Kyle Gass, though known by fans as KG/Kage, is one half of the iconic Tenacious D and is one of the finest and brightest musicians around. On top of that, Gass is also currently a part of The Kyle Gass Band, an impressive lineup of highly skilled musicians who released their debut album last year.
I had the honor and the privilege to interview Kyle to talk about the D, The Kyle Gass Band, his favorite bands, a couple of his appearances in TV/film, and more!
Alex Obert: Dave Grohl has played drums on all three Tenacious D albums, but what is your personal relationship like with him?
Kyle Gass: Well I have to honestly say it’s more of a working relationship i.e. I see him really mostly when he drums on Tenacious D records, so maybe a day or two every five years. But when we do see each other, it’s a lot of fun! He’s a lot of fun to hang out with.
Alex Obert: And how about your relationship with John Konesky?
Kyle Gass: Well, we play together in my side project, the Kyle Gass Band. So we see each other constantly. We’re great pals.
Alex Obert: I’d love to go over a couple Tenacious D songs and get your thoughts on the writing, recording, and your general opinion of them.
Kyle Gass: Of course.
Alex Obert: Kielbasa.
Kyle Gass: I believe that was the opening track of our debut album, so that’s going back a ways. I think it’s one of our earliest songs. I remember I came on a little G lick and we found that opening G. So that sounds kinda nasty and Jack liked it and he gave it some nasty lyrics. We liked it. And then it became our introduction, our preamble to History.
Alex Obert: Kickapoo.
Kyle Gass: Well we needed a big intro for the movie, a history opening that tells you the history, a setup. And actually, Liam Lynch, who directed the movie, did a lot of heavy lifting in that song. He helped out with the writing.
Alex Obert: How did you get Ronnie James Dio to be a part of the song and the movie?
Kyle Gass: Well, we wrote a song for Dio on the first album and we were very curious like, “I wonder if he’s gonna hear it!” And apparently he did and we heard word back that he liked it. And then Dio used us in his video for Push like ten years ago. So we struck up a friendship and he’s a super nice guy, great dude. And we just asked him, thought we wrote him a really cool part, and he did it, which was great. Now of course, that he’s gone, it’s awesome that we captured him.
Alex Obert: How did it come about that Tenacious D covered The Last in Line on the Dio tribute album?
Kyle Gass: Well that’s a charity I think we’ve done some work for before, the one his wife owns. She just asked us, and you know, it sounds great. We love Dio, we love the charity, and it was great fun. It was really good!
Alex Obert: How was the opening guitar riff for Master Exploder developed?
Kyle Gass: It’s interesting because I wanted The Metal and John Konesky and I came up with The Metal riff together. And that was actually designed for the Master Exploder scene, coming up with a big and heavy signature song there. And actually, that Master Exploder riff is all Jack. Once in a while, I just have nothing to do with a song. But it came out great and John Konesky did some great, layered lead guitar work for the recording.
Alex Obert: In 2012, Tenacious D toured with The Sights. What are your thoughts on them?
Kyle Gass: We love The Sights. The Sights were great dudes and a really good band. We did a lot of shows with them, great band!
Alex Obert: Getting into acting, what are your thoughts on Undeclared?
Kyle Gass: Undeclared, an old, defunct Judd Apatow TV show? (laughs) Well I liked it, but I was on it, so maybe I’m biased. I thought it was a funny show, it was kind of a continuation of Freaks and Geeks, but going into college with different characters. I did two episodes with Jason Segel and David Krumholtz. It was good.
Alex Obert: How did you get the part in Elf?
Kyle Gass: Well I think I replaced somebody because it was a last minute thing. One of the agents called last minute and said, “Can you be in Vancouver for this movie?” That’s where a lot of movies are shot. I knew Jon Favreau, we had some mutual friends, and then I think he directed one of the Undeclared episodes. And so someone dropped out or something and all of a sudden, the part was mine. Every Christmas ever, you’ll see me.
Alex Obert: Getting into The Kyle Gass Band, what are the band’s influences?
Kyle Gass: The classic rock genre. It’s an electric guitar, bass, and drums outfit. It’s back to basics classic rock, what I grew up on and what I enjoy playing. I don’t stray too far from that. Of course it’s me, so it has to have some humorous stuff in there. Similar to the D, I guess.
