Back in 2001 ‘Tribute’ was one of those songs you couldn’t help but stumble across on MTV. Starring Jack Black and a fat bald man by the name of Kyle, it was a singularly bizarre story-in-a-song about a couple of losers called Tenacious D who’d had the dubious honour of discovering ‘The Greatest Song In The World’. Unfortunately they’d promptly forgotten it, leaving the band with only said ‘Tribute’. A mix of hyperactive yelping and terrific writing, it was one of the songs of the year. Ring a bell?
If the answer’s no, then prepare to be enlightened or, rather, alarmed as the music of Black and partner-in-folk-metal Gass doesn’t exactly aim for ‘subtle’. Rather, it heads for the hand-gripped crotch, via the pits of Hell and a glossary of nonsense. Fittingly then, as JB and KG bring comedy music project Tenacious D to the big screen, they’ve cooked up a semi-coherent narrative existing solely to link together their frenetic set-pieces.
Those who are already fans know exactly where The Pick Of Destiny is headed – lewd, crude and often very funny, it’s a ramshackle origin story/buddy movie/rock opera that gathers the various strands of the D’s genesis and gets down to the nitty gritty of their coming together. Thankfully, plenty of what makes them so good is present and correct – the stoner vibe, the out-there mushroom moments... Hell, Dave Grohl even shows up as Satan.
The uninitiated, though, will have a harder time, POD being very much in the same headspace as Anchorman – talented comedy types letting loose with characters and ideas that make them laugh, fleeting viewers be damned. The leads let their heavy metal/classic rock roots show happily here (roping in the likes of Meat Loaf and former Black Sabbath man Ronnie James Dio for cameos) but anyone with a low tolerance for jokes about power slides will be left stony-faced by all the rock. Like many gigs, then, it’s hit-and-miss. Some sections work (the Loaf’s singing), while others fall flat (erm, Sasquatch?). But when the pair are on song, the D will rock your socks off.