Nigel Tufnel

 

 

 

 

 

In early 1964, guitarists David St. Hubbins and Nigel Tufnel formed The Originals. In late '64 they founded The Thamesmen with bassist Ronnie Pudding (formerly with The Cheap Dates) and drummer John Pepys (formerly with The Leslie Cheswick Soul Explosion). They released their first single, Gimmie Some Money in '65. After they toured with keyboardist Jan van der Kvelk, they changed their name to The Dutchmen. After going thru various name changes, including The Ravebreakers, The Doppel Gang, The Silver Service, The Bisquits, The Love Bisquits and The Tufnel-St.Hubbins Group, they finally settled on Spinal Tap and released their 1965 single (Listen To The) Flower People, written by Pudding. In '67, Pudding left and was replaced by Derek Smalls (formerly with the all white Jamaican band, Skaface). That same year Spinal Tap released their self titled first album (released in the U.S. as Spinal Tap Sings (Listen To The) Flower People And Other Favourites) which went gold. Their follow up album, We Are The Flower People sold poorly. They toured Europe in support of The Matchstick Men, developing a harder twin guitar style. In '69, they released the live album, Silent But Deadly.

 

In '72, drummer Pepys died in tragedy and was replaced by Eric Childs (formerly with Woolcave). They recorded and released Brainhammer and Blood To Let in '73. In '74, they recorded and released Intravenus de Milo. In '75, they released their concept album, The Sun Never Sweats, with keyboardist Ross MacLochness (formerly with Kilt Kids) and replaced drummer Childs who died in a sudden tragedy with session drummer Peter James Bond. In '77, they had their first hit single in the U.S. with Nice And Stinky from their 1975 live in Japan album, Jap Habit. In '80, the group signed with Polymer Records, replaced drummer Bond (who had died with tragic suddeness) with Mick Shrimpton (formerly with the Eurovision Song Contest house band) and released Shark Sandwich. In '82, they released Smell The Glove (also known as The Black Album). Director Marty DiBergi interviewed the group on film over the course of six years and finally in 1984, the documentary This Is Spinal Tap was released. In 1992, the band recorded their comeback album Break Like The Wind with side line help from Jeff Beck and Joe Satriani.

 

 

 

Spinal Tap

Spinal Tap (Flower People)

 


 

 

"These Go To Eleven"

 

 

 

  • Also Credited As:
    Baron Haden-Guest of Saling, Christopher Haden-Guest, Lord Haden-Guest
  • Born:
      02/05/1948 in New York, New York
  • Job Titles:
    Actor, Director, Comedian, Musician, Screenwriter
 
Family
  • Brother: Nicholas Guest. younger
  • Daughter: Annie Guest. born in December 1986; adopted
  • Father: Peter Haden Guest. died on April 8, 1996 at age 82
  • Half-brother: Anthony Haden-Guest. born c. 1936
  • Mother: Jean Hindes. formerly a vice president at CBS
  • Sister: Elissa Smith.
  • Son: Thomas Haden Guest. born in 1996; adopted
Significant Others
  • Wife: Jamie Lee Curtis. born on November 22, 1958; married on December 18, 1984 at Rob Reiner's home;
     daughter of actors Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh
Education
  • Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
  • High School of Music & Art, New York, NY
  • New York University, New York, NY
Milestones
  • 1966 Made professional acting debut at New Haven's Long Wharf Theater
  • 1967 First teamed up with Michael McKean, playing in a band in New York
  • 1969 Off-Broadway debut, "Little Murders"
  • 1970 Broadway debut, "Room Service"
  • 1971 Feature film debut playing a resident in "The Hospital"
  • 1972 Acted in the short-lived Broadway production "Moonchildren"
  • 1973 member of the ensemble, "National Lampoon's Lemmings" at the Village Gate, NYC
  • 1975 Co-wrote and performed in "The Lily Tomlin Special" (ABC)
  • 1975 Regular player on the ABC variety series "Saturday Night With Howard Cosell"
  • 1977 Made TV episodic debut on "All in the Family" (CBS)
  • 1977 TV-movie debut, "Billion Dollar Bubble" (NBC)
  • 1978 Had first romantic lead opposite Melanie Mayron in "Girlfriends"
  • 1979 Played Jeb Stuart Magruder in CBS miniseries "Blind Ambition"
  • 1980 Appeared brother Nick alongside Carradine, Quaid & Keach bros, "The Long Riders"
  • 1981 Reteamed with Melanie Mayron in "Heartbeeps"
  • 1984 Was regular on "Saturday Night Live" (NBC)
  • 1984 Starred as guitarist Nigel Tufnel & wrote "This Is Spinal Tap", Rob Reiner's 
  • 1987 Had featured role in Reiner's "The Princess Bride"
  • 1988 Co-starred with Mayron in "Sticky Fingers"
  • 1989 Feature directorial debut, "The Big Picture"
  • 1991 Executive produced & directed CBS sitcom "Morton & Hayes"; 
  • 1992 Appeared in "A Few Good Men", directed by Reiner
  • 1993 Helmed "Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman", an HBO TV-movie starring Daryl Hannah
  • 1997 Wrote, directed and starred in the cult hit "Waiting for Guffman"
  • 1998 Directed the comedy "Almost Heroes"
  • 2001 Wrote, directed and starred in the dog show-themed comedy "Best in Show"
  • 2003 Co-Wrote (Eugene Levy), Directed, & Co-starred in "A Mighty Wind";
  • Directed the "Johnny Appleseed" installment of "Faerie Tale Theater"
  • Will helm & star as an indie film director in "For Your Consideration,

