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Spinal Tap

Although originally conceived as the fictional subject of a music documentary, Spinal Tap became a real band -- a parody heavy metal band, to be exact -- following the film's release. The joke began with the release of 1984's This Is Spinal Tap, a satirical Rob Reiner film starring actors Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, and Harry Shearer. The film, which poked fun at groups like Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith, cast the comics as members of a wacky, ill-minded '70s band facing a popularity dive in the '80s. This Is Spinal Tap was a moderate success, and the supporting soundtrack (in which the cast members played their own instruments) was a smash hit. In fact, the soundtrack itself described the rock & roll of the '80s so well that it made many people who hadn't seen the movie think that Spinal Tap was a real group. According to This Is Spinal Tap, the band's story goes as follows:

Good friends David St. Hubbins (played by McKean) and Nigel Tufnel (played by Guest) of Great Britain joined forces in 1964 after seeing their similar musical tastes, forming the Originals. After finding out that there was already a group of that title, they would go through a series of name changes until finally joining up with bassist Ronnie Pudding and drummer John "Stumpy" Pepys, becoming the Thamesmen. They released two minor hit singles, "Gimme Some Money" and "Cups and Cakes," songs that established them as a unique and noticeable band. After a tour in the United Kingdom, the group continuously changed its name until finally settling on Spinal Tap and hiring keyboardist Denny Upham. Pudding would leave shortly afterwards to form Pudding People, and was replaced by Derek Smalls (Shearer). With this lineup, the band recorded "(Listen to The) Flower People," which would be released on the 1967 single Spinal Tap Sings "(Listen to The) Flower People" and Other Favorites. A surprise hit, the single went gold in the United Kingdom and the band toured worldwide, although their following LP, We Are All Flower People, was rather unsuccessful. After Upham was fired and replaced with Ross MacLochness, the group released Matchstick Men (1968) and Silent But Deadly (1969), their first live album.

The band's "success" came to a halt when Pepys died in a bizarre gardening accident in 1969. He was replaced with Eric "Stumpy Joe" Childs, and this lineup released Brainhammer (1970), Nerve Damage (1971), and Blood to Let (1972). Intravenus de Milo, which was the group's seventh record and released in 1974, is still known to be the first album to ever reach the status of bronze, which a band can only attain if one million copies of an album are returned. Childs choked to death on an unknown offender's vomit that same year, and was replaced with Peter James Bond for the 1975 release The Sun Never Sweats. A tour would follow, inspiring their second live album, Jap Habit. Shortly afterwards, MacLochness and manager Glynn Hampton left the band to pursue their own interests. They were replaced with keyboardist Viv Savage and manager Ian Faith, who would both take part in the minor hit LP Bent for the Rent.

Trouble began when the group sued its record label, Megaphone, for back royalties, but the label counter-sued, claiming they had a "lack of talent." The band reluctantly stayed with this label until 1977, when their latest release, Rock and Roll Creation, became a surprise hit in the United States due to the hit single "Nice n' Stinky." They quickly signed with Polymer Records and began to record their new album, but were halted when Bond spontaneously combusted on-stage. He was immediately replaced with drummer Mick Shrimpton, and the group released Shark Sandwich in 1980, which contained the hit "Sex Farm." Shark Sandwich was followed by a European tour, but demand for the band's U.S. appearance grew so large that they decided to tour America in support of their 1982 album, Smell the Glove.

Spinal Tap's 1982 tour got off to a bad start when some of their biggest gigs were canceled, and they were forced to play in much smaller arenas. Smell the Glove's release would also be postponed after the public expressed disdain for its sexually explicit cover. (When the album was finally shipped, both sides of the cover were solid black, a decision made by Faith rather than the bandmembers.) U.S. appeal continued to decrease, and the band grew further apart due to Hubbins' and Tufnel's opposing ideas. A mistake in prop sizing would prompt the group to fire Faith and replace him with Hubbins' mistress, Jeanine Pettibone. Shortly afterward, Tufnel momentarily quit the band, frustrated with its sudden downfall and Pettibone's poor management.

Unable to find a decent replacement, what was left of the group talked about retiring after the tour, but this idea was soon forgotten when Tufnel and Faith returned for the band's final U.S. performance and one Japanese gig. Despite Shrimpton's sudden combustion and his short replacement, Joe "Mama" Bessemer, in hiding after many of the group's props were reported stolen, both shows were a success. In 1983, the bandmembers would split and go their separate ways. Hubbins married Pettibone and opened up a soccer "clinic," Tufnel retired to his home in London to begin an inventing career, and Smalls joined and toured with the Christian metal band Lamb's Blood. Both Savage and Faith would die under unusual circumstances.

It wasn't until 1992, when Spinal Tap seemed almost forgotten, that rumors began to erupt (in real life) that they had re-formed and were working on a new album. The band proved these rumors true when they appeared on the MTV Music Awards (with new drummer Ric Shrimpton and keyboardist C.J. Vanston), announcing their return to the spotlight with their upcoming album, Break Like the Wind. The record was released that fall, featuring the hits "B**ch School" and "Majesty of Rock," along with appearances by Slash, Cher, and Joe Satriani. The band embarked on another real-life tour, finishing in London to record its first and only live video cassette, Return of Spinal Tap, which was released in 1993. After the tour, they once again faded away.

