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Music » Sound Stories & Interviews

Born to Rock

Kyle Gass of Tenacious D fame launches new '80s-style metal band

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Once upon a time there was a mugger in New York City who spent his time learning guitar at Julliard, rocking out on stage in front of a giant penis-shaped bird and making television show cameos on par with Clint Howard appearances in film.

OK, that's a slight exaggeration, but not a story without some tidbits of truth. In actuality it's just a creative way of looking at the career of actor, musician, and general comedian Kyle Gass—known to many as Jack Black's other half in Tenacious D.

The real story, in all its biographical glory, involves a guy whose acting accolades have included work with Tim Robbins' experimental Actor's Gang in Los Angeles, a role as a children's author in Will Ferrell's movie Elf, and countless appearances on shows like "Seinfeld," "2 Broke Girls" and as Ross Gellar's would-be-mugger on "Friends." Oh yeah, and, he's also a stellar guitar player with throw-back classic rock and hair band chops—though without the hair—who once lied to Conan O'Brien about being the youngest attendee and graduate of Julliard.

This summer, Gass released the debut album from his new venture, the Kyle Gass Band; a five-piece mash-up of members from Tenacious D and Gass' other band Trainwreck. Kyle Gass Band's music is resurrected from the ashes of wailing '80s metal guitar licks and southern classic rock; a brilliant homage to the sounds of Winger and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Just like Tenacious D, Gass' new collaboration peddles in tongue-cheek-lyrics about masturbation and immature men and indulgent song titles like "Bro Ho" and "Our Job is to Rock." But despite the less-than-serious lyrics, the music isn't flimsy; it's solid and blazing with booming production value. Case in point, the screaming guitar solo muscled out on the album's fifth track "Tremendous."

Kyle Gass Band's music lives somewhere between comedic rock and the seriousness of '90s alternative, especially when Gass wears baggy t-shirts emblazoned with howling wolves, shorts, tube socks and New Balance sneakers on stage—it's hard not to laugh and simultaneously headbang.

Kyle Gass Band

9 pm. Friday, Nov. 22

Domino Room

51 NW Greenwood Ave.

Tickets $15 at bendticket.com and Ranch Records

About The Author

Ethan Maffey

Both a writer and a fan of vinyl records since age 5, it wasn't until nearly three decades later that Oregon Native Ethan Maffey derived a plan to marry the two passions by writing about music. From blogging on MySpace in 2007 and then Blogspot, to launching his own website, 83Music, and eventually freelancing...

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