 

 

Spinal Tap

Spinal Tap - 1967 Megaphone
Spinal Tap Sings (Listen To The) Flower People And Other Favourites - 1967 Megaphone (U.S. release)
We Are The Flower People - 1968 Megaphone
The Incredible Flight Of Icarus P. Anybody - 1969 Megaphone
Silent But Deadly - 1969 Megaphone (Live)
Brainhammer - 1970 Megaphone
Nerve Damage - 1971 Megaphone
Blood To Let - 1972 Megaphone
Intravenus de Milo - 1974 Megaphone
The Sun Never Sweats - 1975 Megaphone
Jap Habit - 1975 Megaphone (Live)
Bent For The Rent - 1976 Megaphone
Tap Dancing - 1976 Megaphone
Rock 'n Roll Creation - 1977 Megaphone
Shark Sandwich - 1980 Polymer
Smell The Glove - 1982 Polymer (The Black Album)
Heavy Metal Memories - 1983 Metalhouse
 
This Is Spinal Tap - 1984 Polydor (Soundtrack)

 
Hell Hole
Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight
Heavy Duty
Rock And Roll Creation
America
Cups And Cakes
Big Bottom
Sex Farm
Stonehenge
Gimme Some Money
(Listen To The) Flower People

 

 

Hear 'n Aid - 1986 Mercury

 

 

Break Like The Wind - 1992 Dead Faith/MCA

 
Bitch School
The Majesty Of Rock
Diva Fever
Just Begin Again
Cash On Delivery
The Sun Never Sweats
Rainy Day Sun
Break Like The Wind
Stinkin' Up The Great Outdoors
Springtime
Clam Caravan
Christmas With The Devil
All The Way Home

 

 



 
 
Brainhammer
Intravenus de Milo
The Sun Never Sweats
Shark Sandwich
Heavy Metal Memories
 Break Like The Wind

 

Still Working On This Page


 
Spinal Tap - Break like the wind (1992, MCA, 112 440-2)

In 1984 the actors, musicians and writers Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer and director Rob Reiner made a side-splitting rock documentary spoof This is Spinal Tap, a highly successful persiflage on the hard rock and heavy metal scene and music. The soundtrack was written and played by the three musicians/actors and a couple of guest musicians.
Break like the wind was supposed to be a kind of studio successor to do all the fun and satirical stuff all over again. The main difference between this album and the soundtrack is the amount of big musician names on Break like the wind. Steve Lukather produced and arranged three songs and did some musical contributions to them. Additional guitar on Just begin again, piano on Clam caravan and guitar on Break like the wind. The appearance on that last song is a very special one, because Luke arranged the most hilarious string of guitar solo's in rock history: a complete chaos done by Luke, Slash, Joe Satriani and Jeff Beck. The highlight of this album.

The album contains, though it's nowhere mentioned on the sleeve, a cd-rom video of the single Bitch school.

Spinal Tap about Steve Lukather: Toto and Cher producer and session guitarist for Rod Stewart, David Crosby and Wilson Phillips who oversaw four tracks on 1992 Tap album Break like the wind. David: "He’s a very strange human being." Derek: "He’s got a tattoo on his rectal tissue." David: "And he’ll show it to you, too. He kept going, "Can you see the ship? Does this look normal?’ " (ME) Told band he had recorded
his guitar solo on Break like the wind in the nude.

