The Kaje talks returning to Tenacious D

Jack Black and Kyle Gass first formed Tenacious D in 1994, but it was a good 7 years before their mix of rock and comedy really hit the big time with their 2001 eponymous debut album. Never in a rush to release, the pair waited a good five years before unleashing “The Pick Of Destiny”, and another six years have swiftly passed by since. With the dynamic duo finally ready to release album number three, “Rize of the Fenix”, The Kaje have been lucky enough to have a quick chat with the pair to find out more…

You haven’t released any songs since 2006, what brought the group out of it’s hiatus?

K. Well, I guess…Love of the game? Yeah I’m gonna go with love of the game.

J. Yeah, I’m gonna go with love of the game. Though it should be a multiple choice, you should give us all of the possible reasons as to why we came out of hiatus and then we choose one!

What has Tenacious D been up to in this time?

J. What have we been up to since the last time? Well we’ve been working on our
meditation, a lot of meditation. There’s been a lot of time spent in the Himalayas. There’s been a lot of exercise and diet. There’s been a lot of nose to the grindstone. That’s right, I’ve been nose to the ground stoned! We put out a DVD, about three years ago.

K. That’s true. The Complete Master Works 2.

J. This time even more completer! We’ve been working very hard to complete a
masterpiece, you know. But what else have you been up to?

K. I’ve made babies since last time.

J. I’ve been making babies too, but I just can’t find them.

K. Did you lose them?

J. I don’t know where they are. Maybe we’ll find them somewhere on the road!

So can you tell use a little bit about the inspiration behind the songs on this album, and a bit about your songwriting process?

J. Well my inspiration was really just my children. It’s kind of like when Creed found out about his baby and he wrote all those songs about it – like ‘With Arms Wide Open’. This is kinda my “Arms Wide Open” album. Would you agree?

K. I don’t know, that’s the first I’ve heard!

J. I guess the inspiration was the haters, the non-believers, they inspired us to fight much harder. I mean, it’s definitely our comeback album. We’ve been gone for years. What was the inspiration K, besides fighting off the haters and the critics?

K. Well every song has it’s own story really. I mean, ‘Low Hangin’ Fruit’ was
inspired by sexy, you know, sex. ‘Senorita’ was inspired by sex. Okay so I guess
there’s a lot of sex in there.

J. The cover of the album is really a big raging boner. I guess the inspiration was orgasms. We should put orgasms on the special thanks list, I don’t know why we didn’t really.

K. Not until we get more, more and better ones.

J. I don’t need more, I have all the orgasms I need.

K. Really?

J. Well, if you have more orgasms then they’re not as good, you know that. You’ve gotta spread them out. If you’re gonna want an orgasm every night, it lessens their explosivity. You’ve got to hold off sometimes, just to have a bigger blow-out.

How are you hoping the critics will receive the new album?

K. I hope they rave about it. I’m gonna read every single review.

J. I hope that they speak the truth, my only fear is that they’ll speak what they think they’re supposed to think. They’re gonna say what they’re supposed to say oh these guys are just clowns right? We don’t take these guys seriously, right?’. That kind of bullshit. It’s lazy. I’m open up to critics who will really listen to it and say what they really think, as I honestly think it’s the greatest album in the last seven years. And you say ‘why seven Jack, why not just one year?’ Well seven’s just the number that came into my brain.

Have you received any feedback, have you read any reviews yet?

J. Everyone who’s heard it so far has creamed, they’ve creamed upon it. The songs are better than orgasms, it’s been proven scientifically. They’ve wired people brains and when they listen to the album their pleasure cylinders fire on all cylinders. K, can I get your back up on this?

K. I’ve read every review so far and they’ve varied about 90% positive. There was a bad one.

J. Who fucking dared?!

K I can’t remember who it was! It said the big comeback falls short.

J. What a dick! Well my mum likes it a lot.

K. That guys either a lier or has the worst taste.

J. You know what I wanna to, I want to go back into the archives and see who he likes. Maybe, ‘Well Linkin Park’s new album, that’s an album I can really get behind! That’s an album I can really sing and dance to!’. That fucking asshole can just chew on it all day long. And when I say ‘it’ I mean my shit.

What’s it like making music together again and being back together as a group? Is it the same dynamic or has it changed?

J. You know, it’s bettter than ever, really. The older I get the more I appreciate the comradiory and the creative buzz that we get – it’s been a pleasure. I love to rock. How do you spell that?

K. ROQUE?

J. I do love to roque. Roque and roll!

So a fair chunk of your tour is going to be spent in Europe in June. What do you like about performing for this specific audience and what are you hoping for those shows?

