Abuse Your Delusion: The 1992 Guitar World Interview with the Almost-Legendary Spinal Tap
This interview with Nigel Tufnel, David St. Hubbins and Derek Smalls of Spinal Tap appeared in the April 1992 issue of Guitar World magazine.
I notice that you quote Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez" in the classical guitar segment you play.
TUFNEL: I'm not really quoting it. I'm stealing it -- but in a modern context. You're used to hearing Julian Bream play it or that guy Segoveeya, but when I do it, in the context of a rock and roll song, it's a whole new thing.
David, you take the first solo on "Cash On Delivery" and get what Clapton used to call the "woman tone."
ST. HUBBINS: Woman tone, yeah. ZZ Top makes use of that. I just tum the tone to the woman setting.
TUFNEL: It's very fat -- a fat woman tone. He does that on his Les Paul. I don't play Gibsons anymore. I used to use "Goldy," the Flying V and others, but I've sworn off them because they're too heavy. I wear one of those neoprene back supports when we play live, even acoustically, because they warm up your vertebrae and allow you to bend a bit. That's what happened in the film -- not that it ever happened before or after -- when I fell down and couldn't get up again. And I wear one knee brace because I've got a trick knee, and I don't jump off those platforms anymore -- that's for the younger kids.
Where does "Just Begin Again" modulate from and to?
TUFNEL: The thing about modulation is that it's a composer's trick. We like to modulate as much as possible. It makes the audience feel as though they're being taken on a little holiday from the song itself. "Oh, I'm being picked up and delivered where?" It starts in G, then we go to A, and it modulates to D, then back to G.
SMALLS: A lot of these bands brag about how they modulate and change keys. Well, here's four modulations in one tune. And you really don't even notice a difference.
ST. HUBBINS: We knew we wanted to do a duet with a female voice, and we thought of Cher immediately because she's perhaps the primary rock vocalista. Steve Lukather, who produced that particular track, had just worked with her, and he said, "Oh, she'd love to do it." She's a gracious human being.
Was the electric sitar solo on "Clam Caravan" completely spontaneous? It sounds like you 're groping for a certain note at the song's end.
TUFNEL: I should mention that it's not a real sitar, but a Coral Electric Sitar designed by Mr. Vinnie Bell. I thought, "I love the sound of the sitar, but I don't play it -- who has the fuckin' time?'' So I rented a Coral Sitar, and thought, "Well, it's a guitar; it just has a bad bridge." But something happened when I was playing, and I admit there was some confusion as to where I was going. But in the end, what's better than being realistic about your emotional state? Which was confusion and some desperation, I would say. But I do get there, don't I? It's a measure late, mind you, but I do hit the E.
SMALLS: "Clam Caravan": people say, "Where's the clams?" There's no clams in "Clam Caravan" because it was a typographical error. The name was really "Calm Caravan."
This is the age of safe sex. Are you going to have to curtail your notorious road lifestyle on the upcoming tour?
ST. HUBBINS: Well, Jeanine is keeping my sex real safe -- keeping it safe from me. But I'm definitely going to be keeping my eye on these two single gentlemen.
SMALLS: He 's going to be our condom police.
TUFNEL: You can't behave the way you did in the Sixties or Seventies or Eighties -- or even early Nineties.
SMALLS: And to the extent that kids read your magazine and take what we say as a model for their own behaviour: When you're bedding down with two or three young ladies after a rock and roll show, be careful.
ST. HUBBINS: You might knock yer head.
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