Music: Spinal Tap

Jun 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By Mr. Bonzai



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This is (still) Spinal Tap, L-R: Harry Shearer as Derek Smalls, Christopher Guest as Nigel Tufnel and Michael McKean as David St. Hubbins.

This is (still) Spinal Tap, L-R: Harry Shearer as Derek Smalls, Christopher Guest as Nigel Tufnel and Michael McKean as David St. Hubbins.
Photo: Matt Mindlin

During this 25th anniversary of the film and album This is Spinal Tap, the band has reunited to set the record straight, once and for all. What a stupendous relief for the countless fans who empathized with Tap's well-documented fall from grace and money. All of the original album has been re-recorded, along with much anticipated never-released material for a total of 19 tracks. The release, out June 16, also includes a one-hour DVD and a pop-up diorama package that unveils three 12-inch action figures of the band and a proportionally sized Stonehenge.

Tracking for Back From the Dead took place at The Village in L.A. with engineer Ed Cherney and longtime Tap collaborator CJ Vanston producing. Guest artists include Phil Collen of Def Leppard, John Mayer, Keith Emerson and Steve Vai.

Cherney mixed half of the thunderous new album at his Studio Ed at The Village, while Vanston mixed the ear-splitting remainder at his studio, The Treehouse. Mastering was done by Gavin Lurssen with publicist Bobbi Fleckman peering over his shoulder.

Vanston explains, “Spinal Tap is re-recording the entire first album because they thought the original album was a hatchet job, just like the movie.” With worldwide attention focused on Tap's triumphant independent release of Back From the Dead on The Label Industry Records, a Rock Band 2 music videogame in the works and a one-stop world tour planned for London's Wembley Stadium, this is surely one of the most anticipated juggernauts of comic/tragic music mayhem ever conceived and/or executed.

And now, join me at The Village with the blond and effervescent David St. Hubbins, the master of the big-bottom bass, Derek Smalls, the moody yet severely gifted Nigel Tufnel, and natty tweakster CJ Vanston.

Catching Up With the Guys

We're going to dig under the surface and try to find out a little bit more about this new recording.

St. Hubbins: We don't care if you dig under the surface, just as long as you sterilize the instrument first.

Smalls: And find the surface buried underneath.

Rumor has it that this was the most difficult Spinal Tap album to record. Is that true?

St. Hubbins: I wouldn't say that it was the most difficult. We had a good time. We did a lot of the old songs. It was sort of like old wine in, well, not new bottles — the bottles were old, as well — but they are packed in a really high-impact space-age plastic carrying thing.

Smalls: New labels. No corks.

A lot has happened in the…

Smalls: Not really.

No, not really, but some things have happened since the first album.

St. Hubbins: Oh, yeah.

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