J. Well we’ve never played in Germany before so that will be interesting. We’re
looking forward to seeing if the hunger for The ‘D’ is as ravenous as we’ve heard. But the UK has always been some of the best shows we’ve ever had. They just have a deeper appreciated for rock than the rest of the world. And it makes sense, I would say most of the best rock has come from the UK, and it makes sense that they would appreciate it more. Wouldn’t you agree K?

K. I do, I think the people in the UK are just a little smarter, a little more
sophisticated. Thank you UK.

Talking of British rock, what kind of British rock do you like?

J. I don’t know if you’ve heard of these kids, the Arctic Monkeys? I like some Arctic Monkeys, and have you heard of a band called Biffy Clyro? We had to open for them. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, there’s just some really great bands.

So what are your favorite things to do in Manchester?

J. I like to go out for some curry and I like to just wander the streets, on a little bicycle built for two. I like to do a lot of tandem biking through parks, and just meet some people.

K. Get up close and personal.

J. I like to go to a book store and curl up in the corner, read some Sherlock Holmes and talk to some different British people, and the Mancunians. I like to have a spot of tea and a crumpet. Or just stay in the hotel room. I remember that Manchester rocked extra hard though. It’s the Philadelphia of England. That’s a compliment, they’re a very rocking audience.

And you played Glasgow in 2006, what are your memories of the show there?

J. Well that was one of the best shows ever, remember that K?

K. Yeah

J. I think that was the biggest show we played in the UK, and it was off the scale. I remember some ‘ole ole ole’ before the show started, and I remember our opening act were almost killed by being pelted with pennies. Then we went on and the sound of the audience was similar to thunder, Kyle almost had a cardiac arrest because it vibrated his cheastal cavity so intensely.

K. I tell you, that would have been a pretty cool way to go.

J. Kind of. ‘He died because his heart was such a pussy’. He just couldn’t survive the roar of the crowd, and what a roar! And they just kept it coming, we rocked them and they rocked us. And we were rocking back and forth all night long – it was very similar to sex. And we got a tremendous climax. I imagine the people of Glasgow are waited with baited breath for our return, because no one’s loved them like that since.

I think they will be. You’re playing the same venue as last time too.

J. Well I hope they’ve reinforced it, because it shall be shaken.

You’re doing three dates in London – can you tell me a bit about what your favourite things are about London, and what you’re looking forward to doing?

K. It’s awesome, I love the London fog.

J. In all honesty, the parks are the most beautiful feature of London as a town. You don’t get a lot of towns in the world any more with so much beautiful green parks. I would go down and swing the frisbee a lot. I’ll be meditating, playing frisbee and having a little picnic. I’ll be there everyday.

And you’re also going to be playing Download festival in June. What can we expect from your set?

J. Well I’ve heard that if they don’t like you they throw urine at you. Hopefully we’ll be well liked. But you should expect an umbrella – I’ll bring an umbrella just in case. As much as I appreciate the golden showers, I don’t think it would be safe – there’s possible electrocution.

K. I think we’ll be playing fewer songs than we usually do.

J. That’d right, the festival crowd – you’ve got to keep it tight.

K. Look forward to a very economical set.

J. You can expect a spirited…no, muscular set. There should be a sexier word than muscular, but fuck it. It’s gonna be a good set.

K. Enthusiastic?

J. No…

K. Stimulating?

J. But you’ll be hearing new songs.We’re gonna kick the teeth right out of the gig with some new songs.

K. We’ll massage their libidos in the second half with some old favourites.

J. But it’s probably gonna be about 45 minutes of love.

Do you have anything else you would like to add?

K. Whatever you do, UK, do not download this record. Go to the store and buy it.

J. Are you really lecturing them on piracy. No one wants to hear you lecturing them about piracy. That is the death knell of record sales!

K. I’m gonna buy up all the vinyl, there won’t be any left. That shit’s a good
investment.

J. Yeah if you buy it all imagine how valuable it’s going to be? It just like buying
stocks. It’s like the most precious stock you can buy. Okay I take it back, that’s good sound economic advice – not a lecture at all. You’re looking out for the fans.

K. Make sure you put it in a safety deposit box. Don’t take it out of the wrapper.

J. Unless you have us sign it. But then they’ll never see that gorgeous poster inside of you and me naked, coming out of the flames.

J. But thanks UK, we’ll see you soon. And one more message for Europe: just stay alive. Because it would be a shame if you died before the D came into town. You don’t want to miss this.

