Dave talks to Jack Black

Interview Magazine

He's a comedian whose funny side isn't sickly sweet, a leading man whose charm isn't anchored in classic good looks, a musician whose songs aren't radio-friendly. From his scene-stealing turn in High Fidelity [2000] and starring role in Shallow Hal to his surprisingly successful band Tenacious D, Jack Black didn't just break the mold--he shattered it with the sheer power of his personality and the broad scope of his talent.

Dave & Jack

JACK BLACK Dude-o-ronomy!
DG How are you?
JB I'm good, man. I'm just looking for my nicotine gum.
DG Wait a minute, that's no substitute!
JB Yeah, it is. It gives a good buzz.
DG Do you double up and blow bubbles?
JB No. I've heard that's a heart attack waiting to happen. They say don't double up, and also don't smoke and chew at the same time.
DG Dude, barbeque at my house tonight.
JB No way. So you're not going?
DG Going where? Oh, to the Dio show?
JB Dio, Scorpions and Deep Purple at the Greek [Theatre, in Los Angeles].
DG I have to sit that one out.
JB What time does your barbeque start?
DG Five. So how's the D [Tenacious D]?
JB The D is taking a little break. But we had a good trip to...what is it, the Ukraine? No--the U.K.! We went to the U.K., Ireland and Australia.
DG Sweet.
JB It was all good, except for London.
DG What are you talking about? I was at the London show. You guys were awesome.
JB Here's the thing: Sometimes I'm not having a good time, so I think the show must be bad. That doesn't mean that it is; it just means it's my head. I think London bums me out. That place is really depressing. British people intimidate me. I feel like they're judging me at all times.
DG I think they're still pissed about World War II. Here's what I was thinking when I saw you guys play in London. Over the last 10 years, music has relied so heavily on dynamic and volume that it's kind of gotten to the point where the song doesn't matter. It's just how loud it is, and how much the guy screams in the chorus. But then you get two guys with acoustic guitars singing about fucking people gently [Black laughs] and you've got 1,500 people bouncing around like it's Rage Against the Machine. It's a whole new trip. You guys are really onto something there. You know, I always tell people that Tenacious D is the next Nirvana.
JB [laughs] Thank you. I appreciate it. I wish we had time to do some more touring. I'd like to play some more overseas dates. I really want to play Amsterdam, but here's my fear: They party so hard there, and they're so depraved, that we'd feel like we're prudes. We're used to going to Vermont and shocking people. [Grohl laughs] Have you played Amsterdam?
DG Yeah, I have. When I first started going there, I used to smoke weed and I wanted to move there. I wanted a bike, an apartment by a canal and a Dutch girlfriend. I even tried learning Dutch--I bought the tapes and everything. I'd go to the night market and try to speak Dutch with people, and they'd just speak English back.
JB [laughs] You know what I'd do if I were king? I would legalize all drugs. All of them.
DG Jack! Why?
JB This is my theory: Everyone does drugs and gets addicted to them because they're so naughty. But if you take that away--
DG --They're boring.
JB Yeah. And I don't think it would be as big a problem. Plus you wouldn't have people [selling drugs] on the street; they'd be in the drugstore.
DG Interesting.
JB If you're old enough. We're all adults, right? Do you ever check out Yahoo! News?
DG No.
JB I don't read the newspaper; I just look at the news on Yahoo! Gore was ripping Bush today and it was kind of awesome, even though it's weird to talk shit about Bush, because in these tender, terrorist times, we're supposed to support him no matter what the fuck lame shit he does.
DG True, true. But it's still in vogue. Did you see the skin condition Bush's daddy's got going now? It's insane. He looks like a Chips Ahoy! cookie.
JB Doesn't that prove something?
DG Sunblock.
JB He's being punished.
DG [laughs] Let's talk about Los Angeles: I have questions.
JB I have answers.
DG You're from Los Angeles?
JB I was born and raised in Hermosa Beach.
DG And you're here to stay?
JB Besides the smog, why would I ever leave? Los Angeles is the undisputed entertainment capital of the universe. Everyone says, "L.A. sucks because everyone's phony." I've got a news flash: There are phonies in every city in the world. In Uzbekistan, there are phonies. You just avoid them. That's what I do.
DG You know, I moved to Los Angeles in 1997. I was a swinging single and I bought a bachelor pad in Laurel Canyon, but I wasn't really feeling the city's homey, family vibe, so I moved back to Virginia. But now that I have the new place here in L.A., I'm digging it, because my sister lives nearby, my girlfriend--
JB --And I think where you are now is a superior location to the one in Laurel Canyon. If you're going to go Laurel Canyon, you want to be at the tippy top where you can see the vista. That's the only thing that sucks about the house I just bought--no vista. I need a vista of lost horizons to really feel like I've arrived at my dream home.
DG Here's what you should do: Make another D record, rake in the cash, pick the house up, plop it at the top of Mulholland, and you've got yourself your dream house.
JB You can't move a house.
DG I've seen them do it.
JB Those are trailer houses! You're saying we should put a hook on the roof and bring in a helicopter?
DG I'm just saying I have so much faith in the D that you could make enough money to do that. [laughs] So, if you want to come over for ribs tonight, I'll get you some of those Fred Flintstone beef racks.
JB You know I like the rack. Before I let you go, what do you think about this for the D's second album--full-on Christian rock? It's like we feel bad about the devil stuff that we did on the first album. We come back with the power of Jesus. Full force. The cover will be angels, with God in the background, smiling.
DG Royal concept. Does that mean you will become a sexy Jesus?
JB Lord knows that's what the people want!
DG They need something to believe in. Come by at five.
JB I'll see you tonight. Later.