Jack Black, a birthday in the name of rock!

Jack Black by Zoa Studio
Jack Black by Zoa Studio

I would like to try to be impartial about Jack Black, the protagonist of today’s article, but I don’t really know if I will succeed because I respect him so much!

Today, 28 August, the American actor, but also musician, comedian, songwriter and youtuber (probably in his spare time is also a fakir and knows how to weld wire) turns 51! To wish him happy birthday and celebrate him, we tell you all about his life, career and successes.

Short biography of Jack Black

Thomas Jacob Black was born in Hermosa Beach on August 28, 1969. I could already find a similarity with myself. I too was practically born on the beach, but he was near Los Angeles, I was in a more modest location in the Venetian area! I’ll try to use a comic tone for today’s article, so maybe Jack and I could have another thing in common!

Jack Black is an only child, born to parents who are both engineers (here our paths differ) who separated when he was 10 years old. Jack attended the University of California, otherwise known as UCLA. He began to be part of an acting company, the Actors’ Gang, and his mentor was Tim Robbins. If you were wondering, yes, that Tim Robbins, the Oscar winner. If I started being an actress, my mentor would probably be the village bartender, he knows my tastes!

Either way, it’s this collaboration that brought Jack Black to his 1992 film debut in the Bob Roberts movie. Though he was just a background voice in his first film, Jack’s subsequent appearances on television shows like The X-Files (1993), his incredible performance in High Fidelity (2000) and the birth of his  rock band, Tenacious D, created an ever-growing group of followers.

Personally, and I think many like me, I had an epiphany with the film School of Rock, which we will tell you about shortly!

Cinema career

The beginnings

In the early 1990s, as mentioned earlier, Jack Black took part in numerous major projects on the big screen, such as “Demolition Man” (1993), “Waterworld” (1995), plus “Enemy of the State” (1998) . Although the productions were “big”, all the parts Black got were quite small. The road seemed uphill for the American actor.

Luckily for him (and us) another Actors’ Gang member, John Cusack, asked him to appear in his 2000 film High Fidelity (based on Nick Hornby’s novel). Brilliantly portraying a hateful record store clerk named Barry, Jack Black was showered with critical praise that undoubtedly propelled his name to national attention and thus led him to bigger roles. For example the one in the hilarious (but also profound after all) film Shallow Hal.

Success after School of Rock

This film icon status grew thanks to her memorable performance in Richard Linklater’s The School of Rock (2003). Screenwriter Mike White wrote the film specifically for today’s protagonist. The performance is so memorable that the Hollywood Foreign Press awarded him a Golden Globes nomination for Best Performance in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Category a year later.

In 2005 he got a starring role in the remake of King Kong while the following year he took part in The Holiday, in which he showed his talent even in a non-comic part. 2008 saw Jack Black also dubbing Po in Kung Fu Panda and, at the same time, he also appears alongside Ben Stiller and Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder.

In the following years, other films arrive and also the Nespresso commercial with George Clooney. At the end of 2019 Jack announced his retirement from the world of cinema, with the exception of special requests from famous directors. Maybe a School of Rock sequel? I hope so!

Music career

The birth ofTenacious D

Aside from his acting career, Jack Black is known for being the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of the band Tenacious D, founded with Kyle Gass and active since 1994. The band’s style ranges from classic rock to folk, from comic to rather vulgar lyrics.

The funny thing is that the two at first hated each other and then since 1989 have become great friends. Gass tought Black to play the guitar and, in between fun, it took 5 years for the band to really form.

In 1997, Tenacious D made themselves known to the American public thanks to the TV miniseries broadcast by HBO and dedicated to them (Tenacious D in fact).

The duo signed a contract with Epic Records in 2000 and the following year they released a self-titled album Tenacious D plus two singles titled Tribute and Wonderboy in 2002. The album was recorded with a full band formation although, officially, Tenacious D are a duo. A duo that includes bassist Steve McDonald, guitarist Warren Fitzgerald of The Vandals, keyboardist Page McConnell of Phish and Foo Fighters founder Dave Grohl (ex-drummer of  Nirvana). The song Dio also captured the attention of Ronnie James Dio (dedicated to him), who decided to invite the duo to appear in the video for the single Push.

Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny

In addition, in recent years, the two also worked on a film, “Tenacious D and the pick of destiny ‘” which came out in 2006, with a soundtrack obviously created by them. The soundtrack will effectively become the band’s second album.

We could say that the film is inspired by This Is Spinal Tap, a 1984 “fake documentary” directed by Rob Reiner and starring the semi-fictional heavy metal band Spinal Tap. Indeed, it is Jack Black himself who said it: “The movie This Is Spinal Tap shook my world. It was for me what The Sound of Music (1965) was for the hills”.

In Tenacious D and the pick of destiny there are also numerous cameos such as that of Ben Stiller (who is also the producer of the film), Ronnie James Dio starring as himself, Meat Loaf in the role of the father of Jack Black, Black’s mentor Tim Robbins and Dave Grohl in the role of Satan.

Recently, during his performance at the Shaky Knees Music Festival, Jack Black announced the arrival of a sequel to Tenacious D and the pick of destiny: https://www.virginradio.it/news/rock-news/247462/tenacious-d-jack-black-conferma-a-sorpresa-l-arrivo-del-sequel-di-the-pick-of-destiny-tutte-le-info.html

Last albums

In 2012 the band’s third album, Rize of the Fenix, was released, which received excellent reviews. The album cover certainly had an impact, because the red phoenix in the background in the image is actually a penis! On March 26 of the same year, the short film To Be The Best was published on their YouTube channel, with the participation of celebrities such as Val Kilmer and Jimmy Kimmel.

Speaking of Jimmy and Youtube, let’s take Jimmy Fallon who, together with Jack Black, achieved an absolute record in 2015. Almost 30 million views with the parody of More Than Words, the famous song by Extreme that in 1991 became the first in the ranking of the most beautiful ballads. In short, Jack Black, host of Jimmy Fallon, gave life to one of the most successful and fun parodies of recent times. Jack’s falsetto is all true! You couldn’t miss it, here is the video!

Also in 2015 the duo won a Grammy Award for best Metal interpretation recording the cover of The Last in Line by Ronnie James Dio.

In early 2016, the band released their first live album titled Tenacious D Live which includes 11 tracks from the European sessions of the Rize of the Fenix promotional tour.

Finally, in 2018, the latest studio album, Post-Apocalypto, was released. The album is produced by John Spiker (bassist of the band) and features Dave Grohl’s drums. If we evaluate the band’s productivity in recent years we could hope to have a new album by the end of 2020!

Jack Black and Youtube

We just talked about the Post-Apocalypto album. Do you know that it is thanks / to this that Jack Black started a successful career as a Youtuber?

The tale is reported by Variety magazine: Jack Black decided to become a video game YouTuber after his presentation for a Tenacious D animated series, “Post-Apocalypto” was rejected by Amazon, HBO and Netflix. Black’s 13-year-old son, Sammy, teased him about this failure.

“Okay, the truth hurts. But “Post-Apocalypto” is my pride and my joy. I feel like it’s an undiscovered masterpiece. One day, long after I am gone, people will rediscover “Post-Apocalypto”, “Black joked about his son’s remark.

Jack Black and his son Sammy then launch Jablinski Games in December 2018, a channel dedicated to the world of gaming. Currently the channel has more than 4 million subscribers.

Is there anything this man can’t do? I’m not sure honestly, but I’m counting on him on a special mission. Redeem the world from shitty music by the end of the year! To pray all together for this to happen, here is the oath to recite, taken from The School of Rock.

God of Rock, thank you for this chance to kick ass. We are your humble servants. Please give us the power to blow people’s minds with our high voltage rock. In your name we pray, Amen.n. 

#rocksaveus

#playingblackjack

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