Jack Black and Kyle Gass of Tenacious D join podcast host Flea this week on This Little Light to talk about their shared love of music from their earliest stages through a now legendary three-decade career.
Although both finding their love of music on different paths, Tenacious D's Jack Black and Kyle Gass found common ancestry early on in four lads from Liverpool. "I'm so old that I remember The Beatles' first time on Ed Sullivan," Kyle admits. "I was four years old, I was born in '60."
Obviously still able to be impressed by each other after all this time, Jack asked, "You do?! Daang!" His own earliest musical impression is Beatles-related as well, hearing "I Want To Hold Your Hand" on the radio around six years old and being transported into a "state of euphoria."
"Even though I was six," he explains, "I already kind of understood the concept of, 'Oh that girl, I sure wish I could hold her hand.' And I was like, 'Oh my God! They're singing a song about that feeling when you wish you could hold a hand because you like someone but you're too shy to do it and you would never ask!' It was like they were communicating with me in a way and they captured the feeling of longing and love in musical form. It was very powerful."
Equating that early emotional connection that all three of them had with the Fab Four, Black says, "A really good song feels like you're getting kissed by a love... it feels like love. You know how they say if you eat chocolate that gives your brain the chemical reaction of the feeling of love? The same thing with music..."
"Chocolate and love are very close," Kyle adds.
"It always comes down to that, right? Chocolate and music," says Jack.
Making the transition from listeners to creators also came early in life. KG remembers going to the music store to choose his instrument as a kid as a rite of passage in his family. Not realizing at the time he would be bullied for his choice of the flute, he stuck it out but was never fully satisfied with his chops. By seventh grade, his big brother weaned him off and onto the guitar, for little else but the sake of his dating life.
Jack's first introduction into the "dark arts" of making his own music was spawned out of fantasizing and acting out his own at-home arena concerts. "I had this weird fantasy where I could sing out of my mouth but I could also at the same time sing out of my nostrils to make harmonies," he admits. "People would not just be enjoying the show, but they'd be like, 'Oh... he's ama... he's incredible!' But then my first time that I actually got into playing an instrument was piano. I took a year of piano and I practiced a lot. My goal was, I wanted to learn the "Pink Panther," and I did. Once I got that under my belt, I lost interest. I wish I would have stayed on longer and learned a few more jams."
"The Rock didn't come 'til later," Black explains. When he was around ten years old, his parents had gotten divorced he sasy, "and my mom lived in this big house -- she started taking in people who would rent rooms in our house." One of the tenants he remembers had a great record collection. "I would play the records when he wasn't there and I liked Simon & Garfunkel early on. It was actually folk that got me going first... they had a couple of jams that were kinda rockin'. I started getting into rock kind of with Styx.., and with Journey. Those were my first two forays into rock."
"I listened to a lot of Comedy-rock actually early on," he adds. "I liked Dr. Demento... there were some good songs but funny too. Great jams... I think I heard 'My Balogna' before I heard 'My Sharona.'"
Listen to the full This Little Light podcast episode with Tenacious D now on the free Audacy app.
Hosted by Flea, founding member and bassist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, This Little Light is a podcast about falling in love with music. Flea interviews musical guests from all genres to discuss the teachers who guided them, the influences that inspired them, and how the lessons they learned as young musicians have shaped their creativity, resilience, and careers. The podcast is produced by Cadence13 and Parallel, with proceeds benefiting the Silverlake Conservatory of Music, a Los Angeles-based non-profit that Flea co-founded in 2001.
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