Interview:Going with the Flow

Part 1: The True Meaning of "Break a Leg" / That Blasted Documentarian, Marty Di Bergi

Part 2: No, Not a Cannibal, a Parable! / Living Off the Royalties of Rock Stardom

Part 3: "Back from the Dead," at Least for a Limited Engagement / vs.

Part 4: The Current State of Pop Music / Korn and Limp Bizkit's Debt to the Tap

Part 5: Alice Cooper, Jason Newsted, Rob Thomas, Jimmy Pop

Part 6: Rob Zombie, Ben Ottwell, Billy Duffy, John Hampson




Spinal Tap: Going with the Flow

Part 1: The True Meaning of "Break a Leg" / That Blasted Documentarian, Marty Di Bergi


Though most people have relegated England's once-celebrated metal mavens Spinal Tap to the "Where Are They Now" file, the band has never really gone away. From occasional performances at charity functions such as August's Gathering of the Clan (along with Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Don Henley and others) in Los Angeles, to perennial appearances on compilation and tribute albums, Tap just doesn't know when to quit. In September, MGM re-released Marty Di Bergi's legendary rockumentary "This Is Spinal Tap" on DVD accompanied by a brief run in theaters, introducing a whole new generation of rockers to the music of Nigel Tufnel, David St. Hubbins, Derek and the various drummers who have rounded out the quartet. Though the Tapsters themselves remain ambivalent about the film, they nonetheless decided to exploit the opportunity for publicity. Frontman St. Hubbins shared some valuable insights he's gleaned from his many years with Spinal Tap and the band's adventures and misadventures in the music business. How are you doing?


David St. Hubbins: I'm all right. I just twisted my ankle a bit. I was out working at the farm. We call it the farm. It's not really a farm, it's like half an acre out in Pomona here, and I was out there with the dog and sheep and I twisted my ankle, but I'm fine now. Speaking of twisting an ankle, that reminds me of the show business phrase, "break a leg," which I've never understood.


St. Hubbins: Someone explained it to me once. Break a leg so that you won't have to go on. That's really what it is. If you break a leg you're not going to have to go out there and risk making a fool of yourself, which is of course much worse than breaking any limb, although as one who's done it for a living, you know, play in a rock and roll band. We are the fools of the universe. You've had quite a legacy behind you with the mighty Tap.


St. Hubbins: Well, I've always thought your legacy is a good thing to put behind you because it gives you something to fall back on. I suppose you're right. We've been together and apart for a long time. We were talking the other day that our career over the last 20 years really consists of splitting up and getting back together again. And it's been great for us because there's so much attendant curiosity and sort of a soap opera interest that we don't really have to write too much new material. In your case, "break a leg" might be better termed "break a legacy."


St. Hubbins: That's brilliant. You better put that in, but you gotta say I said it. So the rockumentary "This Is Spinal Tap" is resurfacing after all this time.


St. Hubbins: Yes, they're bringing it out in the theater again, and then on home video and DVD. And there is an alternate track on the DVD version wherein we stress to people that it wasn't always thus. And maybe Marty Di Bergi, the filmmaker had it in for us in some way, and showed us only at our worst. And there's some new footage -- not within the story of the film. We didn't want to touch that because we think dramatically it sort of works and has a nice fable feeling to it. But the alternative track will tell you and some of the other footage will show you we really had a lot of fun and we had a lot of great success. What do you mean? Marty edited the piece to make you look bad?


St. Hubbins: Exactly. It seems Marty got a bit jealous of us getting all the girls and all the attention. And I think when he got into that lonely cutting room, and he was eating a sandwich over the garbage pail, working into the night in his lonely little life, that maybe he got a bit bitter and he cut out all the good stuff. So that's one really good reason to buy the DVD, just to make sure our name goes down in the history books not as a bunch of buffoons, but as a trio of baboons.


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6