Before finding success with acting, as well as singing with his rock duo Tenacious D, Kyle Gass had morale-shattering experiences that probably would have made others give up on their dreams. He worked as a dishwasher in a Mexican restaurant where the dirty dishes were seemingly never-ending. He was also employed as a security guard—but at least he could sneak in his guitar and write a few songs while on the job.
“But it was really a struggle for a long time,” Gass says via telephone from North Hollywood. “The line of demarcation for me was if I didn’t have to work a day job. I thought if I could make enough not to work a terrible day job, I would accept that as success. My bar was really low.”
Acting was just as hard. Gass admits that he was a “pretty unsuccessful actor” for the first 10 years, and then slowly the small jobs started coming. He was bailed out by the music of Grammy Award-winning Tenacious D, which pairs him with Jack Black.
Now he’s touring with the Kyle Gass Band, who plays The Rebel Lounge in Phoenix on Thursday, April 28.
“At our shows, you can expect the usual: face-melting, mind-exploding, pleasure-inducing entertainment,” Gass says. “It’s really fun. We have the best time. If you’re having three quarters as much fun as we’re having, you’re probably going to have a great time.”
“There are really no other options. There have been times when I haven’t really been in that much of a mood to play. Even then, not having fun isn’t the best option during this hour, hour and a half.”
Entering the music industry was a logical career path for Gass. His parents encouraged him to play an instrument or two when he was young.
“It was a family tradition to pick out an instrument for school band,” Gass says. “I picked out the flute and I was on my way. The recorder we had to play in school. I was one of the few people who enjoyed that. “It was the beginning of the musical odyssey as it were. I’ve always enjoyed it. I didn’t think it would be my job.”
He has a bit of advice for people who want to pursue music.
“Stay heavily medicated during the bad times,” he says in jest. “It’s hard at times. But what would you rather do? Sit around drinking or be creative? “I’d want to play in a band and do interesting projects. It doesn’t cost anything to hang out with your friends and come up with a silly something or another. It’s available to do rich or poor.”
KYLE GASS BAND
The Rebel Lounge, 2303 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, therebellounge.com, 8 p.m. Thursday, April 28, $12-$15.