In our interview, Kyle Gass of the mock-rock band Trainwreck told me he loves playing small venues in towns he'd otherwise never get to see.
But maybe he doesn't love it that much.
Slated to play the Triple Nickel Tavern (26 S. Wahsatch Ave.) this Saturday, Oct. 2, Trainwreck sent word this afternoon that their tour has been canceled. Though this might be disappointing news for the Nickel crew, fans of the band and ickle baby journalists who were looking forward to their first in-print article, the statement by the band's publicist did not include any reason for the sudden change.
In case you're still curious about the band and their bro-tastic blend of classic rock and down-home comedy schtick, here's the article that would have graced this week's edition of the Indy, lovingly remastered in tech-tastic blogoform for your reading pleasure.
Sweethearts of the brodeo
Tenacious D’s other half busts guts and takes names in the aptly named Trainwreck
Kyle Gass has gone through a number of changes over the past decade, the biggest being his transformation from small-time actor to Jack Black’s musical partner in the band Tenacious D. Now Gass has morphed again, this time into Klip Calhoun, vocalist and guitarist for the severely mulleted Trainwreck, a band that’s establishing itself as the Spinal Tap of Southern rock.
Gass is sharing Trainwreck frontman duties with Daryl Lee Donald — AKA Jason Reed, who also plays “Lee,” the roadie character in the Tenacious D universe. So what is it that drives men to leave behind the glamour of Hollywood for the uncertainties of life on the open road in what Trainwreck affectionately calls the Wreckabago?
“Not quite sure what I was thinking,” Gass admits. “But I wanted something to do while Jack was making movies, and I knew I wanted to work with my friend JR.”
And why is that?
“He looks good in a mullet and really tight Wranglers.”
But while Trainwreck’s costumes and schtick may be “countrified,” Gass insists the sound isn’t: “I’m old enough to have grown up with Lynyrd Skynyrd, and they’re the kings of that kind of thing. [The term] ‘Southern rock’ is kind of redundant, really. It wasn’t like, ‘OK you guys, we have to throw in a Johnny Cash-type number here.’ The Southern thing just kind of happened. It’s really more with the characters now; the music is classic rock.”
Not that they have anything against country.
“It’s more of a loving homage,” Gass says. “We’re not trying to make fun of anybody.” Even so, he adds, “When we were first going to go down [South], we were like, ‘Are people gonna hate us?’”
Mullets or not, the reception has been mostly positive, including a major (if somewhat backhanded) compliment from his frequent creative partner Jack Black.
“As Jack said, ‘If you love Tenacious D, you will like Trainwreck.’”
But Gass does sees a clear line between the two bands.
“When it’s D Time, it’s D Time,” he says. “But that’s what’s great about having to put on costumes. It takes you out of your normal thing … Or it could just be that we have one hundredth the audience that Tenacious D has.”
Like Gass himself, Trainwreck is forever crashing into new territory.
Currently, he says, “We’re working on cracking the viral video code. I want my own 'Double Rainbow' up there. Something people catch on and have to watch it 5 million times.”
After that, perhaps they’ll crack the girl code. “We wanted to be a band that girls went crazy for, but I don’t know. There’s just too much testosterone in the band or something. That’s the next [step]: we need a really strong love song.”
And what would that look like for Trainwreck?
“It’d be ugly; that’s why it hasn’t happened,” admits Gass. “We’re like the Village People, we’re all masculine icons. We’re so macho that we might be mistaken for gays.”
For now, Trainwreck is making the most of the audience attracted by the band’s swaggering, bromantic appeal.
“That’s why we have the rights to the song ‘Brodeo’,” says Gass of the band’s current demographic. “It’s just dudes lookin’ at us.”