Music: Spinal Tap

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



Education Guide

Mix is gearing up to present its longstanding annual Audio Education Guide in its November 2014 issue. Want to have your school listed in the directory, or do you need to update your current directory listing? Add an image, program description, or a logo to your listing! Get your school in the Mix Education Guide 2014.

How do you get those superhuman vocals?

Vanston: Well, I insist on cutting them live, all three guys in the room, no tricks. Then we comp them, tune them, compress them, fix the timing issues, use special de-essers that take the natural harshness out of their voices, fly all the choruses and re-cut whatever isn't working. All in all, we try and keep it natural and live.

What parts do you play and why?

Vanston: I lean toward simple parts that speak above the din. That can be a challenge with a band this loud. Plus, nobody really wants to hear the keyboards. I think that is Viv Savage's fault; he really ruined it for me, he painted in broad swaths. I will say that there are literally hundreds of subliminal parts lurking below the surface for the true fans. Keith Emerson was a huge influence on me, yet I'm unable to use any of that influence for this band on this record. There is just no room. So I tend to distort things so the guys think they are guitar sounds, thus they stay on the record.

More From the Lads

Derek, you and your bass. How do you stay ahead?

St. Hubbins: He's usually a bit behind, actually.

Smalls: Behind is where you want to be. You don't want to be ahead. The pocket is behind. Where are the pockets on your trousers? Behind. It's a clue.

St. Hubbins: You've done some work on your bass sound over the years.

Smalls: Oh yeah, fattened it up.

St. Hubbins: Thickened it up.


Smalls: Oh, just working with different pickups and different kinds of strings.

Tufnel: Mainly, his fingers are fatter now. That helps. Chubby fingers.

Smalls: It's true. Hard to get fatter than these fingers.

St. Hubbins: Squat little bastards.

Smalls: Sausages.

Like a farmer.

St. Hubbins: Like a Sex Farmer.

David, you have such an incredible singing voice. Did you have training as a boy?

Tufnel: He had training as a boy…

Smalls: But it didn't take.

St. Hubbins: I had training with a boy. I don't discuss that much. I was going to say that I used to sing with the choir in church. I didn't. I sang along with the choir.

Smalls: You were outside the church.

St. Hubbins: I was outside the church having a smoke and I heard them and I was inspired and I would sing along. But I never sang publicly until I became a rock 'n' roller.

Tufnel: We used to be outside and the choirmaster used to come out, and say, “Hubbins, get in here.” He said, “No, I'm not doing it.” He used to take a drag and then flick his cigarette away. Always a rebel, even then. Nine years old. Beautiful voice, even as a child.

St. Hubbins: Thank you very much. Actually, my mum was thinking of having me castrated to keep that nice falsetto.

Vanston: Castrati.

St. Hubbins: I talked her out of it.

Smalls: What didja tell her?

St. Hubbins: I said, “Put down that knife mum.”

Tufnel: It was actually a carrot peeler. Horrible thought.

Acceptable Use Policy
blog comments powered by Disqus

Mix Books

Modern Recording and Mixing

This 2-DVD set will show you how the best in the music industry set up a studio to make world-class records. Regardless of what gear you are using, the information you'll find here will allow you to take advantage of decades of expert knowledge. Order now $39.95

Mastering Cubase 4

Electronic Musician magazine and Thomson Course Technology PTR have joined forces again to create the second volume in their Personal Studio Series, Mastering Steinberg's Cubase(tm). Edited and produced by the staff of Electronic Musician, this special issue is not only a must-read for users of Cubase(tm) software, but it also delivers essential information for anyone recording/producing music in a personal-studio. Order now $12.95



Delivered straight to your inbox every other week, MixLine takes you straight into the studio, with new product announcements, industry news, upcoming events, recent recording/post projects and much more. Click here to read the latest edition; sign up here.

MixLine Live

Delivered straight to your inbox every other week, MixLine Live takes you on the road with today's hottest tours, new sound reinforcement professional products, recent installs, industry news and much more. Click here to read the latest edition; sign up here.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

The Wire, a virtual press conference offering postings of the latest gear and music news, direct from the source. Visit the The Wire for the latest press postings.