Musicians on break from their most high-profile project usually go out of their way to avoid comparisons when pursuing new avenues.
In the case of musician and comedian Kyle Gass, most famous for his work with actor Jack Black in the acoustic rock duo Tenacious D, the only way to truly go incognito is to stay in a perpetual state of reinvention or lay low until Black decides to return to music.
So Gass mixes it up.
Bakersfield has been privy to two of his projects: country send-up Trainwreck and Band of Bigfoot, both of which made regular stops at Fishlips. Now Gass and his latest cavalcade of merrymaking misfits make their long-awaited return to Bakersfield, this time simply as the Kyle Gass Band at Jerry's Pizza on Saturday.
Accustomed lately to performing at more intimate locations -- including those with a rougher clientele than the posh theaters and arenas where Tenacious D performed -- Gass, 52, said he doesn't mind smaller venues, especially when he's backed by the "mighty KGB."
"This is much better than most of those bands," said Gass when asked about how the KGB measures up to previous projects. "We also put Trainwreck behind us."
Coincidentally, Gass performs on the exact date at Jerry's that reigning "The Voice" champ Cassadee Pope appeared last year. Asked if he was hoping to absorb some of that winning mojo for himself, Gass said he has other plans during their stop.
"Not sure who that (Cassadee Pope) is, but we'll be supplying our own magic, thank you very much. One thing we do want to absorb while we're there is pizza."
Gass will be joined onstage by Los Angeles studio session buddies John Konesky, John Spiker, Nate Rothacker and Mike Bray, all of whom have backed Tenacious D on a number of occasions. Mixing classic rock, punk and whatever else the band feels in the mood to shred on, KGB's level of talent almost guarantees the Jerry's basement will reach summer sweat levels from both the stage and crowd energy.
Gass is always optimistic that Black will show up someday (he hasn't yet, at least not to any Bakersfield shows), but asks locals not to hold their breath, and instead look forward to new music from Tenacious D coming soon.
"Its top secret and we're not allowed to talk about it, but there are some big things on the horizon. Actually, if you buy the new Kyle Gass Band album when it comes out, you'll find it's laden with hints about the secret goings on with the D. Paul is dead."
As cryptic as that sounds, just take my advice and catch this band live.
"We're having fun and playing shows when we were not doing the D thing," he said adding that if fans yell out requests, the group will try to play them.
"It's been known to happen."
One thing fans will be guaranteed is Gass' magical Jethro Tull-style flute-playing during the show.
It's an instrument he says deserves respect from hot-shot acts like Mumford & Sons and others who've been responsible for reviving the popularity of the banjo in rock.
"The banjo has nothing on the flute and it never will. Mumford and his Sons don't know what they're doing."
Doors open at 7 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $15. Show is all ages. Also appearing is Dreadful Selfish Crime, Meditated Assault, Tesla Meets the Coil. Jerry's Pizza is located at 1817 Chester Ave. For more information, call 633-1000 or visit tgptix.com.
Rockin' Roots finale
Bakersfield promoter Tim Gardea has just announced the dates for this year's last-ever Budweiser Rockin' Roots festival, coming June 7 and 8 to Stramler Park, along with a sneak peak into the line-up.
Among the already-confirmed headliners are alternative rock act Circa Survive, Hawaiian reggae quartet The Green, Danish psychobilly vets Nekromantix, and Orange County ska band Suburban Legends, with more acts added daily.
Introduced as a reggae music fest of all things roots and culture during the '90s, Rockin' Roots has since evolved into an annual music and mosh pit "school's out" party for local teens. Preceding the kickoff of the national VANS Warped tour, the festival boasts an equally eclectic and affordable showcase. We'll keep you posted as reports continue to filter in.
For more information visit timgardeapresents.com.
Timekillers at Narducci's, 622 E. 21st St., 9 p.m., Saturday, $5, 324-2961.
Alejandro Ocana, better known by his stage name 2Mex, is a legendary underground rapper and a founding member of one of LA's most groundbreaking rhyme collectives, The Visionaries. Known for his collaborations with some of the biggest names in hip-hop, he's always kept a low-profile, avoiding the allure of mainstream acceptance by sticking with socially conscious tales of urban life rather than the usual bling-bling bragging. Ocana also is featured in the documentary "This Is the Life," an award-winning film chronicling the evolution of an influential music and poetry movement born at the Good Life Cafe in South-Central Los Angeles. Also appearing is rapper Sach from Southern California duo The Nonce, deejays Oso, Bkutz, Adub, and -- brought to you by quality vinyl activists -- The Mothership.
Vampyre Ball at Riley's Backstage, 1523 19th St., 10 p.m., Saturday, $10.
Club organizers at monthly goth dance club Heresy have been enjoying a dark wave of success spinning up hits from beyond the grave for those with a taste for the spookier side of life. Founder Mike Fowler has helped book some of the scene's most reclusive live acts, many of which can only be seen on the goth dance and EDM music circuit. For this weekend's special edition, fans of vampire subculture can enjoy a night of fangtastic fun at the "Vampyre Ball" that promises to raise the "stakes" of previous Heresy club nights. Appearing on the bill are acts TV, Carved Soul, KSVG deejay Kim Arbolante, aka Princess Darkness of KSVG Radio, as well as a special performance from Cabaret Gothique, the new theatrical troupe led by Michelle Guerrero of The Empty Space. Get more info at heresyentertainment.com.