Jack Black remembers when Tenacious D got a dent opening for Stone Temple Pilots

Persistent D, the audiobook? You better believe it.

As a musical artist, you need a lot of influence to get your own Audible Original “Words + Music” edition. So it’s good to know that Tenacious D has finally reached that level Tenacious D: The Road to Redemption. It’s the full audio story of the longtime comedy rock duo made up of actors Jack Black and Kyle Gassin their own words and with some of their most memorable songs re-recorded for good measure.

The Audible project premiered on the audiobook and podcast platform on Friday (August 5). Click here to listen. But it wasn’t always the big time for Tenacious D, what with their own audiobook and all. If you can believe it, the pair actually got booed on stage during a concert opening for Stone temple pilots back then.

The year was 1999. The place was Las Vegas. The show? “The Miller Genuine Draft Blind Date, do you remember this?” Black muse to Loudwire in the giddy fashion familiar to moviegoers. “All these people would win their tickets and fly in,” he explains, “and they’d get drunk on Miller Genuine Draft.”

However, the gimmick was that the attendees would not know which band was playing until they got on stage. And while Tenacious D’s subsequent works – their 2001 debut album and 2006 musical film, Persistent D in The Pick of Destinyto name just two — have subsequently made them a favorite among metalhead stoners everywhere, the D were still fairly new in 1999. Only their first run of HBO shorts had hit the airwaves.

“They’re all thinking, oh my god, it’s going to be hell U2 or something,” Black says. Gass adds the suggestion of one Led Zeppelin reunion. Mimicking the angry crowd’s response, Black pantomimes, “The curtain opens and it’s Tenacious D and everybody in unison just starts booing. Fuck you! You stink! Who are you? That’s not a blind date that I like!”

Audiences were reportedly more receptive to headliners Stone Temple Pilots. Although they were also a surprise, the grunge act was then fronted by the late rock singer Scott Weiland was more firmly established as they prepared for the release of their fourth album that year.

“Epic, what a great show,” one concert reviewer said about the double bill. But Tenacious D was “bubbed off the stage,” they claimed, and “no one really knew who or what was going on.” But Black remembered things differently and described why Tenacious D could not run away with your tail between your legs.

“We realized early on that if we stop, they won’t pay us,” recalls the entertainer. “We contractually agreed to play for 25 minutes. So we just fucked nose down and we just play. Shit is flying at us. When you look out into the crowd, it’s all hate.”

He continues, “And we have this comedy that was supposed to happen halfway through the set where one of our friends comes out dressed as Spider-Man [during the song ‘Spiderman’]. It’s a fun thing where he climbs a fucking rope and does some acrobatics and it’s stupid – it’s called ‘Cheap-Ass Spidey’. And I look in the wings and there’s my friend and he’s not wearing the goddamn costume. He’s like [does throat slash gesture]. He won’t come out! … And we just go on and we plow and we finish. And oddly enough, by the end of it, I think we won some of them.”

It is only a tale from the annals of D — one does not included in The road to redemption. What is included, however, are many more real-life stories from the outfit’s career, several of which even longtime fans may not have already heard. One of the more consequential is when Gass experienced a THC-fueled panic attack while traveling with the duo. It ended with Black physically restraining the fellow rocker.

Gass tells Loudwire, “I kind of had a break from reality. But [cannabis use] was becoming a kind of daily regimen. It was Starbucks with the two shots, and then these things, the Blackout Brownie—that’s 1,000 milligrams of THC. And I started eating them, but it was really self-induced mania. I thought I wanted to be Van Gogh or something; I thought that was the creative breakthrough. But I was getting hot and I scared my friends a bit.”

“Have you ever seen the movie The Exorcist?” Black comes in comically, unwilling to let the mood drop, drawing a hearty laugh from his musical foil. “I was kind of like Max von Sydow [as Father Lankester Merrin] and I was like, wrestling – I held Kyle. And inside Kyle was a demon. I held onto him while he had a battle inside his soul. There was a demon and an angel inside him fighting and I just held him down. It was very emotional; it was an emotional ride.”

It certainly looks like we’re getting to know the duo better than we ever have before. But what Tenacious D would not share with Loudwire is exactly what the concept is behind their upcoming “concept album.” That’s what Black called it SmartLess last month as it spilled out that a new studio album from D is indeed on the way.

Meanwhile, Tenacious D is in good company with their Audible Original. Previous “Words + Music” installments included Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, Against me!‘s Laura Jane Grace, Green Day‘s Billie Joe Armstrong and Alanis Morissette. After all, the series aims to solder the stories of influential artists with original audio productions.

Therefore The road to redemption also features 30 years worth of never-before-heard Tenacious D archive audio. An audible overview says that it “bring[s] bringing every anecdote to life with a documentary quality that places listeners right there and then. What’s unexpected is how sweet it is to spend two hours with two real friends, both outrageously talented, reveling in their creativity and their unlikely journey from the living room to the stars.” Learn more here.

Tenacious D: The Road to Redemption Artwork

10 alternative rock songs written under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Drugs are a part of life. They are also part of rock – even alternative rock. So, because heavy metal and classic rock already have so many drunken stories of their own, here are a few from the alt-rock end of things.

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