Kyle Gass Band: Feeling tenacious

by Jared Curtis

As the prophecy goes, Tenacious D or “The D” as fans know them, encountered a demon that demanded the duo play the “Best Song in the World” or have their souls devoured. With nothing to lose, the duo – Jack Black and Kyle Gass – strapped on their mighty guitars and “played the first thing that came to our heads” which just happened to be “the best song in the world.” The demon was defeated, and the duo rose to fame and fortune.
With all of rock bowing before the duo, they decided to expand their horizons. Black has been focusing on his acting, while Gass continues to rock, forming the Kyle Gass Band (The KGB) and hitting the road this summer. And according to our hilarious early morning interview, The KGB plan on melting faces at the Wild Buffalo on Monday, May 19.
“The Kyle Gass Band rose out of the ashes of my first group, Trainwreck,” Gass said over the phone. “We had a train wreck, but I soon realized there is a slot in my life for a side band other than The D. There is a lot more time in my life that needs filled with rocking, almost every minute, so we put together The KGB.”
The group is a mixture of friends and musicians Gass has played with over the years. Guitarist John Konesky and Gass have played together for the last 12 years in both Trainwreck and Tenacious D, and he played with drummer John Spiker almost as long. Guitarist Mike Bray is a friend who also plays Sasquatch in their videos. The band is rounded out with Jokin Salaverria on bass.
“Everyone is a great musician, but once we join forces we become unstoppable,” Gass said.
The band has a similar funny and humorous vibe as The D, but the music covers a variety of rock genres.
“I’ve said it for years, if you love Tenacious D, there is a chance you’ll love The KGB,” he said.
Along with his shredding guitar solos, you’ll also hear Gass playing a few other instruments  — the flute and recorder — you might not associate with rock bands, that is, unless you’re a Jethro Tull fan.
“I started playing recorder in grade school — all the kids in California play the recorder — and really liked it,” he said. “So I actually was playing the recorder and the flute prior to picking up a guitar when I was 11 or 12.”
Although he plays a few other instruments, he’ll always be a guitar player at heart.
‘There are a million great guitar players out there, I just hope I can be included in that bunch,” he said. “I’m always tying to listen to the greats.”
When touring with The D, Gass was accustomed to playing larger arenas and massive festival crowds, but it’s a little different touring with The KGB.
“With The D, we’ll play Madison Square Garden, but with The KGB, we’ll play Molly’s Square Grill,” he laughed. “It’s definitely smaller shows, but I love playing those types of venues because you can actually shout out your drink order to the bar and they’ll bring it to you.”
The extra perks of selling out stadiums are gone as well.
“The craft services table sucks and we only have a two-item rider with The KGB — water and towels,” he laughed. “But those are the two most important things to us, we could survive 12 days off water and towels.”
The group is kicking off their 12-date tour with a performance at the annual Lebowski Fest in Los Angeles. This will be the band’s “third or fourth” time performing at the all things Lebowski celebration. This year, they’ll be sharing the stage with The Dude himself, Jeff Bridges.
“I love the film and I love the idea of celebrating the film. It’s a great gig and we always try to dress up as characters from the film,” Gass said. “This one is going to be crazy though because Jeff Bridges and The Abiders are playing. Originally, we were headlining and then Jeff Bridges had to show up, so we got bumped. But how can you get angry about being bumped by The Dude?”
Although he has acted in numerous roles over the year, Gass said he is pretty much done with acting.
“I’m semi-retired from acting because basically I’m too lazy to audition,” he said. “I act now and again, but it has to be a good part. Otherwise, I’m sticking to music because it’s a better profession.”
Although the band has never played in Bellingham, Gass is looking forward to the show and hopes their sound will draw audiences in.
“We love Washington, so we’ll love Bellingham,” he said. “I know you guys are pretty close to the Canadian border, so maybe our sound will carry all the way north and people will line up… in droves to hear our rock.”