Wednesday, December 14, 2011

40 Songs, 40 Days, Day Thirty: Flash Gordon Theme by Tenacious D

I've discussed the idea of the joke band that found themselves being larger than the joke they started telling--I've covered it pretty extensively when I talked about The Zambonis--and today, we're going to be talking about a joke band whose largeness is probably only exceeded by Spinal Tap...Tenancious D.

And don't argue about it--as originally conceived by Jack Black and Kyle Gans, Tenacious D was meant as a joke. To be more precise, the band was a hobby until the duo decided to use it as the central conceit of a series of short films they made for HBO back in 1999. Those short films led to them supporting bigger acts on the road, which led to them cutting their first album, which led to their Top Ten hit 'Tribute,' which led to them actually making a movie....which thankfully did poorly (and deservedly so), thus stopping the band from becoming world leaders or something. They may very well be the most successful joke band in recent memory.

This cover of the classic Queen theme to the campy as all Hell movie is...well, it's delivered pretty straight, and to be fair Queen is tailor made to Black's overdramatic, bombastic vocals, even if the single acoustic guitar acoustic is rather strange. But hearing this live rendition makes me wonder if Black and Gans are now at that point in their musical career that Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer and Michael McKean were at when I wrote that earlier entry, that point where they want people to know that they can write and perform, you know, actual songs and not just take-offs and parodies. This might very well be why that third album, referred to at different times as Tenacious 3-D or Rise of The Pheonix has been in limbo for so long. Are Black and Gans unsure about whether they want to continue down the jokey high-concept path that gave them the most success or try to mature a bit and find new paths to explore.

Of course, it could just be that the two thought the Queen song was kick ass. It wouldn't surprise me if that was all it was.

Anyway, this is not the live version I have on my Sansa Disk...but it's still a cool rendition that slides ever-so-easily into one of my favorite songs of theirs, 'Wonderboy'....

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