Jack Black and Tenacious D Are Actually Better at ‘Wicked Game’ Than Chris Isaak
It must be a bittersweet moment for musicians and music writers when they hear a cover of one of their tracks that could make a convincing case for becoming the definitive version of the tune. Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor once described the first time he heard Johnny Cash’s rendition of his song “Hurt” by explaining, “Hearing it was like someone kissing your girlfriend.”
Now imagine your song/girlfriend is being played/kissed by a duo of comedy rockers by the name of Tenacious D — that’s exactly what legendary rockabilly singer/songwriter Chris Isaak had to deal with when he heard Jack Black and Kyle Gass’ rendition of his signature song “Wicked Game” on “Live @ Sirius XM” last week. The writers who forgot “The Greatest Song in the World” decided to highlight the work of other songbirds during the performance, and the rock duo’s take on “Wicked Game” might be the best version of Isaak’s tune that we’ve yet to hear.
Isaak, whose music is often used in movies made by avant-garde filmmaker David Lynch, was gracious in his reception of Tenacious D’s take on his most popular song, as he retweeted a video clip of the performance with the simple caption of, “These guys killed it.”
It’s easy to forget how much musical talent both Black and Gass have when their performances are often focused on the comedy aspect of comedy rock. Every now and then, though, the duo will do a song in earnest that reminds us of how much mythical rock magic is stored in those strings that are usually used to play profanity-ridden songs about demons, explosions and f---ing dragons.
During the performance on Sirius XM, Tenacious D also played a Beatles medley that was slightly more editorialized than their “Wicked Game” cover, but with the same level of commitment and harmonic skill that their fans have come to expect from their every song. In retaliation, Chris Isaak and Paul McCartney should reshoot the music video for “Tribute.”