This is Spinal Tap

I remember seeing this movie with some buddies in the 1980s and we all loved it. A great mockumentary of the fictional rock group Spinal Tap and their dying drummers. There are many quotable lines in this movie and they have stayed with me since I saw it the first time. I’ve met some people who didn’t get this movie at all and some who loved it.

The movie starred Michael McKeon as singer/guitarist David Saint Hubbins, Christopher Guest as guitarist Nigel Tufnel (reminded me of Jeff Beck), Harry Shearer as bassist Derek Smalls, Tony Hendra as manager Ian Faith, David Kaff as keyboard player Vic Savage and R.J. Parnell as drummer Mick Shrimpton…also Rob Reiner as the Marty DiBergi the filmmaker.

Harry Shearer, Michael McKean, and Christopher Guest actually wrote, played, and sang the music.

The movie was released in 1984 and started slow but built a cult following. At first, some people thought it was about a real band and they would ask Reiner why he would do a documentary on a band no one had heard of.

Christopher Guest said he was inspired at an LA hotel in 1974 when a British band came in and the manager of the band asked the bass player if he left his bass at the airport. The bass player replied I don’t know if I left it…did I leave it? Do you get my bass at the airport? Guest said this went on for 20 minutes back and forth and it stuck with him.

They did have a basic story but the movie was ad-libbed with no script. They had over 100 hours of film and had to edit it down. They have regrouped many times and played live concerts as Spinal Tap.

This Is Spinal Tap was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry because it is a film that is considered “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress.

My favorite bits? Stonehenge, Nigel’s “Mach” piece, these go to 11, Nigel’s bread, you can’t dust vomit… there are too many to name them all. check the videos out at the bottom.


Some of it hits home according to some rock stars.

Quotes about the movie

The Edge – “It’s so hard to keep things fresh, and not to become a parody of yourself,”. “And if you’ve ever seen that movie Spinal Tap, you will know how easy it is to parody what we all do. The first time I ever saw it, I didn’t laugh. I wept. I wept because I recognized so much and so many of those scenes.”

Ozzy Osbourne reportedly thought it was a real documentary. ” “They seemed quite tame compared to what we got up to”

Joe Perry from Aerosmith –  “It was great, every bit as brilliant as it was supposed to be, so good. Even then, we had been through it all six times. I told Steven the next day, ‘You’ve got to see this movie! It’s so good. It’s hilarious.’”

Steven Tyler from Aerosmith – “That movie bummed me out, because I thought, ‘How dare they? That’s all real, and they’re mocking it’

Pete Townsend –  “Keith Moon “was ‘Spinal Tap incarnate.”



These go to 11


Nigel’s Bread


Can’t dust vomit







Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

19 thoughts on “This is Spinal Tap”

    1. My son and I watched it Sunday and he loved it. He likes classic movies and I told him to trust me on this one… he has been quoting it since then.


    1. It took me a few viewings to get everything in it. It’s funny or sad that many rock stars think it’s true to their life.


      1. It’s funny and sad to watch, too. I see characteristics of several of my fave bands. What is purely funny to me is that tiny Stonehenge on stage. I laugh out loud every time I see it.

        There’s a $400mm lawsuit pending over who has the rights to the music and royalties of the Spinal Tap ‘band’. Your post prompted me to look it up and check the status. The actor/band members have had to jump through hoops to establish their place in the lawsuit, but the suit has survived early challenges and has been allowed to proceed.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Those three wrote all the music and they should profit from it…it’s basically a sound track. That is odd they haven’t been recieving royalities. It’s sort of like the Monkees in a way because they became a semi band and toured for real.

        Thanks that is interesting.

        I think Nigel is Jeff Beck…I really do. Beck was known to want special things in his dressing room like a shower etc. But I’m sure it’s a composite of all.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh, I enjoyed those clips, I’ve not seen it in ages. Great film, such a damn good piss-take! (My all time fave scene is the amp going up to 11. I also love the one where they get lost trying to find the stage!)

    Liked by 1 person

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