Exclusive Interview: Kyle Gass
by Brian Ripple | Friday Apr. 1st, 2016
What does KG do when he’s not playing with the Greatest Band in the World? He assembles an otherworldly super-team of badass dudes to back him up in his own project, The Kyle Gass Band. Along with The D’s longtime electric guitarist, John Konesky; resident Sasquatch and guitarist/vocalist, Mike Bray; mythical bass legend, “Uncle Jazz” and percussion genius/international heart-throb Jamie Douglass, the rollicking gentlemanly ensemble traverses hill and dale to bring earth-shattering rock and roll to the wanting 100’s. If you’re lucky enough to catch this man-herd on the road, you’ll surely count it as one of your finest living days. Don’t miss the Kyle Gass Band, Monday April 11th at the Eagle’s Ballroom in Bozeman. Tickets are on sale now, and going fast at Cactus Records.
A couple weeks ago Bozeman Magazine had the privilege to speak with Kyle Gass about the upcoming Kyle Gass Band (KGB) show in the Eagle’s Ballroom on April 11th. Here are some excerpts from that conversation.
BR: Hello Kyle, it’s a pleasure to talk to you. Last time you were here in July it was a crazy sold out show. Everyone is excited for the show April 11th. Will it be even better?
KG: Yes, it will be better for sure... So we were there in July? I guess we are playing there 2 times a year now.
We have been working on new material and have been in the studio recording a new album as well. I believe it should be out sometime around September.
BR: That is great. Will you be playing some of that new material for us at the show here?
KG: Of course, as well as our great selection of covers that are carefully chosen for you.
BR: When you were here in July you mentioned a few tidbits of local information, including real estate prices and the history of our towns namesake, John Bozeman. Is history something you’re interested in or was it just being in Bozeman that sparked your interest?
KG: Oh, yeah. That was an interesting story (John Bozeman being murdered by his friend). Well it is pretty easy to check stuff out on the internet where ever you are. I like to keep informed, and I have a friend send me updates about where I am going when I am on the road.
BR: Being on the road, learning about the places you go with your friends, playing in a band must be great fun. Do you remember your first gig as a musician?
KG: Great question. Well I actually moved to LA to pursue acting, which is how I met Jack. (Jack Black - Tenacious D) I was not really a musician back then, unlike the members of the KGB who are all outstanding musicians and who were all probably gigging in their teens.
I think my first gig was at a small bar in LA called AL’s. Jack and I opened for our friends band. We only had one song, but it was “Tribute” so it was still great.
BR: So was this also the first Tenacious D gig or was it under a different name?
KG: No, This would have been the beginning of the D’s.
BR: Cool. The success you have had with Jack has led to you being able to pursue things like the KGB and touring with your buddies and whatnot?
KG: Yeah, I still do some acting too, but I am kinda not a very social animal, so I do not like going out on auditions. Which is great if you are Tom Hanks or Jack Black. They get people sending them offers all the time, but I am lower down the ladder. Usually when someone offers me a part I am flattered and I pretty much say yes sight unseen. Which can lead to some pretty questionable roles. Anyway I am going to be in a new indie horror film called ‘GNAW’. That will be coming out down the road for your viewing pleasure, so keep your eyes open... if you dare.
BR: Cool, that’s great to hear. We will be waiting for it to be released. So when you are touring with the KGB, what radio stations or music do you guys listen to in the van?
KG: Well, when we are riding in the van there is only one DJ, and that is me, so we get to listen to what I want, but I do care about my guys and there are five of us with eclectic musical interest. Of course we like to Rock, and listen to a lot of Rock and Roll, but also some Jazz and Classical. We do have a few standbys we listen to, an old Tim McGraw song that we like. As well as great covers that we are learning to play for you all.
BR: Good Answer. What does the KGB like to eat on the road?
KG: We usually pull into one of those places that has a bunch of options. Then we stop the van and everyone splits up and gets what they like. We have a vegetarian, a pseudo vegetarian, some carnivores so we have to do it that way. I guess to sum it up I like to get a good sandwich whenever possible. And Pizza. Of course we like a great pizza whenever we can get it.
BR: Bozeman is known for great pizza. There are several local places that make great pies like Cosmic, or Red Tractor to name a couple.
KG: Red Tractor, great name. What’s that about?
BR: Their tag line is ‘Farm to Pizza’. They use mostly local ingredients and make some great tasting flavor combinations.
KG: That sounds perfect. We will need a couple larges for right after the show.
BR: We can make that happen. I suppose another great benefit from Tenacious D’s success is being able to tour with the KGB and being able to perform on stage as well as performing your new (comedic) material for vast audiences. Many of your songs are funny while still being about real life, or at least some real life situations. Can you tell us how you come up with material for KGB’s songs?
KG: Writing songs for the KGB is a real team effort. Oft times on the road we think of possible song titles that we make sure to write down so we don’t forget them later. For us songs usually start from the band talking about something over again. ....... It is kinda like our life is a musical, and when we get to the part where everyone breaks out into song, that’s where we write our songs.
BR: So being on tour with your bros is great but if the KGB could tour with any other band, to have fun on the road and just hang out and Rock with, who would it be?
KG: Let me just say that its better to play smaller clubs alone and be the headliner that it is to open for another band in a bigger venue, even if it a band that you’re friends with. That being said, it’s a tough question but since we are playing the hypothetical game, I will say the Beatles in the middle of their 1965 tour. That’s who I would want to hang out with and play music with and just get to know.
BR: That would be a fun tour. I agree. So April 11th is coming up quickly. What do you want people to know or to do to be prepared for the show?
KG: Well, first off have a couple beers before hand. Not too many, just a couple so you are slightly lucid, but still coherent. You will want to be coherent. Get a good nights rest the night before and wear something comfortable. That and be sure to bring a bowl, to catch your face after we melt, because that’s what we plan to do. Pretty much that’s it.
BR: Well I will tell everyone to get a good nights rest the day before and I know a lot of people can’t wait to see you guys again. Thanks for your time today, I will see you soon.
KG: Thank you.