Tenacious D, the comedy rock duo, has enjoyed a career spanning more than 20 years as a side project that has persisted alongside the waxing and waning of Jack Black’s acting career. The band, consisting of Black and his longtime partner Kyle Gass, has had a TV series, toured, released three albums and even starred in an movie, 2006’s Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny.
Over the course of their career, Tenacious D has stood at the intersection between hard rock and nerddom – so it was only natural that they would follow their earlier tributes to the likes of Ronnie James Dio with one related to Game of Thrones. And now, they have.
Tenacious D touring members Kyle Gass, John Konesky, and John Spiker, performing under the pseudonym Valyrian Steel, have released a new song called “Ode to Jon Snow (A Campaign Song).” The two-minute song is entirely instrumental, featuring a combination of flutes and guitars, and bears more than a cursory resemblance to the opening credits music and the musical palate of Game of Thrones itself:
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The song is in connection to Snow’s recent victory in HBO’s Game of Thrones faux-election, known as the “GOT Party.” Snow and his “running mate,” Lyanna Mormont, earned 35 percent of the over 1.5 million votes in the contest, pegged to the digital release of Game of Thrones‘ Season 6; they narrowly defeated the Daenerys Targaryen/Tyrion Lannister ticket, which had 32 percent.
The obvious template for a rock band making a song that pays homage to fantasy-based popular culture is Led Zeppelin, who recorded numerous songs in the 1970s (“Misty Mountain Hop,” “Ramble On,” “The Battle of Evermore”) which explicitly referenced Lord of the Rings and other works by J.R.R. Tolkien. Meanwhile, Game of Thrones, while it doesn’t have much reason to use modern pop music within the show itself, has done so in its closing credits on a couple of occasions – The Hold Steady covered “The Rains of Castamere” (known as the Red Wedding song) in season 2, while The Hold Steady provided a take on “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” in Season 3.
Can Tenacious D/Valyrian Steel ride this song back to prominence? Probably not. But it’s still a winning tribute to a show they no doubt love.
Game of Thrones will return to HBO for Season 7 in the summer of 2017.