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Video Breakdown: Tenacious D – Tribute

How Jack Black and Kyle Gass defeated the Devil in a guitar duel

The video for Tenacious D's song Tribute has been viewed over 35 million times on YouTube. And for good reason. It’s one of the greatest promos ever made. Directed by Liam ‘United States Of Whatever’ Lynch, it’s a tale of good versus evil set in a mall karaoke booth and features a very brief cameo by a Hollywood star.

Let’s bask in the televisual glow of this five-minute treat, scene by scene.


00:05

A karaoke booth is like catnip to people like Jack Black and Kyle Gass. Entertaining is in their blood, so we’re not surprised that they seize the opportunity to lay down some sweet, sweet jams after a visit to the local mall’s food court.


00:11

Look, Jack points to a sign that says 'Stud 10'. Not sure what that means, but it seems important. It’s decorated with a glittery star. That’s Hollywood, right there.


00:42

With the use of some wire-cutters, the ever-resourceful Black secures a sweet discount on their studio time. It’s a trick he probably learned on that episode of The X-Files or that film about the aggro Panda.

Continued below...

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01:00

The red light is on. That means they’re recording. Maybe that means there’s lots of recording studios in London’s Soho. Such a creative environment, especially at night. In this frame, Black also appears to have caught a fly.


01:15

They’re walking down a “long, lonesome road”. Travel tip: when you walk across North America, you must carry your belongings in a handkerchief on the end of a stick. It adds to the romance of travel, however impractical.


01:26

This always happens at night. You’re trying to get from A to B, and there’s always some bloke with hooves getting in your face. Especially on the last bus home.


01:35

If he didn’t have horns, he’d look a bit like that fella from Foo Fighters.


02:20

The healing properties of Gass’ shredding is well-known in Los Angeles chiropractic circles.


02:22

But it’s a little too much for the Devil’s ears. Aw.


02:40

Not sure what this is supposed to achieve. A distraction tactic?


02:44

It’s like a massive truck is heading for the pair. Full beams on, too. Rude.


03:16

We forgot, they’re in a non-descript mall and the scene on the road is part of the story. That’s acting for you.


03:39

He definitely looks like Dave Grohl. Well, apart from the horns, red skin and furry jogging pants.


04:00

Imagine recording the tribute to the greatest song in the world and Ben Stiller walks past. Have you seen that film Envy they made together in 2004? It was rubbish.


04:19

Oh, right. It is Dave Grohl. He's let himself go.


04:27

A police officer swoops in to apprehend the pair during the climax of the song. That elderly lady looks terrified. Or she’s going to sneak into the booth and record a jam of her own. Probably a nice Pat Boone cover or an early Deicide track.


04:32

Meanwhile, the pair have defeated evil and reduced Devil Dave into a pile of miserable dust. Riffs will always prevail in this instance.


04:35

Job done. Jack Black needs a new shirt now, though. That's the price of taking on evil.


04:39

One fresh debut album plops out of the machine.


04:47

She’s a bit much, isn’t she? And she wonders why her grandchildren always cry when she visits.


What did we learn from Tribute?

If you're going to do battle with the Devil itself in a remote area, always have a mate who can shred with the best of them. And invest in a bag – walking around with your belongings in a handkerchief may look quaint but you will get robbed.

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