The artists behind such esteemed recordings as Silent But Deadly
, Intravenus de Milo
and the classic Bent For The Rent
, Spinal Tap have become part of popular consciousness in a way that few ageing heavy rock bands with a penchant for deceased drummers have achieved. This excellently detailed book by Karl French is intended to feed the addictions of those who find that repeated viewings of the classic 1984 documentary This is Spinal Tap
are no longer sufficient, and educate the world further about the work of the legends that are David St Hubbins, Nigel Tufnell and Derek Smalls.
Housed in a black cover bringing to mind the classically minimalist artwork of the 1982 album Smell The Glove (a stylistic challenge which sadly led to very limited sales), French's book, represents a treasure chest of Tap facts. Beginning with a "Pre-Epilogue" from Michael McKean, the actor behind David St Hubbins, the book includes a comprehensive "Tap'istory" detailing the band's activities since their formation in 1966, the full transcriptions of the 1984 spoof rockumentary, complete with the many out-takes left on the cutting-room floor after an agonising nine-month editing process, and an A-Z guide to the many characters and events vital to their story. Throughout, the original film is rightfully celebrated, and new facts presented. (For example, we learn that Spinal Tap were the first band to have an album certified Bronze, the honour being bestowed for having more than one million copies returned.) While certain mysteries remain (we will, for example, probably never know the exact circumstances of the group's original drummer's "tragic gardening accident"), there is much new and often hilarious information to satisfy even the most obsessive Tap fan.
In all, this book is a valuable addition to the Spinal Tap legend. Indeed, many readers will no doubt feel compelled to award it an unprecedented six stars out of five. Well, it's one extra, isn't it? --Steve Price
About the Author
Karl French is the co-author of Cult Movies and the editor if The Oficial Spinal Tap Companion.