The other guy in Tenacious D, Kyle Gass led his other band, The Kyle Gass Band (aka The KGB), at Lebowski Fest Los Angeles this spring. The Kage returns for this weekend’s mothership edition. (KGB plays Friday at Executive Strike & Spare at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20-$25. Check out lebowskifest.com for details.)
LEO: How was your first experience?
Kyle Gass: Oh God, it was great! We had so much fun. Like everybody, we’re all pretty big fans, so we designed the set specifically for the fans. We did songs from the movie, and then we all dressed up as characters from the movie. It was really fun. Jack (Black) made a cameo. He wasn’t really a character from the movie, but he enjoyed it anyway.
LEO: Who’s your favorite character?
KG: It’s hard not to love Jesus. He’s only on screen for, like, two minutes, and yet, it’s one of the most memorable … the costume — our guitarist (dressed as) Jesus. He has the same body type, and he found the tightest, greatest costume. But, you know, it’s hard not to love The Dude and Walter. They’re all great.
LEO: Who is the most like you?
KG: Probably The Dude. I feel a kinship to his relaxed attitude and style. I mean, I’m a California guy. So I relate.
LEO: And there’s a lot of pot references in the movie, as well as in your own oeuvre.
KG: I’ve heard that, yeah! (laughs) Come on, it’s California. We can handle it.
LEO: When you played the L.A. Fest, did a lot of people want to smoke out with you?
KG: No, we were backstage. We’re having fun, but we’re working. We’re more likely to maybe down some White Russians than do that.
LEO: Those are pretty potent.
KG: They’re a little rich. They’re not really on my diet. We actually had a little bar set up on stage, and the guy that, I guess, Lebowski was based on, the real Dude (Jeff Dowd) pretty much absconded with our bar. It seems kind of funny, but it wasn’t. Like, “Hey, you know what? Don’t. That’s for us.” Taking it off the stage, like, “Oh, somebody left this here!” … Like he had some sort of hall pass or something. You’re stealing, that’s what’s happening there.
LEO: How many times have you seen the movie?
KG: It’s one of those I’ll bump into and check out some favorite scenes. All the way through — probably a solid three or four times.
LEO: You’re not obsessive about it.
KG: No, I’m not of that mentality. I’m always glad there are fans like that, because it’s better for a performer, but I don’t need to be crazy obsessive.
LEO: You have your own crazy obsessive fans.
KG: Oh God, yeah!
LEO: How do they compare to the “Lebowski” fans you’ve seen?
KG: There’s more similarities between superfans — whatever they’ve chosen to focus on, whatever floats their boat … But I don’t think you have to be a superfan to celebrate a movie like “Lebowski,” or Tenacious D. Or even the KGB, the band that’s playing.
LEO: You’ll be playing some of the covers here, as well?
KG: We will. I wish I could reveal them. But if you’ve seen the movie, you know what we’re gonna play. We’re probably gonna play “Condition,” and there’s probably going to be some Creedence and the like.
LEO: You’ve also starred in a cult film. Do you think there will be a “Pick of Destiny” festival in the future?
KG: I don’t see it now. But we’re still — let’s see, we’re seven years out … 10 years, you’ll probably see something. And it’ll be a get-together at a Holiday Inn. Or a Red Roof Inn, if we’re lucky. The Burbank Hyatt — that’s at 25 years.
LEO: (laughs) It’s a movie that some people are very passionate about.
KG: Are they? Well, they weren’t on the opening weekend!
LEO: While I have you, I also wanted to ask about your work in “Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3: Viva La Fiesta!”
KG: Yes, yes.
LEO: How did that experience compare to, say, making a Tenacious D record?
KG: It didn’t take nearly as long. I think I was in and out of there in two days. But I had a great time on the “Chihuahua.” I liked my character. He was kind of a lazy gardener. But he had a spirit about him.
LEO: It’s great when you can bring all your years of training in the theater to some of these parts
KG: If someone casts me in a movie without me having to audition, there’s a real good chance I’m gonna do it. I hate auditioning, but it’s fun to work. It’s fun to act once in a while. That’s how I was for years and years, and the music was on the side — so, whatever’s working.