It would seem as if a two-man, acoustic, novelty side project should be a pretty casual endeavor that can kick out the jams whenever the mood hits. However, anyone who caught the 2007 film D Tour: A Tenacious Documentary understands that it’s a rock & roll miracle that this duo ever rocked again. Originally planned as a tour diary of the victory lap Jack Black and Kyle Gass would be taking around the country in the wake of their 2006 feature film Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny, it turned out to be more of a Hearts of Darkness–like look into the mental unraveling of artists shell-shocked by the utter commercial failure of their vision.
Tenacious D’s humor is based on open-mic artists with delusions of rock-god pomposity. Black and Gass lovingly parody hard-rock ridiculousness. It was car-crash fascinating and heartbreaking to see genuine pettiness, jealousy, bitterness and ugliness overtake the duo post–Pick of Destiny.
Apparently, a half-decade heals all wounds, as demonstrated by the new album and tour for Rize of the Fenix. The short film promoting “To Be the Best” opens with a faux Extra segment tracing the fallout after D’s box-office bomb that skewers not only the anguish of D Tour, but also Black’s greater celebrity, before tangentially referencing Metalocalypse and the montage from Team America: World Police. The title track (also obsessed with Pick’s failures) is a slightly less funny video but a way more rocking song. Thank Satan for failure. Who wants to hear comedy from winners?