Kyle came to the phone first. He began with a word of warning.
"You should always get Jack first. I'm the sure bet. But Jack, sometimes he sleeps real late. He's a vampire. My problem is I wake up crazy early, like five or six."
POLLSTAR knew in advance that Kyle Gass was the older, more cultivated half of the comedy/rock duo Tenacious D. Still, the announcement that Kyle (aka KG, aka Kage) wakes up before the sun breaks came as something of a shock.
"I'm actually no more responsible. We just have very different schedules," he reassured.
When Jack Black (aka JB, aka Jables) came to the phone, Kyle excitedly informed him about the bullet the duo had just received on the Top 200 sales chart.
"We don't care about that stuff," said Jack.
"I'm gonna have it framed. Just the bullet," said Kyle.
"So what are we, 189 with a bullet?" Jack asked.
"We're at 149. Straight to the midhundreds."
"I think if you're over 100, it's not really a bullet. It's more like a BB. You're like 182 with a spitball."
The album in question is Tenacious D's star-studded, self-titled debut, which came out last September. It marked the first release from The D, though the two have been playing together since the mid-'90s when they met in a Los Angeles theatre troupe. The combination of Jack's pseudo-metal warbling and Kyle's fiery guitar chops earned them a cult following in Southern California.
Their live performances caught the attention of Bob Odenkirk and David Cross ("Mr. Show"), who invited Jack and Kyle to participate in their HBO sketch comedy series. Soon, the cable channel gave The D its own program, which had a mercilessly short run.
Both are actors, and Jack's success in recent movies ("High Fidelity," "Jesus' Son," "Shallow Hal") has ensured his prowess as a performer in front of the camera. In fact, MTV recently picked Jack to co-host the network's Movie Awards with Sarah Michelle Gellar.
Last fall, The D joined Weezer and Jimmy Eat World for the Extended Midget tour and this spring played a few dates with Kid Rock before embarking on a headlining jaunt.
One summer outing that many expected the duo to join this year is the Ozzfest tour, since the acoustic rockers are reportedly big Ozzy fans. They even shot a promo for "The Osbournes" with Jack in Ozzy makeup and Kyle in the guise of Zakk Wylde.
The fact that they aren't on the tour is something of a point of contention between the two.
"Kyle thinks I sabotaged it, but that's because he's misinformed. I definitely would have done some dates on the Ozzfest," Jack explained.
"Wait, we're not doing any? I thought we were going to do a couple," Kyle wondered.
"Dude, we were not invited to do any."
"Well, thanks a lot for doing a free promo for your stupid show. You can print that."
"Dude, I know what went down. They wanted us to be on Ozzfest, they wanted us to do their fuckin' promos, they wanted us to be, like, in their kitchen, partying with them. And then, I saw Jack Osbourne at a Queens of the Stone Age concert and I think he really wanted to create a bond. I kinda cut it short 'cause I wanted to go see Queens of the Stone Age. And then I think he went home and told Ozzy to cut us out of the lineup."
"No. I'm making that up right now."
In actuality, Jack's movie star schedule has nixed the possibility for serious summer tour plans.
"It's kind of a problem now. It's the first time it's been a problem," he said. "Really, we should probably tour Europe (which they have yet to do), but I gotta be a movie star for a while."
"I think it's a bad move," Kyle interjected. "What would you rather be, a movie star or a rock star?"
"Rock star. Hands down," POLLSTAR answered.
"It's cooler. ... We've toured this album for a year. Haven't we? Hasn't it been a year since it came out?" Jack asked.
"Oh. We've toured this album for six months. Hey, how much did fucking Will Smith tour? A'ight. How much did J.Lo tour? A'ight."
"Enya never tours and she sells millions of records. Nor does Sade," Kyle said.
"It's the same with The D."
"You know what? We need to tour less."
Epic Records' Harvey Leeds would likely disagree. He told POLLSTAR the record company treats Tenacious D's album just like any other rock record, despite the duo's humorous slant.
His strategy for their development includes "working the tour, visiting radio, visiting retail and being very aggressive at retail with added values."
And, Leeds said, Jack's movie-star promotional work has only increased the visibility of the band.
For the record, and because there are some press discrepancies concerning this, POLLSTAR asked the duo for their official subtitle: Greatest Band On Earth, In The World or In History.
"D," Kyle answered. "All of the above."