Where most heavy metal bands are unremittingly black, Spnal Tap are unafraid to be somewhat softer. Like the night sky with no stars, they are more of a pastel black. But they are loud. Very, very loud.
Who Are Spinal Tap?
The core of Spinal Tap for most of the bands life are lead singer David St. Hubbins, lead guitarist Nigel Tuffnel and bassist Derek Smalls, who replaced Ronnie Pudding in 1967. These three, with occasional session musicians and a quite improbable number of drummers1 comprise what is, if not the best-known band in Britain, probably the loudest. Certainly the most famous products of the London Borough of Squatney, their "Squatney Beat" has set a generation of rock fans on the road to serious noise-induced hearing loss.
Their success is attributed by Nigel to amplifiers which "go up to 11" - fully ten percent higher than the 10 to which ordinary aplifiers will go. Others point out that the band is sliding in popularity and had trouble filling venues on the "Break Like The Wind" tour.
So much for the fiction.
Who Are Spinal Tap Really?
The band Spinal Tap was created for the spoof "rockumentary," This Is Spinal Tap. The film is a huge cult success due in part to a brilliant concept and in part to the level of detail which went into the production - including following heavy rock band Saxon on tour. This is, reputedly, where one of the film's most famous and funniest sequences, where the band got lost backstage, came from. Scarily, Francis Rossi of Status Quo claims that this was based on them - but maybe that's just because all rock bands get lost backstage from time to time. Hey, it could happen to anyone.
Like The Blues Brothers the film contains real music played by real musicians. The band all play their instruments and sing, which places them several steps up the musical ladder from the majority of manufactured bands whose members can do neither (although to be fair they usually look nicer than Tap).
Michael McKean ( St. Hubbins), Christopher Guest (Tufnel) and Harry Shearer (Smalls) have tremendous musical talent. Well, at least, they know one end of a guitar from the other. Mostly.