They are but men. ROCK!
Tenacious D, also known as "The D" and modestly referred to as "The Greatest Band In the World", are an American duo formed of lead vocalist/guitarist/actor/Large Ham Jack Black and lead guitarist/backing vocalist/Straight Man Kyle Gass (aka J.B. and K.G., aka Jables and Kage), that have been active since 1994. They are known for their use of acoustic guitars, wacky sense of humour revolving heavily around audacity, vulgarity and lampooning clichés associated with Heavy Metal and Rock & Roll. While being a really awesome heavy metal band, just because they can.
Initially performing as an "acoustic metal" duo, Black and Gass got attention thanks to their short-lived TV series Tenacious D, which ran on HBO in 1997. Despite being only three episodes (six features) long, the series helped bring attention to The D, and they quickly secured spots opening for Beck, Pearl Jam, the Foo Fighters and Tool.
By the time the band signed to a label in 2000, they had a pretty high profile thanks to Black's acting work. Backed by a Dream Team of musicians that included Dave Grohl on drums and guitars, Oingo Boingo guitarist Warren Fitzgerald, bassist Steve MacDonald and Phish keyboardist Page McConnell, Tenacious D showed the band maturing into an outright metal band while still retaining the acoustic guitars and perfecting their outrageous humour and parodies. Split between full band-reworkings of songs from the TV series, a few new songs and comedic skits, the debut blew the minds, kicked the asses (with karate!) and rocked the socks of everyone who ever heard it, and provided the band with its Signature Song: "Tribute", a tribute to "the best song in the world" that the band played to defeat Satan but promptly forgot afterwards. It's a Long Story.
In 2001, Tenacious D gained notoriety for releasing the extremely bawdy animated short music video by The Ren & Stimpy Show creator John Kricfalusi for the song "F— Her Gently" which was featured (alongside Happy Tree Friends) in that year's annual Festival of Sick and Twisted Animation. (NSFW, naturally enough.)
For their next project, The D decided to blow minds in the movie world as well and began working on a movie, Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny. A soundtrack was also recorded, named simply The Pick of Destiny and featuring contributions from Grohl, Meat Loaf and Ronnie James Dio. The film came out in 2006 and failed at the box office, probably due to Satan's intervention, while the soundtrack got a mixed but positive reception.
After laying low for a while, they came back to blow everybody's minds once again with their new album, Rise of the Fenix. Critical reception was decent, but the fans were far more positive, calling it a welcome return to form.
In 2018, Tenacious D released a YouTube mini-series titled "Post-Apocalypto", a crudely drawn, slideshow of an animated series involving the duo attempting to survive a nuclear apocalypse. Praised by fans, the album/soundtrack was released on November 2, 2018.
- Tenacious D (2001)
- The Pick of Destiny (2006)
- Rize of the Fenix (2012)
- Post-Apocalypto (2018)
Tenacious D provides examples of the following tropes:
- Affectionate Parody: Of heavy metal, The Power of Rock and the machismo within.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: As goofy as it might sound, "Young Nastyman" is the name of a real comic book supervillain. He's a supporting villain in the British superhero comic book Miracleman (aka Marvelman), and the Evil Counterpart of Miracleman's kid sidekick Young Miracleman.
- Angel Unaware: In Tribute, Satan at least thinks the duo are angels in disguise when they manage to defeat him.
- Bowdlerise: They record clean versions of all of their songs, and write lyrics so they can be sung either way without screwing up the meter or rhyme. An example would be from "Beelzeboss": "Goddamnit, Kage / He's gonna make you his sex slave" becomes "Golldurnit, Kage / He's gonna make you his best slave".
- iTunes, along with several other sites, have opted to apply Pixellation to the very phallic phoenix on the cover of Rize of the Fenix. The cover of the physical release remains uncensored though.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Fuck you! You fucking dick! Always naysaying... everything I create. You piece of shit, You create something like inward singing! You fucking shit! You fucking sit in your tower! Fucking nap... What's funny?! YOU FUCKING BITCH! Fucking... fucker! Fucking... cock ass!
- Epic Rocking: "City Hall".
- Face of the Band: Invoked as part of the concept behind Rise of the Fenix, parodying the Reality Subtext of Black becoming a successful mainstream actor after School of Rock, and detailed in both "The Ballad of Hollywood Jack and the Rage Kage" and the video for "To Be the Best". After Jables becomes a humongous A-list star, he turns into a total egotistical douche ("Hollywood Jack") and abandons Kage for fortune and glory; only after Kage has a mental breakdown, is committed, escapes, and makes an attempt on Jables' life does he realize the error of his ways and help his best friend get back on his feet.
- Fat and Skinny: Subverted. Here's it's "Fat and Slightly Fatter."
- Funny Foreigner: "Felix Char" from "Classical Teacher", played by Jables with a ridiculous Spanish accent (and most likely a fake mustache) as a way to snap Kage out of his recent funk.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: The phoenix on the cover of Rize of the Fenix is a penis. This hasn't gone totally unnoticed, though. For example, the cover is censored on Amazon and Spotify.
