Good friends since childhood, David St. Hubbins (McKean) and Nigel Tufnel (Guest) of Great Britain joined forces in 1964 forming the Originals. After finding out that the Originals was already taken by another band, 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 their name until finally settling on Spinal Tap, 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". A huge hit for the band, the single went gold in the UK and the band toured worldwide, although their following LP, "We Are All Flower People," didn't quite sell as well. 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 would release "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. (LOL!!! can't even type this stuff without laughing!) Childs choked to death on an unknown offender's vomit that same year, (after all, you can't dust for vomit! LOL!) 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 LP "Bent for the Rent." Trouble began when the group sued their record label, Megaphone, for back royalties, but the label counter-sued, claiming they had a "lack of talent." (LOL!) The band reluctantly stayed with this label until 1977, when their latest release, "Rock and Roll Creation", became a huge hit in the U.S.A. due to the 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. (Several cases of spontaneous combustion happen every year, they are just not widely reported!) He was immediately replaced with drummer Mick Shrimpton, and the group released "Shark Sandwich" in 1980, which contained the incredibly stupid song "Sex Farm," which nonetheless became a hit in Europe. An American tour followed in which the band found themselves playing to smaller and smaller venues and audiences. During this tour, "Smell the Glove" was released, but the cover art was not exactly to the band's liking, nor was the props for the tour. (I think the problem was, we had a Stonehenge that was in danger of being trampled by a dwarf! LOL!) When the album was finally shipped, both sides of the cover were solid black, a decision made by Faith rather than the band members. (Have you seen the cover to Duke Famous' new album?) 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. (The Boston gig was canceled, but I wouldn't worry about it. It's not much of a college town.) U.S. appeal continued to decrease, and the band grew further apart due to Hubbins' and Tufnel's opposing ideas. The mistake in prop sizing that happened during the tour would prompt the group to fire Faith and replace him with Hubbins' girlfriend, Jeanine Pettibone. Shortly afterward, founding member and lead guitarist Nigel Tufnel quit the band, frustrated with their sudden downfall, Pettibone's poor management and his jealousy over the time Hubbins' was spending with her. The group tried to go on with Hubbin's doing all the guitar work, but this proved a disaster. The idea was being tossed around to lay Spinal Tap to rest, but was soon forgotten when Tufnel and Faith returned for the band's final U.S. performance and a hugely successful Japanese tour. Unfortunately, yet another of the band's drummers, Shrimpton, was sudden lost in a yet another case of combustion. In 1983, the band finally split and went 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 heavy metal band Lamb's Blood for a short time. In 1992, when Spinal Tap seemed almost forgotten, rumors began to erupt (this time in real life) that the band 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." (An album that actually was released.) The record was released that fall, featuring the hits "Bitch School" and "Majesty of Rock," along with appearances by Slash, Cher, and Joe Satriani. The band embarked on another tour, finishing in London to record their first and only live video cassette, "Return of Spinal Tap", to be released in 1993. After the tour, and a video for "Bitch School" they once again faded away.
Spinal Tap are just freakin' hilarious. "This is Spinal Tap" is one of my favorite movies of all times. If ever I am in need of a laugh, this movie does it for me. The one-liners just keep on coming. As a matter of fact, a day doesn't go by that I am not heard quoting something from this movie. Anyhow, this Spinal Tap "collection" comes from the 1984 satirical movie "This Is Spinal Tap," one of Rob Reiner's early films that starred actors Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, and Harry Shearer. The film is a satirical take on such bands as Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, etc. placing the actors as members of a 1970's heavy metal band facing a popularity dive in the wake of the '80s heavy metal resurrection. Despite the fact that the entire film was a spoof and the band fictitious, the band/actors actually recorded original songs for the film that were not only very authentic, but are actually quite enjoyable. The lyrics themselves are side splitting funny and intentionally stupid. I really can't help but see parts of the film when I have this CD playing. Spurts of laughter are inevitable, but honestly the music isn't half bad. "Hell Hole" and "Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight" are infectious songs with an early 80's feel. "Big Bottom" despite having hilarious lyrics, is a good song as well. The fact that the entire band plays bass guitar during this song adds a bit of charm. "Rock and Roll Creation" and "Stonehenge" mock the mystical imagery of bands like Dio and Black Sabbath. "Stonehenge" in particular cracks me up, especially during Nigel's narration about the Druids. "Sex Farm" is so stupid, yet it is funny due to the fact that so many bands have actually written songs like this throughout the 80's. (I want to sink her with my pink torpedo? LOL!) "America," "Cups and Cakes," "Gimme Some Money," and "(Listen to The) Flower People" are all tracks that attempt to show the bands roots in 60's rock n roll and 70's psychedelia, and for the most part sound authentic. In keeping with the movie, the soundtrack cover is completely black but the booklet does feature lyrics, a bio and pictures of the band's fictitious album covers for "Rock N' Roll Creation," "Brainhammer," "Shark Sandwich," "Heavy Metal Memories," "The Sun Never Sweats," and "Intravenus de Milo." The band's bio information is supposed to be taken from the The Rocklopedia Brittanicus. The 2000 remastered re-release contains bonus tracks; two versions of "Christmas With the Devil" which were actually released a number of years before as a 45 rpm single.
After a long hiatus, Spinal Tap reform and release yet another magnificent rock n roll opus that is untouched by anyone in the rock n roll world. I mean even the song titles scream pure heavy metal brilliance. "Bitch School" and "Break Like the Wind" are true thinking man's metal. The video for "Bitch School" was a marvelous work of art. The list of guest artists on this CD is impressive as well; Slash, Jeff Beck, Cher, Joe Satriani, Steve Luthaker, Dweezil Zappa. Of course none of these guys are anywhere near the stars of Nigel Tufnel, David St. Hubbins or Derek Smalls. I am sure it was quite the honor for people like Slash, Jeff Beck and Satriani to meet their hero Nigel Tufnel and get a few guitar pointers while they were at it. And who can resist a duet between St. Hubbins and Cher? Sheer brilliance! After all there is a fine line between stupid and clever.
Spinal Tap is still one of my favorite comedy movies of all time and the fact that they didn't let the joke die is fine with me. Besides the obviously humorous and sarcastic song titles and lyrics, I actually do enjoy listening to this CD. The music may not be the most musically brilliant or technically proficient, but it's rock n roll. Who ever made up a rule that you had to be Pagini or Mozart to play good time rock 'n' roll? Tap rules!
Spinal Tap - Back from the Dead (Spuzzle) 2009