Review: Rock's not dead, neither is Spinal Tap's bassist - InfoNews

Current Conditions

Clear
1.9°C

Review: Rock's not dead, neither is Spinal Tap's bassist

This cover image released by BMG shows “Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)” by Derek Smalls, the "Spinal Tap" character played by Harry Shearer. (BMG via AP)
April 10, 2018 - 1:00 PM

Derek Smalls, "Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)" (BMG)

This album answers a question no one was asking: Is Derek Smalls still alive?

Smalls was once a bit player in the two-bit heavy metal band Spinal Tap, a group long forgotten except for being the subject of a 1984 mockumentary that ranks among the best movies ever. Now the British bassist (played by comedian Harry Shearer) is attempting a comeback with his solo debut at age 77, and the result is so bad it's funny. Actually, it's hilarious.

The sludgy arrangements are thick with every cliche known to metal, from the opening flute to a recitation and brass fanfare, followed by boogie beats, operatic female vocals, syrupy strings and hysterical solos. All that's missing is an umlaut.

Equally predictable is the subject matter, which ranges from Satan's hairline ("Hell Toupee") and MRIs ("MRI") to cellphones as a pain in the rear ("Butt Call," bringing the backside to the forefront as the Tap's "Big Bottom" once did).

An impressive supporting cast includes Donald Fagen, David Crosby, Richard Thompson, Steve Vai, Rick Wakeman and Dweezil Zappa. Alas, Smalls' explanation for how he recruited such a Hall of Fame lineup is too bawdy to be repeated on the internet, much less in print.

The rock 'n' roll lifestyle has clearly taken a toll on Smalls' voice, and he sings like a character on "The Simpsons." A couple of tunes go on too long, a reminder it's a fine line between stupid and clever.

But criticisms aside, there's wit in nearly every couplet, and the album should play well with Smalls' demographic — septuagenarians who wear spandex.

News from © The Associated Press, 2018
The Associated Press

  • Popular penticton News
  • Comments
  • Woman found dead in car in Kamloops
    KAMLOOPS - A woman has been found dead and two men have been taken to hospital after they were found in a car playing loud music early this morning. Kamloops RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jodi Shel
  • Kamloops RCMP seek missing man
    KAMLOOPS - Police in Kamloops are asking for the public's help to find a missing man. James Harris, 53, has not been in contact with family or friends since late March and he was last se
  • Searching for a stranger: Dozens of people brought in by bus to look for Ryan Shtuka
    SUN PEAKS - It's been nearly 10 weeks since Ryan Shtuka went missing in the Sun Peaks area after leaving a house party on Burfield Drive, but volunteers are still showing up in droves hoping t
  • Kelowna RCMP investigating brutal downtown assault
    KELOWNA - A Kelowna man who witnessed a brutal assault by a group of young men on a lone male in downtown Kelowna on the weekend says he feels like he came close to seeing a murder in progress.
  • Broncos families surprised obituaries are on website selling services
    Some families of Humboldt Broncos bus crash victims are surprised to learn that error-riddled obituaries of their loved ones have been posted on a website that's selling flowers, as well as on
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile