Are you ready to experience the sights, the sounds, the smells, of a hard working rock band on tour? Now you can experience it all. The interminable bore of soundchecks, the feuding, the fights, the interfering girlfriends, the splits, the instore appearances…the lot. The whole sorry mess.
Spinal Tap are the ultimate joke band, known throughout the world, legendary and more famous than they could ever have been if they had been a real band. Now, even though the film is 17 years ago, it’s targets for satire remain essentially unchanged and still as sharp and acerbic as ever. It’s a well observed, razor sharp comedy in which not a line of dialogue is wasted, at the same times mocking and reverential, so much so that a great many bands afterwards have claimed to be the inspiration of Spinal Tap. None of them were. This film explodes every cliché of music: the egos, the vanity, the pretentiousness, the mock history . This film is legendary for all the right reasons – and so it should be.
Every scene is filled with memorable dialogue, frequently hilarious with some jokes tucked away so secretly I only noticed them 10 years after watching the film for the first time. From the history of exploding drummer, nonsensical and wryly observed lyrics in abundance (“my baby fits me like a flesh tuxedo, I’d like to sink her with my pink torpedo”?” Stonehenge, where the demons dwell where the banshess live and they do live will…where the dredrops cry and the cats meow”?), their ludicrous pretensions (the achingly sad and haunting piano ballad, titled “lick my love pump”), their utter misunderstanding of everything ; and the ultimate joke that the live concert sequences were shot in front of an audience who didn’t realise it was all a joke and took them all so seriously..the utterly convincing fake band history (the hippe period of the 60s’ and merseybeat is captured so accurately its untrue)…every nuance is captured perfectly. What makes this all the more remarkable is that the majority of dialogue was adlibbed and made up on the spot. From the hilarious Stonehenge sequence to the “Pod” stage set, from the sequence where to the bands appeal is more “selective” to the legendary joke about amplifiers…
This is the perfect satire of the music industry, so much so that even posters on Popbitch appropriate the names of characters to remain anonymous. And while its obviously dated in places, it is still as relevant now as the day it was made, Its quite possibly the best film about music ever. If you’ve not seen this film, see it. It goes up to Eleven. ‘Nuff said.
10Graham Reed's Score