As the new millennium approached, however, the band reunited once again. They briefly toured during the summer of 2001, occasionally opening up their own shows under the guise of the Folksmen (another fictional trio that would later receive ample screen time in the 2003 film A Mighty Wind). Following another brief hiatus, the band made an appearance at the global concert festival Live Earth in 2007, and Spinal Tap subsequently retreated to the studio to dream up a new album. The result, Back from the Dead, arrived in 2009. ~ Barry Weber
full bio

Selected Discography


Track List: Back From The Dead

2. Back From The Dead

3. (Funky) Sex Farm

4. Rock N Roll Creation

5. Jazz Oddyssey I

6. Gimme Some Money

7. Rock N Roll Nightmare

8. Heavy Duty

9. America

10. Jazz Oddyssey II

11. (Listen To The) Flower People (Reggae Stylee)

12. Hell Hole

13. Big Bottom

14. Celtic Blues

15. Jazz Oddyssey III

16. Warmer Than Hell

17. Stonehenge

19. Cups And Cakes


Track List: Break Like The Wind

1. B**ch School

2. The Majesty Of Rock

3. Diva Fever

4. Just Begin Again

5. Cash On Delivery

6. The Sun Never Sweats

7. Rainy Day Sun

8. Break Like The Wind

9. Stinkin' Up The Great Outdoors

10. Springtime

11. Clam Caravan

12. Christmas With The Devil

13. Now Leaving On Track 13

14. All The Way Home


Track List: Spinal Tap

1. Hell Hole

2. Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight

3. Heavy Duty

4. Rock And Roll Creation

5. America

6. Cups And Cakes

7. Big Bottom

8. Sex Farm

9. Stonehenge

10. Gimme Some Money

11. (Listen To The) Flower People

12. Christmas With The Devil

13. Christmas With The Devil (Scratch Mix)


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Why is the image for the album cover some stupid biker compilation album and not the black mirror that it should be?
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I saw the ''Break Like The Wind'' show in Seattle. What a gas!
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Have a good time, all of the time. That's my philosophy, Marty
- Viv Savage
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Big Bottom! All the way
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Kicking a**
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Thanks David, Derek, Nigel and Exploding Drummers!
Tap lives! Foreverrrrrr r !
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It's like saying when you try to extrapolate the end of the universe, you say, if the universe is indeed infinite, then how - what does that mean? How far is all the way, and then if it stops, what's stopping it, and what's behind what's stopping it?
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It's called Parody, you geniuses! Sheesh ...

Those of you who DO 'get parody', please check out:
NWH: Fear of a Black Hat (I think - hard to find) ...
It is the rap version of Spial Tap ... :)

Very Fun :D
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David responding to Nigels exit: "You just have to roll with it. You saw how many people have been in this band. 37 people have been in this band over the years" :D
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The 3 main guys also played a ton of folk music on the movie a Mighty Wind. Not my favorite music - but these guys are very talented for sure
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I saw them in a small theater in Orlando back in '91. The show was awesome. Stonehenge props and all. I actually still have the ticket stub.
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chriswagner9 2
Black.... very black... It's like a pastel black... It's like space without the stars, oh that's beautiful
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None more black'
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A funny movie but I don't want to hear them on my Pandora any more that I want to hear the Blues Brothers.
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Such a sick band...
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what about Break Like the Wind? (includes Christmas with the Devil)
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I am pretty sure that they played a song entitled Christmas with the Devil on David Letterman back in ~1984. anyone confirm? (I didn't see it tho I have a friend who thought they were real).
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Cucumber, not potato and there was no conversation about why it was there only amused giggles from the rest of the band.
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movie:why do you have a baked potato in your pants? bass player:so the girls think i have a BIGONE! it was cassic at the airport and all,try that now and thay would try to lock you up
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Haha loved that scene conzett. Listen To The Flower People everyone!
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It's like, how much more black could this be? and the answer is none. None more black.
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nationstates u s e r
On Bass- Derek Smalls! HE Wrote This!
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This movie should be mandatory. Because it is brilliant.
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Best movie ever lol
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This band needs a bio.

Report as inappropriate can't dust for vomit....
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Why don't you just make 10 louder..... but these go to 11.
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Great movie great's sad that most kids today don't understand references to the movie, it is awesome!!
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nationstates u s e r
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hallarious band awesome, stupid, and good lyrics
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no bio? lame.
best movie/band ever!!!!
i quote it all the time and people dont know what i mean! =p
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Teancious D is an american verson of spinal Tap.
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No way no bio!, about the greatest British steel band ever existed?! It is Only band on earth with amps all way to eleven :D
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YES, this movie, like--story of my life! not really, but of my band. the band name part at least. "we were going to call ourselves the Originals, but then there was this other band called that, so we were going to be the New Originals, but then the other band changed their name, but we decided on something else..." --except with british accents. hilarious.
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Where is the biography of spinal tap man?
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Similar Artists... Stone Temple Pilots...? GWAR???????


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These guys are the true gods of metal. They started it all. Everyone has copied them. They were the greatest tuoring band ever!! They are the only band that allowed me to Break Like the Wind. Rock On Nigel.
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Haha, this was a great "documentary " , ,
hearing this song brought back great memories hahaha
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It's a good thing this site is FREE!
I say unto thee from the Land of Stonehenge "DO NOT BLOODY TROD UPON IT!"
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Raise the volume to eleven, baby!
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Come on! No biopic for Spinal Tap???
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My favorite movie in the whole world! They music is awesome and the lyrics are so funny.

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