When you're already a founding member of the self-anointed "Greatest Rock Band In The World," all the rest is gravy really, and a flute, because nothing says rock more than a toy recorder.
In his time away from Jack Black, Kyle Gass has assembled a posse he's dubbed The Kyle Gass Band. This five-piece rock outfit makes it clear that their main mission is to rock and their next priority is to have fun while doing it. Gass and John Konesky play guitar; Konesky hails from the D days as well as Gass' previous side project Trainwreck, making for a powerful dynamic. Mike Bray fronts the band as a perfect rock specimen, slinging a guitar and singing his heart out, while Jason Keene handles bass and Tim Spier ties the whole thing together on drums.
You must ask, how is it really that different from Tenacious D?
"The main difference is that Jack's not singing," Gass told New Times after pausing for a moment.
KGB has been on tour, seemingly nonstop, since the 2013 release of its self-titled debut album. It's not difficult to see why — the album itself, without even getting into the grinning witticisms within the lyrics, would be a perfectly justifiable rock backdrop to brews and barbeque in the backyard without anyone questioning your masculinity. Some bands have toured on less for decades.
The KGB most recently visited Phoenix in August and will return to Rebel Lounge this Thursday with local support from Fairy Bones and TOSO. We had a chance to chat with Kyle Gass about the band, the tour, the gig, and their plans for the future.
"I think people will [get] a bit more for their bar-band experience," Gass says. "It's all fun. A bunch of guys with guitars and a fat guy with a flute. That's what people are looking for. That's rock 'n' roll."
After visiting Phoenix last year, they immediately left for Europe, where they will soon be touring once more, and found they had quite a following. Gass seemed thankful, in this regard, for his German management team, whom he affectionately referred to as "Hans and Franz."
"Europe is insane for some reason no one can explain," Gass says. "The really love rock over there. I'm not sure if they are way behind or just have better taste."
He paused for a moment.
"I wish they lived closer," he says. "The Euros love to rock. Here we play bars and over there we play like actual music venues."
He summed it up succinctly though.
"It's Europe," he says. "The food is sketchy and languages are weird."
Material from the new record will be sprinkled liberally throughout the set as they prepare for the album to drop in September.
Their set is sure to include some eclectic covers in addition to their own songs, old and new.
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"We have some rather interesting covers," Gass says. "They're just so fun to play. Some of the guys in the band make their living pounding out covers, but by the end of the show, people are a drunken mess and you roll out The Thin Lizzy. You can feel the room and it's a dance party."
Though Tenacious D at one point played stadiums, Gass is unfazed the Rebel Lounge's comparatively cozy confines.
"Even though the venue might be small," Gass assured me, "what you're about to see is the best rock band. And your ear pussies will be tickled and pleasured. And probably your eye pussies as well. We're a visual band, too."
That's more than convincing enough for me.