Tenacious D’s album, Rize of the Fenix, is a heavy metal-influenced album about the power of redemption. It includes tracks like “How to Be the Best,” an upbeat song reminiscent of the Flashdance theme that Black says is supposed to “inspire you to do push-ups and sit-ups and run around like Rocky.”
“All those great ’80s rock things — there’s something so funny about that now,” he says. “No one’s really doing that particular brand of cheese, so we thought the world needed that right now.”
The album is heavily influenced by bands like Led Zeppelin and Van Halen. Black says he grew up listening to Van Halen, but also enjoyed the vocal scat stylings of Bobby McFerrin, who became famous for his ability to sing various voices and instrumentations.
“I was obsessed with him, because I had always imagined going out on stage by myself and blowing people’s minds just with the power of my singing voice,” says Black. “Long before [McFerrin made] ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy,’ he was blowing people’s minds with incredible covers of Beatles songs. … His voice would sound like all of the different instruments.”
Black says he went to every McFerrin concert he could, even running onstage when McFerrin asked for audience volunteers.
“I think I was a little too aggressive with my enthusiasm,” he says. “Because he did one time tell me to tone it down. Not with words, but just with a look in his eye and a shake of his head. I knew that I had crossed the line and I wasn’t supposed to be slapping my chest. That’s his job.
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