By Eric Wendt
Kyle Gass: the man, the myth, the legend. Mr. Gass, of Tenacious D fame, indeed has another group that may have slipped by our radar: Trainwreck. Currently out on the the road, Glass, aka Klip Calhoun, was kind enough to answer some questions for Synthesis regarding the band’s new album, The Wreckoning, the joys of live performance, and the chances of him becoming my new dad.
Tell me about The Wreckoning.
The new album is seven years in the making. It took so long to complete we were tempted to call it Trainwreck Democracy. I believe it is a masterpiece.
I read that putting the album out was something of a struggle. Can you elaborate?
We were working with the producer of the [Tenacious] D records, but it was hard to squeeze it in… We thought, well, you know, we should just do it ourselves. Our bass player is a pretty good producer.
Trainwreck’s music is a mix of country and classic rock. Are there any specific influences or sounds you guys look for when writing and recording?
Yes there are. We like kind of a classic, sort of ‘70s vibe. Thin Lizzy meets Skynyrd, meets, kind of, yeah, Jethro Tull.
For the uninitiated, what can a person expect when they attend a Trainwreck show?
They can expect a full-throttle, high-energy rock experience. It’s like watching a cartoon come to life. There will be dancing. I try to dance, but it comes off like your drunk uncle at a party. It really is a live band gig. You know, we’ve played a lot of shows, and when it’s really hummin’, it’s a party. I like to talk to people. I don’t like them to come on stage; that gets a little uncomfortable, there’s a barrier there. But I do like to look them in the eye and say “You rule.”
A lot of people associate you with Tenacious D. Trainwreck is a very different band, but there are similarities. The humor and fun vibe; how important are those things to you guys?
They’re essential. I don’t know. Tenacious D is fun, but because of its self-importance. Trainwreck is more fun because…I don’t know why it’s fun. It’s an alternate universe. We all have our alter egos. I wear a funny wig.
I heard the wig usually comes off after the second or third song.
Oh no. You heard wrong. The wig stays on. I did take it off one time, I thought it was a big reveal…but it wasn’t.
What’s next for you guys?
Trainwreck is a live band. If you don’t like to tour, you’re out of the band. Were gonna try to criss-cross this great nation of ours and desperately try to entertain people.
Okay. The serious stuff is done. It’s time to put you on the hot seat. It’s time to get real. We’ve got some questions from some random, anonymous fans. Are you ready?
I am ready.
What kind of debauchery are you guys planning for the road? Can we expect riots? Arrests?
There won’t be self-destruction, because we do have more gigs to play. [But] We’re ready to get debaucherous with you. We’re a testosterone-filled band. If you’re looking for some action, you came to the right place. We encourage drinking at the shows. But don’t drive home to your dormitories or what have you.
If I had opened this interview with a bunch of questions about what Jack Black was like, would you have beaten me up? And if so, how would you have done it?
[Laughs] You don’t think I’ve crossed that path before? Jack is a buddy. We’re working on a new album right now; we’re in the writing process… I try to live in an egoless world. I fail, but I try.
What would you say to all the mothers of the kids whose faces you’ve melted off with your rock ‘n’ roll abilities?
We want to apologize for melting the faces. But it was in the service of rock. We will donate 10 percent of our money from touring to reconstructive surgery.
My mom is a big fan of yours, and she’s single; what are the chances you could be my new dad?
Very, very probable. There is a good chance. I could be like the mean stepdad. Don’t think it’s gonna be a picnic out there. When are you gonna get a job? I wanna party with your mom, go find stuff to do kid.
If you could go out in true rock star fashion, like Jim Morrison or something, how would you go?
I think I’d like to go with my boots on. During a big show, rocking Rio or something; just hit the final chord, crowd goes crazy, and then it’s like “Yes, massive heart attack, I’m done.”