Gass was born and raised in Walnut Creek, California, where his father turned him on to Steve Hrobuchak, an old guitar player from the late 1930’s. Hrobuchak also influenced Gass to try marijuana for the first time because he used it almost daily as a part of his guitar method. At the age of eight, he began playing his first instrument, the flute. Soon after, he began playing the saxophone. By the age of twelve, Gass began playing an old nylon-stringed guitar that was lying around the house.
While appearing on Late Night with Conan O’Brien on November 16, 2006, Gass claimed to have been the youngest graduate of the Juilliard School of Music with a degree in classical guitar studies at the age of thirteen. Earlier, in an article in the Sunday Times on October 29, 2006, Jack Black stated that Gass was the youngest graduate of Juilliard.
It should be pointed out that Juilliard did not have a guitar program in 1973, but began its graduate level guitar program in 1989 under Sharon Isbin, and its undergraduate program in 2006. For reference see article on Sharon Isbin.
Much like his music career, Kyle’s acting career also started at a young age. His first acting gig was a 7Up Gold commercial. Upon graduating from Las Lomas High School in 1979, Kyle went on to attend UCLA. While in UCLA, Kyle met actor Tim Robbins, who recruited him into the Actor’s Gang. Kyle soon graduated from UCLA in 1983. In 1985, a sixteen-year-old named Jack Black was one of the new recruits in the Actor’s Gang, and it was because of this that the two had met. According to Kyle, he actually didn’t like Jack a whole lot at first, but the two eventually settled their differences and soon became friends. Kyle even taught Jack how to play the guitar, and the two soon formed a band called Tenacious D.
He was also featured in several episodes of the television show Fear of a Punk Planet, which has since been released on DVD. Kyle has also made an appearance in the Good Charlotte video for “Lifestyles of the Rich And Famous” as a lawyer who is questioning a dog.
He appeared in an episode of “Friends” as a mugger and in the comedy Elf as a would-be children’s author. Gass also made a cameo appearance as a smoker in the Seinfeld episode, “The Abstinence”.
He also appeared on several episodes of the short-lived Judd Apatow TV show, “Undeclared”, available on DVD.
He has appeared with small parts in multiple Jack Black films (Shallow Hal, Saving Silverman, The Cable Guy, etc.) He also has been part of most of Kung Fu Records’ movies, Kung Fu Films, which includes Fear of a Punk Planet, it also includes his role in Cake Boy.
He has also appeared in Jacob’s Ladder with Tim Robbins, playing the character of Tony.
Gass also plays guitar and sings vocals in the band Trainwreck, under the pseudonym Klip Calhoun
The band started playing live in 2003 and recorded a live album in Los Angeles in 2004 with Gass and John King of the Dust Brothers producing. The album was released in December 2004 through Sony Music. Trainwreck has toured America supporting the Reverend Horton Heat and the Supersuckers.
The band is recording its first studio album with King and Gass coproducing. It is also negotiating with television networks to record a pilot TV show.