- Hot-Blooded: Jack. Whenever he's being calm, rest assured he's gonna shout about something very soon.
- I Know Karate: "With karate, I'll kick your ass.."
- Intercourse with You:
- In the Style of...: "Tribute" is clearly meant to sound like a shorter version of "Stairway To Heaven." In a roundabout way, the band are calling that song the greatest in the world.
- The Juggernaut: The Metal is about the successive failed attempts of all music genres to destroy the Heavy Metal, and his massive retaliation.
- "No-one can destroy the metal
The metal will strike you down with a vicious blow
We are the vanquished foes of the metal
We tried to win for why we do not know"
- Large Ham: Jack, who else?
- Likes Older Women: Not necessarily older than him, but the song '39' is as touching a love song the D seem capable of making this side of 'Fuck Her Gently'.
- Metal Scream: "Master Exploder" features a few phenomenal ones. Makes sense, as the song is about this trope taken up to Make Me Wanna Shout levels.I do not needA microphoneMy voice is fuckin'POWERFU-U-U-UL
- The Movie: Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny
- Obsession Song: "Lee", a song dedicated to their obsessive fan Lee (played by JR Reed). Yeah, you got that right, they wrote an obsession song for a fan to freak him out so he would stop obsessing over them.
- Power Ballad: "Dude I Totally Miss You," part two of "The Road."
- The Power of Rock: So powerful, they beat the devil!!!
- Refrain from Assuming: "Tribute" is often misnamed "The Greatest Song in the World", which it is merely a tribute to.
- One song starts with the line "This is a song called The History of Tenacious D." It's actually just called History.
- The Roadie: The song The Roadie was made as a thank you letter to all the roadies out there who's work goes unappreciated. In the song's official music video however, the titular roadie Sebastion is portrayed as being a legitimately good roadie that had worked with Van Halen, Metallica and AC/DC in the past, but eventually gets drunk and destroys Jack and Kyle's green room after being rejected by a groupie. He then goes on to buy drugs, reject a boy who comes to him with a paternity test and then cons money out of them in exchange for a hooker. Jack and Kyle to fire him shortly after.
- Rock-Star Song: "Rock Your Socks" is basically a weird, nihilistic rant about what it takes to be rock stars.
- Scatting: Jack occasionally does this, usually to imitate the sound of a guitar solo. He refers to it as a "ventrilo-solo."
- Self-Titled Album: Their debut.
- Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: Cock pushups? "I've been getting ready".
- Shout-Out: Young Nastyman, Wonder Boy's Arch-Enemy in the song "Wonder Boy", is named after a supporting villain in the British comic book series Miracleman.
- Silent Bob: Kyle, to some extent.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Jack Black's persona parodies bragging Heavy Metal bands by being this. He's not nearly as smart, wise, or sexy as he thinks he is.
- Something Completely Different: "Papagenu (He's My Sassafrass)" sounds like it was plucked out of the psychedelia of the 60s.
- "Flutes & Trombones" is a skit devoted to averting this trope, where they catch each other sneaking into the studio with the titular instruments. One can only guess what Kage and Jables were thinking of recording.
- Song Style Shift: "Double Team" changes styles about three times. "Deth Starr" changes from mellow, ethereal acoustic music to hard rock and eventually back again.
- Sophisticated as Hell: "Classico" is the trope in music form, especially since the Für Elise part.
- Stage Names: JB and KG or Jables and Kage, whichever is more metal.
- Standard Snippet: "Classico" and "Rock Your Socks" quote Bach's Bourrée in E minor.
- Stealth Insult: "Tribute" includes a few bars from favorite songs, and a reminder that the Greatest Song in the World sounds nothing like this.
- The Starscream: Jables and Kage in "City Hall".
- Straight Man: Kyle.
- Stylistic Suck: The "leaked" Special Effects Failure laden video to "Rize of the Fenix".
- Subliminal Seduction: "Karate" ends with a reversed sound clip of Jack Black saying something along the lines of "eat donkey crap".
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: Parodied with the "song for the ladies", "Fuck Her Gently".
- Played straight with "39" off of Rize of the Fenix. Hell, it would be a great radio song if it weren't for all the cursing and lyrics about Jack Black fingering his own anus.
- Testosterone Poisoning: Intentionally evoked.
- Three Chordsandthe Truth: Their simplistic sound combined with humorous lyrics often strike a "power chord" with their fans.
- Training Montage: "To Be The Best"
- Vitriolic Best Buds: A Running Gag in their early years is that Kage keeps quitting the band, and then forgiving Jables for his ego and coming back. Hence, the song "Kyle Quit The Band." ("But now we're back toge-e-ether, uh")
- Watch the World Die: "City Hall", they talk about watching the collapse of civilization from an underground bunker.
- Word Salad Lyrics: "Exploding brains from Alzon to Zanzibar... to the shores of ye olde rustic Chinook!"
- Wowing Cthulhu: Tribute is about them impressing the devil by playing "the best song in the world."