Interview by Jenn Nimmo-Smith

The Kaje talks touring to Biffy Clyro

Ayrshire trio Biffy Clyro spent nearly a decade on the live circuit building an unbreakable reputation which finally resulted in their fourth album “Puzzle” exploding into the mainstream. With their current UK Arena tour coming to a close, the Scotsmen are about to head down to Australia for an epic headline tour as well as some dates with some old friends… The Kaje grabbed a few minutes with drummer Ben Johnston to find out a little bit more…

So, we hear you are going ‘Down Under’…

We are going with Muse, supporting them as well as doing a load of our own headliner shows. We are going to try to play as many of our songs that we can fit into one set. We have five albums to choose from. We will just fit in as much as we can and give a spirited performance.

In your time you have supported some amazing bands. Could you pick a favourite?

Queens Of The Stone Age, if I had to pick one, was probably the best support slot we’ve done. They are big heroes of ours. We’ve supported them twice now, both in the States and Europe. The tours we did were great and we’ve become friends. Of course Josh featured on our record and stuff afterwards.

As a headliner, do you get any say as to who supports you?

It depends where we are playing as to how much say we have. On this tour in the UK, we could handpick the bands as long as they were available. But if we go to somewhere like America, you have to do somebody a favour to get the show or bring in extra fans. It is not as clear-cut as people think. In Australia, we get a list of bands and pick out the best ones. There is still a good deal of control there in terms of good music control.

What do you think the secret to a good set is?

Passion, it is the best thing in the world. It always makes an amazing show. It help create a connection with people which you just can’t put into words. It is really quite special. Luckily we’ve always had that. People like to sing our songs, it is one of the best things about the Biffy fans. Also as a performer, it is important for an audience to see that the performer loves singing the songs just as much as they do.

Everything seems to have gone a bit crazy post'”Puzzle”…

It is all pretty mental and pretty weird. There is nothing about our life that is mundane, mediocre or normal. When we look back we can’t believe where we started, it has been 16 years of hard graft. It has been a gradual progression from one stage to the next. It takes a good long time to take it all in and we’ve got strong heads on our shoulders. We’ve tried to take it all in our strides really.

Would you be able to put your finger on what makes you stand-out?

Not really. I guess on this particular arena tour, there is a song on our set list called “There’s No Such Thing As A Jaggy Snake”, which is on the third album. It is a catchy song, we are playing it every night right now, sometimes to 11,000 people and I can’t think of any other band that has done that, played a song that is that crazy. When you think about that it completely baffles me, when people that play music like we do, especially over here right now, with the charts are corporate pop acts. We even get called a pop act over here, just because of how popular we are, I is difficult to get our heads around it. We love it though as we are hopefully changing people’s ideas about music. Their only concert will have been N Dubz, then they come to see us. That is just completely bonkers to us. We have always been a cult band so it is totally weird.

How do you feel about your ever-increasing fame?

It has two sides I guess, it is good that more people are listening to our music. Even at that point, we’d done three albums so we had done a shit load of touring all around the place. We had spent time with the first records and the music finally come round to our way of thinking. “Puzzle” came out, qe were suddenly played on day time radio. We were just over the moon when it happened, we will welcome as many fans as possible.

Having put in the hard slog, why did it your destiny suddenly change?

The right band ant the right time, we’d put in the groundwork and it was bubbling away when we;d done Volcano. We had a bunch of amazing songs and sorted them into an album, we recorded them with a good producer and the stars aligned and people were now ready for Biffy to be a big band. It hasn’t really stopped.

Now that the mainstream success has hit, do you feel extra pressure to keep it going?

There is a little bit of a niggle in the back of your head, but it definitely isn’t something that occupies your thoughts much. The tester for our songs is do we like them, do they make the hairs on our neck stand up. If they do then they make the album, or if the not the record then they will be a b-side. It is the same testing process for everything, that hasn’t changed at any point ever. We aren’t going to start putting restrictions on what we do.

“Only Revolutions” has only further cemented your widespread appeal, with the record receiving nominations across the board…

It was because of the success of “Puzzle”, people started having expectations of the new album. It comes out and the songs are good again, so they were just buying it. There are a lot of things that have been released from that album and Britain has just gone a bit crazy for it. It is just really hard to believe, we even won at the teen awards this year. We won best song, we beat Cheryl Cole and some other pop bands, so we can’t believe it is actually happening. People’s ears were pricked up already and then the album came out. It was the right time and a good time.

Thinking back to when it all began, do you recall what it as that you wanted to achieve?

