Mock rock has the fun factor
THERE is an important guy dressed in black at every rock ’ n’ roll gig. He hides in the shadows, gets no glory or groupies, but he is a vital part of the show.
On Tenacious D’s third album, the humble roadie finally gets his moment in the spotlight, with actor Jack Black singing: ‘‘ Check- a, check- a, one, two, three/ I plug it in/ I make it sound as good as can be’’. It’s a simple ode but long overdue.
Comedy- rock duo The D – Black and his partner in crime, comedian Kyle Gass – are back to save rock ’ n’ roll. They say it died in recent years and it’s hard to argue with them.
However, it’s not clear how a parody of a comeback album that actually is a comeback album was going to save anything at all. Instead, Rize of the Fenix is a never- ending cavalcade of lofty rock promises that rarely delivers more than a few belly laughs.
To their credit, The D borrows from the best, the album is full of AC/ DC- aping power chords and Queen- like changes in mood and tempo.
Clearly they don’t want to be ‘‘ almost as good as Arcade Fire’’. Meow! Their music is a throwback to the bright and shiny days of ’ 80s metal with some country, folk and prog- rock splashed into the mix.
It’s doubtful that Black and Gass have real musical chops. But their mates sure do. Foo Fighter Dave Grohl on drums, John Spiker from Filter contributing bass, piano and organs, and underrated guitar player John Konesky shreds his strings with reckless abandon.
Grohl’s drumming on Death Starr ( second R to avoid litigation?) is impeccable.
Not to be rude, but it’s kind of a shame that he’s delivered such a masterful, thunderclap of a performance on someone else’s joke record.
Another highlight is The Ballad of Hollywood Jack and the Rage Kage, a good- old fashioned tune about band infighting. It’s amusing, musically pleasing and it rings true.
Black has got his multimillion- dollar movie career to fall back on, he’s Hollywood A- List, while Gass is, well, that bald and fat guy.
The guys have some fun with this one and it works beautifully, blurring the lines between fact and fiction like an episode of TMZ.