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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Tenacious D’s Jack Black and Kyle Gass on space, Skrillex, and their Festival Supreme

Gass and Black at last year's Festival Supreme (Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images)
Gass and Black at last year's Festival Supreme (Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

A powerful comedy duo that’s been setting the world—and junior bacon cheeseburgers—on fire for over 20 years, Tenacious D is more than just the best band in the whole world. The group’s two members, actors Jack Black and Kyle Gass, are also entrepreneurs, as evidenced by their Festival Supreme, held every October in Los Angeles. This year, the D’s fourth Festival Supreme is happening October 29, and will investigate space, the final frontier, with performances by “Weird Al” Yankovic, Flight Of The Conchords, Sarah Silverman, Patton Oswalt, Documentary Now!’s Bill Hader and Fred Armisen, and all manner of other acts, both comedic and musical. Like we did last year, The A.V. Club sat down with Black and Gass to talk through the festival, their costumes, and whether or not we hate DJs.


The A.V. Club: What are you guys most excited about at this year’s festival?

Jack Black: I’m mostly excited about the lineup. But I’m also excited about the food. The food is exciting to me. We’ve got very, very good food. But mostly excited about the theme, because I really do want to go into space and I think you do too.

Kyle Gass: I’m excited that it’s happening.

JB: A lot of people didn’t think we would last this long, Kage.

KG: Yeah. They tried to stop us.

JB: I’m really excited about our DJ set. That’s probably the most exciting of all. It’s selfish but it’s always your own thing that you’re most concerned with.

KG: Yeah. It is kind of dominating my thoughts at the moment.

JB: I was thinking that we should go surround sound.

KG: We don’t have that?

JB: If we already have that, I’m stoked. But I mean like THX level.

KG: I want lights and magic and Skrillex bass shit.

JB: I want complete quadrophonics. I want it to be like, “Oh, sound’s coming from only over there right now. OH! Behind me. There’s only sound coming from there now. What’s that? Now it’s only there now. Now it’s only from the ceiling. Now the sound is subwoofing beneath my ballsack.” And then all the sounds come together at the same time. Do you know what I mean? It’ll blow those other DJs out of the water. Skrillex is going to be there in disguise because he doesn’t want people to know he’s trying to steal our moves. He’ll just be in his Darth Vader mask crying.


That’s what I’m looking forward to. Skrillex in a Vader mask, crying.

KG: Even if he’s in a mask, we’ll know. We’ll know.

JB: Well, he’ll admit it probably.

KG: He’ll take it off in shame.

JB: That’s the problem with your question. I could literally go from the top of the lineup to the bottom and say, “Well I’m really excited about Flight Of The Conchords. And I’m really excited about…” literally everyone on the list.


KG: But we chose them, so why wouldn’t we?

AVC: How involved are you guys in the process? Do you do all the booking?

JB: Look, we take all the credit and all the blame. But in truth, Goldenvoice has been great and they’re a creative team over there. Our management team is in the brain trust as well. But at the end of the day, Kyle and I are president and emperor of the festival and we have to call the shots.


KG: Emperors, I like that.

AVC: You guys always book a few people for the festival who don’t necessarily do stand-up, like Amy Poehler last year, or this year, Will Forte. You just let them do what they want.


JB: Just because you don’t know how to do stand-up doesn’t mean you don’t know how to put on a show. These are showpeople, and you have to have that just to mix it up. You can’t have a whole day full of stand-up. You’ll lose your mind. You’ve got to have an eclectic mix of things, and that’s what we strive for.

AVC: Sure. You have bands. You have Mac DeMarco. Nancy Whang…

JB: Don’t forget about The Vandals!

AVC: I was getting there. They’re further down the lineup.

KG: There’s no hierarchy. You could turn this list upside down and it would still be good.


JB: Yeah, you could say Tenacious D is headlining. Just because we’re going on first doesn’t mean anything.

AVC: So you’ll just be DJing, no live performance?

KG: I mean, we’ll be there live, doing the DJing.

JB: I feel as if you’re saying that DJ is not a real job.

KG: It’s minimizing. It’s diminishing.

JB: All DJs are going to be really infuriated and I insist that you leave that in this article.


AVC: I will. Do you have costumes planned?

KG: Well, we are going into space, and we need protection. And in case we need to space walk, we’ll have to go outside.


JB: We’re going to be dressed as futuristic 1950s astronauts from the past future. What the 1950s thought of the year 2000.

AVC: Oh, so just very thin, shiny space outfits?

JB: Yeah, exactly.

KG: You know our set is two weeks from today? [This interview was recorded on October 15—ed.]


JB: We’ll be unveiling the hot mess known as Tenacious DJ. I mean, the incredible new direction of the D. [Laughs.]

AVC: It doesn’t sound like you guys have prepared for your DJ set.

JB: What?! It doesn’t seem like we’ve prepared?

We try to avoid the pitfalls of over-preparation.

KG: In any moment, I guess we could whip out a guitar and start playing old school.


JB: That would be a declaration of defeat.

KG: Or victory. We don’t know.

AVC: This year’s festival is called “The Final Frontier.” Does that mean it’s the last Festival Supreme?


JB: Yeah it does. It does.

No, no, this is not the end.

KG: It’s like four years in a presidential cycle.

JB: Everyone’s begging us to do a fifth. They’re like, “What are we doing next year?” And we’re like, “Nope. We’ve done it. Enough is enough.” This was a grand experiment, and other people will follow in our footsteps. And they’ll have to thank us for leading the way. But yeah, if you’ve never experienced Festival Supreme, you better come to this one. It’s the best one and it’s the last one. [He’s joking—ed.]


KG: I mean, come on, what does final mean?

JB: What do you do after you go to space, more importantly? You can’t go to a more intense, awesome thing. That’s the end. That is essentially jumping the shark. Our show is going to space. Big finish.

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