Spinal Tap Bassist Derek Smalls Announces Star-Studded Solo Album, 'Smalls Change'

(Image credit: Rob Shanahan)

Derek Smalls, the longtime bassist and self-proclaimed "lukewarm water" of British hard-rockers Spinal Tap, has announced his first solo album, Smalls Change.

To call Smalls Change a strictly "solo" album though, would overlook its truly astounding guest list, which features (to name a few) Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Peter Frampton, Dweezil Zappa, Steve Lukather, Jeff "Skunk" Baxter and Richard Thompson. When asked how he was able to recruit so much top-tier talent for the album, Smalls simply replied, "Pity fuck."

Smalls described the album—which is set for an April 13 release via Twanky/BMG—as "halfway between ‘rage against the dying of the light’ and trying to find the light.”

According to a press release, Smalls was able to fund the album through a grant from the British Fund for Ageing Rockers. Of the grant, Smalls said “At least austerity was good for something.”

You can see the album's full tracklist (complete with notes on each song from Smalls himself) below.

You can preorder Smalls Change here, via Pledge Music.


1. Openture - Derek with The Hungarian Studio Orchestra

The philosophy of this record, expressed in fewer words than I’ve taken to almost describe it.

2. Rock 'n' Roll Transplant - Derek with Steve Lukather (guitar, Toto), drum legends Jim Keltner (George Harrison) and Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers)

Whatever might be ailing you, rock ’n’ roll is the cure. Ask Dr. Derek!

3. Butt Call - Derek with Phil X (guitar, Bon Jovi) and Taylor Hawkins (drums, Foo Fighters)

In one lifetime, the telephone has gone from a miracle to a pain in the arse.

4. Smalls Change - Derek with The Hungarian Studio Orchestra, Judith Owen (vocals) Danny Kortchmar (guitar, Don Henley) and Russ Kunkel (drums, James Taylor)

Why Lukewarm Water is no longer bracketed by Fire and Ice. A nod to what’s past, and a wink to what’s next.

5. Memo To Willie - Derek with Donald Fagen (vocals), Jeff “Skunk” Baxter and Larry Carlton (guitars, Steely Dan) and The Snarky Puppy Horns

An urgent missive to the Honorable Member: continued tumescence, if you please.

6. It Don't Get Old - Derek with Peter Frampton (guitar, vocals) and Waddy Wachtel (guitar Keith Richards).

Life on the road, an endless series of pointless encounters. What could be better?

7. Complete Faith - Derek with The Hungarian Studio Orchestra

A musical interruption.

8. Faith No More - Derek with The Hungarian Studio Orchestra and Todd Sucherman (drums, Styx)

As I get older, I look back more fondly on all the people I’ve known. Except for Ian.

9. Gimme Some (More) Money - Derek with Paul Shaffer (piano and organ), Waddy Wachtel (guitar) and David Crosby (vocals)

Time and technology change everything, except the need for change.

10. MRI - Derek with Dweezil Zappa (guitars)

Everybody’s going to have one, eventually. It’s just another ride. To hell, but still…

11. Hell Toupee - Derek with The Hungarian Studio Orchestra

Think Satan doesn’t have dark thoughts about his appearance as he ages? Think again.

12. Gummin the Gash - Derek with Steve Vai (guitar), Gregg Bisonnette (drums, Ringo Starr) and Jane Lynch (vocals)

Losing your teeth closes one door, and opens another. A celebration of the meeting of two toothless cavities.

13. She Puts the Bitch in Obituary - Derek with Richard Thompson (guitar) and Jane Lynch (vocals)

A hymn to womanhood in all her splendor.

14. When Men Did Rock - Derek with Michael League (bass), Joe Satriani (guitar), Rick Wakeman (keyboards) and The Hungarian Studio Orchestra

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Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.