Alex Obert: What has Jack’s reaction been to your solo project?
Kyle Gass: Well, obviously he’s threatened by us and that is my master plan. We’re locked in an immortal competition that goes on forever. No, you know what, Jack’s really supportive. I’m joking. He realizes he’s got a whole ‘nother career doing motion pictures. I like to play music, so he understands. It’s a slot to fill in. That’s what she said! WHAT! Oh no he didn’t!
Alex Obert: What is your opinion on Jack as a vocalist?
Kyle Gass: Well, I think he’s the best around! (laughs) I’m honored to play with him. He’s got great vibes, he’s always got great vibes. He’s a great comedian. He’s a great salesman, I think that’s really overlooked in singing, you really have to sell the song. And he’s great at that. So yeah, I’m a big fan.
Alex Obert: Do you have more tour dates with The Kyle Gass Band coming up this or next year?
Kyle Gass: I do, we’re actually playing Saturday at a dive bar in the valley called Maui Sugar Mill. We’re also gonna play some festivals in Europe in August.
Alex Obert: Would you ever see a situation down the line where The Kyle Gass Band opens for Tenacious D?
Kyle Gass: No, and here’s why, I think when you see the D, it’s a special occasion. And you wouldn’t wanna shoot your wad if I showed up earlier. Plus, I’m old and lazy, I wouldn’t wanna work that hard with two bands! So the answer is no. But actually, we are gonna be playing on the same festival, Festival Supreme, on October 25th at the Sports Arena.
Alex Obert: What would you say is your favorite track off of The Kyle Gass Band self-titled album?
Kyle Gass: I would say Tremendous, if only because I wrote it. But I really like the song, it has some special meaning for me. And a great solo section at the end.
Alex Obert: What’s the first concert you ever attended?
Kyle Gass: First concert was Heart and Robert Palmer at the Concord Pavilion, think it was ’77 or ’79. I’m very old, Alex. Very old. (laughs)
Alex Obert: If you had an unlimited budget to film The Pick of Destiny 2, what would your dream plot be?
Kyle Gass: My dream plot? (laughs) Well if I had it, I couldn’t tell you! Why would I wanna give it away? Alright, I will tell you. It wouldn’t be called Pick of Destiny because that’s the first movie. But I think I’d like to be like the old Abbott and Costello movies, I think it would have to be “Tenacious D go to Mars”. I think we’d have to go to Mars. I think there would be some space travel. It seems right for the second movie.
Alex Obert: Last year at the Golden Gods, Tenacious D won Comeback of the Year.
Kyle Gass: Well, it was a fun night. I can’t put too much stock into it, I didn’t really feel like we went anywhere, we just took some time off. But the award’s really cool, it’s in the shape of a Stonehenge. I think they find out who’s gonna show up and then they give the award to that person. I don’t know. I’m not quite sold on the credibility of the Golden Gods Award quite frankly. I love the award, I love putting stuff on my mantel.
Alex Obert: What are the first five bands that come to mind that you love and listen to?
Kyle Gass: Anybody that knows me knows I’m a big Beatles guy. I think you can’t really be a hard rock guy without being into Zeppelin. But I also like really, really cheesy soft rock too. I like Bread and James Taylor. I like the folk rock stuff. I like The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, I’m a big Neil Young guy, Crosby, Stills, and Nash. I respond to good songs. If it’s a good song, I think that’s where the magic is.
Alex Obert: What is your favorite track off of The Pick of Destiny soundtrack?
Kyle Gass: It’s a very strong set, hard to choose a favorite. I like them all, but I think Dude (I Totally Miss You) is good. It sums up missing your friends and stuff. A nice, touching song.
Alex Obert: In closing, what are your social media and website plugs at the moment?
Kyle Gass: I just got an Instagram yesterday, it’s “theactualkylegass”. And my Twitter is @GassLeak. And my Facebook is Kyle Gass Band. Everyone hop onto their devices and ignore reality.
Alex Obert: Very nice. I’d like to thank you for your time.
Kyle Gass: You got it!