 

Break like the wind

Bitch school

 
1 Bitch school (Derek Smalls, David St. Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel)
2 The majesty of rock (Derek Smalls, David St. Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel)
3 Diva fever (Derek Smalls, David St. Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel)
4 Just begin again (Derek Smalls, David St. Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel)
5 Cash on delivery (Derek Smalls, David St. Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel)
6 The sun never sweats (Derek Smalls, David St. Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel)
7 Rainy day sun (Derek Smalls, David St. Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel)
8
Break like the wind (Derek Smalls, David St. Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel)
9 Stinkin'up the great outdoors (Derek Smalls, David St. Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel)
10 Springtime (Derek Smalls, David St. Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel)
11 Clam caravan (Derek Smalls, David St. Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel)
12 Christmas with the devil (Derek Smalls, David St. Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel)
13 The old grey man (Derek Smalls, David St. Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel)
14 All the way home (David St. Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel)
 

The single Bitch school is extracted from the album Break like the wind. The video clip of the single is available on the album as a cd-rom clip.

Musicians:
Steve Lukather: guitar, piano, arranger, producer, orchestration (4) (8) (10) (11)
David st. Hubbins (Michael McKean): guitar, vocals
Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest): lead guitar, vocals
Derek Smalls (Harry Shearer): bass, vocals
Caucasian Jeffrey Vanston: keyboards
Ric Shrimpton: drums


Additional musicians:
Jeff Beck: guitar
Joe Satriani: guitar
Dweezil Zappa: guitar
Nicky Hopkins: keyboards
Luis Conte: percussion
Cher: vocals
Slash: guitar
Tommy Funderburk: vocals (bckgr)
Danny Kortchmar: producer
David Mansfield: string arrangements
Timothy B. Schmit: vocals (bckgr)
Waddy Wachtel: slide guitar
Jimmie Wood: harmonica
Eric "Stumpy Joe" Childs: drums

Spinal Tap - Bitch school (1992, MCA)
01 Bitch school
02 Springtime
03 Talk with Tap

 

 

 

Memorable Quotes from
This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

Lt. Hookstratten: This is our monthly "At Ease" weekend. It gives us a chance to let our hair down, although I see you've got a head start in that department. I shouldn't talk, though, I'm getting a little shaggy myself. I'd better not stand too close to you, people might think I'm part of the band. I'm joking, of course.
 


Marty DiBergi: David St. Hubbins... I must admit I've never heard anybody with that name.
David St. Hubbins: It's an unusual name, well, he was an unusual saint, he's not a very well known saint.
Marty DiBergi: Oh, there actually is, uh... there was a Saint Hubbins?
David St. Hubbins: That's right, yes.
Marty DiBergi: What was he the saint of?
David St. Hubbins: He was the patron saint of quality footwear.
 

[last lines]
Nigel Tufnel: [on what he would do if he couldn't be a rock star] Well, I suppose I could, uh, work in a shop of some kind, or... or do, uh, freelance, uh, selling of some sort of, uh, product. You know...
Marty DiBergi: A salesman?
Nigel Tufnel: A salesman, like maybe in a, uh, haberdasher, or maybe like a, uh, um... a chapeau shop or something. You know, like, "Would you... what size do you wear, sir?" And then you answer me.
Marty DiBergi: Uh... seven and a quarter.
Nigel Tufnel: "I think we have that." See, something like that I could do.
Marty DiBergi: Yeah... you think you'd be happy doing something like-...
Nigel Tufnel: "No; we're all out. Do you wear black?" See, that sort of thing I think I could probably... muster up.
Marty DiBergi: Do you think you'd be happy doing that?
Nigel Tufnel: Well, I don't know - wh-wh-... what're the hours?
 

Ian Faith: Certainly, in the topsy-turvy world of heavy rock, having a good solid piece of wood in your hand is often useful.
 

[Nigel is playing a soft piece on the piano]
Marty DiBergi: It's very pretty.
Nigel Tufnel: Yeah, I've been fooling around with it for a few months.
Marty DiBergi: It's a bit of a departure from what you normally play.
Nigel Tufnel: It's part of a trilogy, a musical trilogy I'm working on in D minor which is the saddest of all keys, I find. People weep instantly when they hear it, and I don't know why.
Marty DiBergi: It's very nice.
Nigel Tufnel: You know, just simple lines intertwining, you know, very much like - I'm really influenced by Mozart and Bach, and it's sort of in between those, really. It's like a Mach piece, really. It's sort of...
Marty DiBergi: What do you call this?
Nigel Tufnel: Well, this piece is called "Lick My Love Pump".
 

