School of Rock came out at just the right time in my life. In 2003 I was 11 and just starting to figure out what kind of music I was interested in independent of my parents’ taste (hence that Smash Mouth phase).
Seeing Jack Black evangelize to a group of kids around my age about the glory of Led Zeppelin, Sabbath, and Motorhead thus went directly to my head (and my mind…and my brain, too). When one of my friends got the soundtrack a month later for his birthday, it got passed around on our school bus like contraband until everyone had a copy.
That soundtrack—still in my top 5—contained a lot of musical firsts for me: first exposure to Zeppelin and first time hearing the Black Keys, among others. But that’s not the real gem on this album.
No, Dear Reader, the best song on that soundtrack is a song called “Fight,” by No Vacancy. No Vacancy, you’ll remember, is the band Jack Black gets kicked out of at the beginning of the film, and this is the song that plays right over the opening credits. As a creative act or piece of “art,” this song is probably closer to Spinal Tap than anything else–particularly the line “I hit a knock-out punch with this heartfelt song.” It does, however, flat-out RAWK, from Black’s incendiary David Lee Roth Lite vocals to the satisfying guitar chugs. Heavy, maan.
It’s remarkable that “Fight,” a track written by Jack Black and co-writer/co-star Mike White, hold its own amidst the Olympians of rock. I think it succeeds because everyone involved seems to have a real reverence for the music; this film, and this song, were not written by people who listen to Air Supply. So the song feels genuine, even though it was crafted for a completely fictional band.