In the new movie, School of Rock, Jack Black plays a substitute
teacher who enlightens a group of upper-class ten year-olds about the
virtues of rock 'n' roll. Black recently visited San Francisco to talk about the new film,
directed by Richard Linklater. The mostly nocturnal musician/actor was
awake earlier than usual but he still managed to punctuate his
drowsiness with bursts of energy.
Q: As a kid, how did you make the jump from watching "Sesame Street" to
being a rock 'n' roller?
JB: I was listening to Journey and Styx. They were my "Sesame Street."
One day I went to the record store and the guy told me not to buy the
new Journey album. Instead he handed me a copy of "Blizzard of Ozz" by
Ozzy Osbourne. That's how it all started.
Q: You're often associated with Tim Robbins and John Cusack. How did you
JB: I was a groupie [of Tim's acting troupe in L.A.]. I didn't sleep
with any of them, but I hung out until one day I got a small part in one
of their plays. Then when Tim made his first big film (Bob Roberts) he
gave me a break.
Q: You played opposite Bill Murray in Tim Robbins' 1999 film Cradle
Will Rock. How was it working with one of your idols?
JB: I made the mistake of letting him know how big of a fan I was.
Q: You're a kind of free spirit, while School of Rock director Richard
Linklater is more of a philosophical type. How did you get along with
JB: We went at it a few times. Mostly it was about the tunes. He wanted
"Sweet Jane" and I wanted "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Want to
Rock 'n' Roll)." But since I'm the one who's doing the singing, I kinda
had the advantage. When the producers told us he was directing, though, I knew it was going
to be good. We needed someone who could make it not schmaltzy.
Q: How did you get along with the kids? Did you corrupt them for life?
JB: No. They came on board with their own knowledge. We just hung,
rocker to rocker.
September 16, 2003