CliqueClack Flicks

Spinal Tap trivia

Tidbits about the creators and the film. The band's original name sounded like a cheesy spy novel. Plus! The revelation of the Isle Of Lucy.

  • When the film opened in 1984, director Rob Reiner was approached and asked why he didn’t chose a more well-known band to feature.
  • While much of the dialogue in This Is Spinal Tap was ad-libbed, Guest, McKean and Shearer are all competent musicians. Their handiwork is showcased on the film’s soundtrack.
  • There is a deleted subplot explaining Tufnel’s and St. Hubbins’ cold sores; Spinal Tap has an opening act that tours with the band. The lead singer of that act sleeps with each Tap member, giving them herpes.
  • The primaries were given $10,000 to write a script for the film. The result was a 20-minute version demonstrating the improvisation they had in mind. Several scenes wound up in the final film.
  • The cover art for Spinal Tap’s album “Smell the Glove” was a take on Whitesnake‘s 1978 album “Lovehunter.”
  • Early versions of the film (which included the video “Hell Hole” among others) contained a disclaimer at the end stating the band did not actually exist. Even with cameos from Billy Crystal and Patrick Macnee, Spinal Tap still managed to trick many of moviegoers the band was real.
  • A made-for-TV sequel, The Return of Spinal Tap, was released in 1992 to promote Break Like the Wind. It consisted mostly of footage from an actual Spinal Tap concert at the Royal Albert Hall. It featured an appearance by The Folksmen, a fictional folk music trio also created/performed by Guest, McKean and Shearer.
  • During one of his solos, Nigel rubs a violin against his guitar. This is a nod to Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page who used a violin bow to play his guitar during many concerts.
  • The T-shirt Guest wears in the film’s dinner scene (“Norman’s Rare Guitars”) is an actual location which provided many of the film’s instruments.
  • Being a Spinal Tap drummer comes with a price: 32 different percussionists died while giving rhythm to the group. Additionally, This Is Spinal Tap showcases four of them: John “Stumpy” Pepys, Eric “Stumpy Joe” Childs, Mick Shrimpton, and Joe “Mama” Besser. These names were inspired by the four different men who played the role of the third Stooge in The Three Stooges films: Curly Howard, Curly Joe DeRita, Shemp Howard, and Joe Besser. Plus: When the members of Spinal Tap talk about their drummer suffocating on vomit, this is a reference to a number of musicians who have died (or are rumored to have died) in this manner. They include Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, AC/DC‘s Ronald Belford Scott and Big Band-leader Tommy Dorsey.
  • Smalls’ one-handed bass-playing technique (with the other pointed in the air) is based on that of Saxon‘s bass player Steve “Dobby” Dawson.
  • Originally, Rob Reiner was one of the band members, but ended up directing the film after Harry Shearer commented he “didn’t look good in spandex.”
  • The band’s name was originally spelled “Spynal Tap.”
  • The production of the film never left Los Angeles county during filming. One exterior scene — the Recording Industry Convention in Atlanta, Georgia — is actually of the Bonaventure Hotel in downtown L.A.
  • This is Spinal Tap is ranked #1 on Entertainment Weekly’s “Top 50 Cult Films of All-Time.”
  • Tony Hendra (who played manager Ian Faith) wrote in his memoir he attempted suicide the night before the first day of filming. He credits the joy he experienced in making the film with bringing him back from depression which initiated the attempt.
  • During the “Big Bottom” sequence, all three front men are playing bass.
  • Before the first song of the film, an announcer introduces the band with: “Ladies and gentlemen … direct from Hell … Spinal Tap!” This is a play on the band Venom, who was often introduced “Now, from the very depths of Hell … Venom!”
  • A popular bar/music venue on the east side of Milwaukee changed its name to Shank Hall after the fictitious Milwaukee location where the band appears during their tour in the film.
  • In the final scene which takes place in Tokyo, Nigel wears the jersey of Yomiuri Giant’s Sadaharu Oh, the world’s all-time baseball home run king.
  • According to Rob Reiner, his character Marty DiBergi is an homage to Martin Scorsese (Marty), Brian De Palma (Di), Steven Spielberg (Berg) and either Federico Fellini or Michelangelo Antonioni.
  • There’s a common misconception the Stonehenge scene is a parody of Black Sabbath‘s huge Stonehenge sets from its “Born Again” tour. Not so. The Spinal Tap scene existed in the 1982 20-minute short; Sabbath’s props weren’t used until 1983.
  • There is no actual “Isle of Lucy” in the United Kingdom off England’s coast where Spinal Tap purportedly played a blues/jazz (or jazz/blues) festival. This is simply a tribute to I Love Lucy.
  • Marty Di Bergi wears two different US Navy caps — one in the film and one in “Catching up with Marty Di Bergi” in the Special Features on the DVD release. In the film, the cap appears to read USS Coral Sea OV-48. This should be USS Coral Sea CV-43. The USS Coral Sea was an aircraft carrier in the US Navy 1946-90, the second ship to bear that name. In the special features, the cap is from the USS Wadsworth FG-9, a guided missile frigate in the US Navy from 1978-2002.
  • Ozzy Osbourne once said when he first watched the film, he was the only person who wasn’t laughing … he thought the documentary was real.
  • This Is Spinal Tap: The Official Companion, published in 2000, features a “Tapistory,” full transcript of the film (including out-takes), a discography, lyrics and a comprehensive “A–Z” of the band. (View the link below!)

Photo Credit: MGM

Categories: Features, General, News

One Response to “Spinal Tap trivia”

August 19, 2012 at 9:01 AM

nice trivia game

Powered By OneLink