Kyle Gass with Dave Grohl. Screenshot of Tenacious D clip, "To Be the Best."