"An interview with Kyle Gass"
September 20, 2010
Ever have a night that was just incredibly...WEIRD?!!?
To try and sum up how the Train Wreck show went on September 20, 2010 it's best described as an "experience" like I've never gone through in the rock n roll world until this very night.
Steel Panther is a rock n roll comedy act, BUT, Kyle Gass is the perfect mix of comedy & rock n roll insanity & that's due to the fact that he's KG, 1/2 of the ultimate Comedic rock n roll act, Tenacious D!
Rock N Roll Experience: "How long is the Train Wreck tour going to run?"
Kyle Gass: A month, we are playing 20 gigs in a month and so that's a pretty good stretch for us, we were just working on some Tenacious D stuff right up to the last minute, then we just took off...we can only headline at this level but we think it would be fun to open for a big band....if we could get onto the right kinda vibe & play for alot of people at once it would be good for us, but so far there has been no takers. We'd like to go, like U2 I think. If just one out of 100 people liked you you'd still have 10,000 new fans so the math is in your favor.
While Jack Black is taking time off Kyle has his other band, Train Wreck on the road & this was the first time I ever saw the man, KG solo with Train Wreck, not to mention I had the opportunity to conduct an in-person interview with him right before his set!
After sorting out a few details, KG's guitarist escorted me to the bands dressing room area where Kyle and the band were; they had just gotten back from dinner & upon entering the venue Kyle peaked his head in to catch a glimpse of local openers The Royal Wigs.
The sad part of a rock show on a Monday, atleast in Maryland, is that you always risk the chance of having a very tiny crowd...that was what plagued this show, it was on a Monday & that's a work night/school night, so even though tickets were only $5, the show had maybe 25 people in attendance.
KG would later address this matter from the stage, stating that perhaps Monday night football was also the issue?
Rock N Roll Experience: "Where were you when you found out about the passing of Ronnie James Dio?"
Kyle Gass: I was at home & someone had texted me, but I knew he had been sick for a while, I was surprised, but it wasn't totally unexpected.
Rock N Roll Experience: "You were obviously a big DIO fan too, right?"
Kyle Gass: Well, I don't know if I was a huge fan, I mean Jack (Black) turned me on to him & then I heard alot more & of course we sang the song "Dio" & did the video & got to meet him & he was just great, he was the coolest guy...he was so sweet, he was the nicest guy! (laughs) Then Dio did the movie (Pick of Destiny) and he came in and just killed it & we were just really honored and now it's just even more special that we had that, so yeah, DIO...forever!
The musicians that round out Train Wreck's live show are all talented players & most of them are also alumni from the Tenacious D backing band.
Darryl Lee Donald is the lead singer for Train Wreck & he also whips out the wash board, cow bell & whistle...Darryl is Tenacious D's popular roadie of whom the song "Lee" is about & on this particular night the song about him, "Lee" was also performed!
Rock N Roll Experience: "When will a new Tenacious D record be out?"
Kyle Gass: We're about 1/2 way done right now, then we are going to go back & try to write some more so I think 2012 is still a good possibility, but maybe Christmas 2011 would be good. Record companies always like you to put it around Christmas. If we lay extra fast we can get it all done.
Rock N Roll Experience: "Did you enjoy making the movie Pick of Destiny?"
Kyle Gass: Yeah, it was a blast. Jack said it was the most fun he'd ever had making a movie but apparently not good enough to make a sequel, so it was like, hey, if you had the best time ever making a movie, why not make the sequel? He couldn't give me a good answer. I'd still like to make the sequel & we are going to call it "The D-quel"....you've got yourself a scoop there, "Tenacious D - The D-quel"
John Bartholomew Shredman was on lead electric guitar & he played high end BC Rich Mockinbird guitars throughout the bands set. John looks like he came right out of the 70's with his curly flowing locks & his thick upper lip hair. John's guitar playing is part country, part metal, ALL classic rock...the man deserves the name "Shredman" because he plays the hell outta his guitar!
Boy Johnny is on bass & most recently Johnny played bass on the new Filter record as well as playing some live shows with Richard Patrick & Filter. Johnny looks sedate until the band kicks into some of the shit kickin' country stuff & Johnny will bust out his crazy-legged dance moves while sporting a shit eatin' grin!
Rock N Roll Experience: "Do you plan on retiring the song "DIO" out of respect for Ronnie James Dio?"
Kyle Gass: No, we might play it tonight. We played it the other night & I think now, more than ever, we need to celebrate Dio! Everyone sang along the other night & it was really fun.
Rock N Roll Experience: "Are you playing any Tenacious D material in the Train Wreck set?"
Kyle Gass: No...for a long time we were just doing "Lee" & since Lee is the alter ego of JR & it's just kinda a nice little energy thing..it's a little weird doing D stuff with Train Wreck, but then the other night we did do "Dio" & then we also did "F. her Gently" & it was fun, everyone sang along.
On drums Dallas St. Bernard holds down the beats while sporting a red head band & blue overalls. Towards the end of the set Dallas stepped out from the drum kit & sang a few songs while dancing about the stage.
For these songs, Boy Johnny switched over to play drums & Darryl Lee went from vocals to bass. It's important to note that during this part of the set was where they went into the song "F*ck Her Gently", the Tenacious D classic, & Dallas sang lead vocals on this song...Dallas essentially did the Jack Black parts & he did them pretty darn well!
The entire band sported wigs, 70's styled southern rock clothes & the bands sound & show is very Molly Hatchet on many levels.
Rock N Roll Experience: "Playing wise, do you come from the metal side?"
Kyle Gass: No, I grew up kinda more folky, pop & rock & stuff, I grew up with British pop & then Jack (Black) got me more into the metal thing...I'm more of a tourist.
Rock N Roll Experience: "Has Jack Black popped up at any of the current Train Wreck shows?"
Kyle Gass: No, he hasn't played with us in a while, his alter ego is Tuffy McFuckleby & he's the meanest man in show business & he played a couple o' gigs with us, but he hasn't made it out on this tour...he keeps pretty busy. He has a couple of kids now & he's doing movies so we couldn't get him for this one but it would be fun.
During the song "Brodeo" Train Wreck members commented that there were more females in the crowd than usual, but this song was NOT for them, the song "Brodeo" was about guys hanging out with other guys & that the song was for all the guys, NOT the girls!
In reference to when I sat down to talk with Kyle, I've never interviewed a comedian before so it was unique to experience his whit & interviewing him was alot different than chatting with a musician; Comedians have a different instinct than a musician & KG was fun, sharp & at times it was hard to tell when he was messing with me, so take the quotes he gave me with a grain of salt...I believe it all to be real within the context of the show because nothing was meant to be taken too serious, it was all kinds o' goofiness on this particular night.
Rock N Roll Experience: (Kyle is holding a paper towel against his hand at this point) "What happened to your hand?"
Kyle Gass: I had a scab and it just inadvertently came off...it's so horrible!
Rock N Roll Experience: "Can you tell me something that most people might not know about you?"
Kyle Gass: I'm an avid poker player.