music: a return for Spinal Tap!

zOMG there will be a sequel to This is Spinal Tap. After 38 years, it can only be even sadder than the band’s first tour film; the original was another product of 1984, the high point of Western civilization.

This is Spinal Tap goes to 12 if you have seen the rockumentaries it parodies. I’m embarrassed and proud to say I sat through Yes’s Yessongs (so many guitars, the fiberglass pods on-stage in one of which Derek Smalls gets stuck), Led Zeppelin’s The Song Remains the Same (the threatening manager, the Lovecraftian nonsense), Emerson, Lake & Palmer on Tour 1973 (general tour vibes, traveling America), the Who’s The Kids are Alright (loony drummers), and The Band’s The Last Waltz (over-precious treatment of flawed rock stars). Apparently it also riffs on The Harder they Come; I wonder if there other rockumentaries influencing it that I’ve missed. I wish someone would package it on Blu-Ray together with its inspirations.

I’m not obsessive like some and never listened to Spinal Tap’s albums, but the movie and its concept form a classic, better than, say, Austin Powers. Just the band name is clever; it’s not “Spinal Tap,” it’s Spın̈al Tap, with a dotless letter i and a metal umlaut over the n; brilliantly meaningless typography. The band and their songs are all beloved by actual rock musicians; today I learned from Wikipedia that at a rock benefit Spinal Tap was joined by “every bass player in the known universe” for a performance of “Big Bottom.” Everyone wants to play with rock gods, even when they’re a parody act.

Derek Smalls: We’re very lucky in the band in that we have two visionaries, David and Nigel, they’re like poets, like Shelley and Byron. They’re two distinct types of visionaries, it’s like fire and ice, basically. I feel my role in the band is to be somewhere in the middle of that, kind of like lukewarm water.

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