We didn’t really have an aim at all, even if that sounds a bit cliché. To tell you the truth We were just three friends playing In our parents’ garage, making a racket. We doing Nirvana songs, indie songs and everyone’s favourite songs. Eventually we wrote our own stuff. Then suddenly were doing a gig and so our aim changed to doing an album. It just goes on like that. You take it in small steps. We were talking about this the other day, and Simon had scribbled on his art school folder, everyone used to scribble on theirs, he wrote the Reading line-up of the year 200 and apparently we were headlining. That was Simon’s aspirations anyway by 2000, but it wasn’t quite right! Maybe 2012, who knows?

You have toured around the world, are there any boxes still unticked?

Big Day Out. We’d love to come to Big Day Out. We had a chance last year but it didn’t quite work out. Also Coachella in America, would be great. In terms of actually venues, I can’t actually think of anywhere.

Was there a moment on stage when you realised you were onto something?

You are asking me to cast my mind back a good few years here. It was probably the first time we sold out King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, a little venue in Glasgow. The first time we sold it out and the audience were sing out our stuff back to us to the point to where our monitors were indeducable. We couldn’t hear ourselves sing. It was like a proper fucking Beatles moment, you know. Back then, we thought it was about to kick off in Glasgow, there was vibe it was all going off. Then we went to London and it all happened again. It was before we’d even released an album, so probably 2000. So the year Simon wanted to headline Reading, we were actually selling out King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut.

Looking back on your five albums, would you be able to pick a favourite song from the selection?

Ah man, you can’t do that! That’s impossible! Its like having fifty babies and picking your favourite. I can give you a current favourite off the new album. I’ll go for “Whorses”, I like playing it live, it is a great workout and its great fun. I really have to concentrate to go through that one.

If you had to recommend one of your albums to someone who hadn’t heard of you, which would you suggest?

“Only Revolutions”, to be honest. It is everything we are to this point. There is nothing we have lost, we still have the sensibilities of the first album. Our spirit is still there. It is a perfect representation of where we are as a band.

So if “Only Revolutions” epitomises Biffy Clyro to date, what can we expect next?

There is always another album coming up, there is a bunch of songs already, we just haven;t been home much. We are constantly touring, for four years actually, but even more now. We are taking January off and you know, songs will flow without a doubt. Simon writes when he is home, so we will have about 30 or 40 songs to choose from. So we should have an album and if things work out right, some b-sides.

 

NEWS: Pulled Apart By Horses Announce November Tour

Emerging as one of the most acclaimed and talked-about breakout acts of 2010, Leeds quartet Pulled Apart By Horses follow recent single ‘High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive’ with a full UK tour this coming November. It should be no surprise to find Pulled Apart by Horses back on the road, who have earned their reputation as one of the country’s most hard-working bands.

First single ‘Back To The F**k Yeah’ exploded all over Radio One, no mean feat for a jarring, screaming two minutes and forty seconds of noise! Second single ‘High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive’ was equally – if not more – explosive. The vocal hook is instantly infectious, yet the riffs will melt the skin from your face.

Singer Tom’s girlfriend will no longer watch the band live through fear of what might happen, but none of this has made them tone down the intensity. “That’s what it boils down to,” considers James, “because when we play it’s just what happens. It’s not something we plan or think about it just happens because we enjoy it.” And as their reputation grew, they found themselves princes of a new UK underground as support band of choice for aggro-rock’s ivy league, racking up tours with Future Of The Left, Biffy Clyro, Glassjaw and The Bronx.

The band is also set to support Foals on their UK tour as well as a headline appearance at The Garage in Islington on December 2nd.

Confirmed dates are as follows:

September

18th – Southseafest (14+)
22nd – Liverpool Shipping Forecast
23rd – Birmingham Flapper & Firkin
24th – Bristol Croft
25th – Cambridge Portland (18+)
26th – Gloucester Guildhall (14+)
30th – Kingston New Slang (18+)

October

9th – Whitehaven Civic Hall (under 18s)
14th – Manchester In The City
30th – Lancaster Library (all ages)

November

05th – Carlisle Brickyard (14+)
06th – Wakefield The Hop (18+)
08th – Bury St Edmunds Old Maltings (14+)
10th – Norwich UEA (w/Foals)
11th – Lincoln Engine Shed (w/Foals)
12th – London Brixton Academy (w/Foals)
18th -Newcastle Cluny (16+)
19th – Dundee Hustler’s (14+)
20th – Inverness Ironworks (14+)
21st – Aberdeen Drummonds (14+)
23rd – Glasgow Oran Mor (14+)
24th – Preston 53 Degrees (16+)
25th – Wrexham Central Station (14+)
26th – Stoke Sugarmill (14+)
27th – Sheffield Leadmill Steel Stage (14+)
29th – Leicester University (14+)

December

1st – Brighton Audio (16+)
12th – London Garage (14+)

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