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Andrew Gross rocks with Jack Black
15-Nov-2006 -

Musician/composer Andrew Gross scores Tenacious D In The Pick Of Destiny for New Line Cinema and director Liam Lynch. Starring Jack Black, Kyle Gass and Will Ferrell, Pick of Destiny tells the story of how The D became the self proclaimed greatest band on Earth. Gross and Black have a long history together - the two were Crossroads High School classmates in his native Los Angeles-- and Gross had done strings for several songs on Tenacious D's platinum selling debut album. The film opens November 22.

It is no surprise that Gross would work with former classmate Jack Black. The two had been discussing a collaboration for a long while. After shows or whenever I saw him - in fact, I think even left messages on his voice mail - I'd say, "Dude, if you ever need any strings or orchestra I'd love to do it," says Gross. When the movie came along, the promised call came from Black.

Though he and collaborator John King were first brought aboard to provide orchestral and choral arrangements to the songs used in the film, it quickly became evident that the film needed dramatic underscore of an orchestral nature. The score enhances the film's comedic moments by playing them big. "The approach to the score was really fun," Gross says, "It changes from cue to cue depending on where we are in the film and what tone we're going after." For instance, in a scene where Jack Black's "JB" is getting beat up by "Clockwork Orange"-looking characters, the composers rode the line between making it regal and classical like Stanley Kubrick would, but still scoring to the picture. Also, the duo used a choir and orchestra when the JB and KG talk about their destiny to be together, making fun of the ridiculousness of the conversation.

"One thing I like about Tenacious D is that they're two guys who just want to play the best rock 'n' roll music," Gross says. "The movie is about how can they rock harder than anyone else. What do Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix and Angus Young have that they don't?"

Gross has scored and written music for dozens of feature films and television shows, including the upcoming feature Forfeit, a thriller with religious overtones for which Gross created an atmospheric, textural and dark score. Seizing the opportunity to explore a different genre, he employed fresh elements including a young boy soprano and a percussive instrument called a Mazdaphone, a 1970s Mazda hubcap with a spring strung across it.

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