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DLC WEEK OF 9/14: Billy Idol and Tenacious D

Punk rock attitude and take-no-prisoners levity collide with Billy Idol “White Wedding – Pt. 1” and Tenacious D “Master Exploder.” These full-tilt bangers will keep you coming back for more and more (and even more!). Pick up both this Thursday in the Rock Band Music Store!

Legend. Icon. Outlaw. Pinup. Hero. Billy Idol is a true original and his enduring legacy is sure to outlive us all. From the ashes of the late ‘70s UK punk scene, Idol re-emerged as one of the defining faces of “the music video age” in 1982 with “White Wedding – Pt. 1,” the second single off of his self-titled debut album. A seductive, insistent rocker, the song soared to number 10 on the U.S. charts and the accompanying video received round-the-clock airplay, making Idol’s trademark sneer and spiky blonde locks defining visual elements of the decade. 

After an opening blast of descending guitar harmonics, the track kicks off with a menacing, twangy guitar figure over a sinewy bass line and driving drum beat. Idol adds his purring, ominous vocal stylings at 28 seconds in with lyrics and a delivery that are simultaneously both accusatory and suggestive. This is the stuff that teenage dreams – and nightmares – are made of: truly powerful and attention-getting. 

Following a satisfying double-dose of verse/chorus progression and a refreshing return to the opening riff, Idol commands the players and listeners, alike, to “Pick it up!” at 2:25, signaling the transition to the brief-but-essential bridge. Phased-out Idol “backing vocals” provide clever responses to the second half of the following verse before a triumphant return to the refrain. At 3:17, “White Wedding – Pt. 1” takes a somewhat unexpected detour with a searing, creepy pre-outro outro section with lots of atmospheric guitar heroics from Steve Stevens and even darker lyrical content.. Idol and crew then close things out by revisiting the unforgettable chorus before the cut fades out at just past 4:12. 

Indelible, hypnotic, and quite possibly the hookiest damn song you’ll ever year, “White Wedding – Pt. 1” is a stone-cold masterpiece. By marrying the rage and energy of punk to spaghetti-Western guitar riffs and gothic lyrical content, Billy Idol fashioned a new aesthetic that defined the decade that followed and laid the groundwork for an entire musical movement. A nice day to start again,, indeed! 

Let’s get this out of the way: Yes, Tenacious D can actually, honest to God, play that well. The impressive guitar solos in “Master Exploder” do beg the question, “So, who did they get to play guitar?” but that is – for real, here’s plenty of clips online, so check it out for yourself – Kyle Gass on lead. The dude’s a genuinely skilled classical player, so it’s not truly a shock, but there’s certainly the reasonable temptation to not take a deliberately and self-consciously humorous duo like Tenacious D, featuring Gass and legendary funny-man Jack Black, “seriously.”

From the soundtrack to the 2006 cult favorite movie, “The Pick of Destiny,” the song kicks off with furiously strummed acoustic guitar joined by incendiary six-string pentatonic gymnastics at the 7-second point. Black’s unashamedly goofy baritone wail is added at 16 seconds in, building in both intensity and pitch until it reaches a gloriously unhinged crescendo at a half-minute in. Call-and-response vocals between Black and Gass define the early parts of the first verse before we reach full-band power at 1:10 with careening drums and slippery bass making “Master Exploder” suddenly and unexpectedly an oddly satisfying slice of arena-rock. Lyrically… well, what are you expecting? Ostensibly, the cut is about the sheer might and virtuosity of Black’s skills as a singer,but while there’s not really much to be found in terms of “deeper meaning,” the words are impactful, amusing, and direct. These guys know what they’re attempting to do and they pull it off with aplomb!

Beginning at 1:36 we’re treated to some legit guitar heroics, replete with enough harmonies, hammer-ons, and string-bends to keep the most sincere metalhead content. “Joke band,” you say? Ok, *you* play that well!

After the six-string pyrotechnics, Tenacious D returns for one last go-round of the this-has-no-business-being-this-damn-hooky chorus, segueing into some more over-the-top vocal histrionics from Black and impressively tight, complex, and percussive playing from the whole band before “Master Exploder” careens to an abrupt halt at 2:21.

Brief, to the point, and deceptively musically adept, this track is sure to put a smile on your face, but beyond that it’s a genuinely appealing tune, with more than enough rock and roll energy and power to warrant repeat listens. To borrow from Black’s parting howl at the song’s conclusion, “Aaaaaaaaargh, yeah!”

Billy Idol “White Wedding – Pt. 1” and Tenacious D “Master Exploder” can both be yours for $1.99 each.

·  Billy Idol – “White Wedding – Pt. 1”

·  Tenacious D – “Master Exploder”


VIDEO: Rock Band 4 DLC Week of 9/14: Billy Idol “White Wedding – Pt. 1” and Tenacious D “Master Exploder” 



*Please note that this week’s DLC tracks will be available for purchase on Thursday, September 14th.