Artie Fufkin: You know what I want you to do? Will you do something for me?
David St. Hubbins: What?
Artie Fufkin: Do me a favor. Just kick my ass, okay? Kick this ass for a man, that's all. Kick my ass. Enjoy. Come on. I'm not asking, I'm telling with this. Kick my ass.
 

[Nigel, introducing the Stonehenge theme concert]
Nigel Tufnel: In ancient times, hundreds of years before the dawn of history, an ancient race of people... the Druids. No one knows who they were or what they were doing...
 

Lt. Hookstratten: May I start by saying how thrilled we are to have you here. We are such fans of your music and all of your records. I'm not speaking of yours personally, but the whole genre of the rock and roll.
 

[Asked by a reporter if this is the end of Spinal Tap]
David St. Hubbins: Well, I don't really think that the end can be assessed as of itself as being the end because what does the end feel like? It's like saying when you try to extrapolate the end of the universe, you say, if the universe is indeed infinite, then how - what does that mean? How far is all the way, and then if it stops, what's stopping it, and what's behind what's stopping it? So, what's the end, you know, is my question to you.
 

Derek Smalls: We're lucky.
David St. Hubbins: Yeah.
Derek Smalls: I mean, people should be envying us, you know.
David St. Hubbins: I envy us.
Derek Smalls: Yeah.
David St. Hubbins: I do.
Derek Smalls: Me too.
 

[Asked to write his own epitaph]
David St. Hubbins: Here lies David St. Hubbins... and why not?
 

Mick Shrimpton: As long as there's, you know, sex and drugs, I can do without the rock and roll.
 

[Reading a review of Spinal Tap's latest album]
Marty DiBergi: "This pretentious ponderous collection of religious rock psalms is enough to prompt the question, 'What day did the Lord create Spinal Tap, and couldn't he have rested on that day too?'"
 

David St. Hubbins: I do not, for one, think that the problem was that the band was down. I think that the problem *may* have been, that there was a Stonehenge monument on the stage that was in danger of being *crushed* by a *dwarf*. Alright? That tended to understate the hugeness of the object.
Ian Faith: I really think you're just making much too big a thing out of it.
Derek Smalls: Making a big thing out of it would have been a good idea.
 

David St. Hubbins: We say, "Love your brother." We don't say it really, but...
Nigel Tufnel: We don't literally say it.
David St. Hubbins: No, we don't say it.
Nigel Tufnel: We don't really, literally mean it.
David St. Hubbins: No, we don't believe it either, but...
Nigel Tufnel: But we're not racists.
David St. Hubbins: But that message should be clear, anyway.
Nigel Tufnel: We're anything but racists.
 

Nigel Tufnel: You can't really dust for vomit.
 

David St. Hubbins: It's such a fine line between stupid, and clever.
 

David St. Hubbins: Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation.
 

David St. Hubbins: Dozens of people spontaneously combust each year. It's just not really widely reported.
 

Nigel Tufnel: It's like, how much more black could this be? and the answer is none. None more black.
 

David St. Hubbins: They were still booing him when we came on stage.
 

Jeanine Pettibone: You don't do heavy metal in Dubly, you know.
 

Nigel Tufnel: The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board, eleven, eleven, eleven and...
Marty DiBergi: Oh, I see. And most amps go up to ten?
Nigel Tufnel: Exactly.
Marty DiBergi: Does that mean it's louder? Is it any louder?
Nigel Tufnel: Well, it's one louder, isn't it? It's not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You're on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where?
Marty DiBergi: I don't know.
Nigel Tufnel: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?
Marty DiBergi: Put it up to eleven.
Nigel Tufnel: Eleven. Exactly. One louder.
Marty DiBergi: Why don't you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?
Nigel Tufnel: [pause] These go to eleven.
 

[Nigel Tufnel is showing Marty DiBergi one of his favorite guitars]
Nigel Tufnel: The sustain, listen to it.
Marty DiBergi: I don't hear anything.
Nigel Tufnel: Well you would though, if it were playing.
 

[Derek Smalls sets off a metal detector at the airport]
Airport Security Officer: Do you have any artificial plates or limbs?
Derek Smalls: Er, not really.
 

[Marty compliments Nigel on his tee shirt]
Nigel Tufnel: You like this?
Marty DiBergi: It's very nice. It looks like hollow wood.
Nigel Tufnel: This is my exact inner structure, done in a tee shirt. Exactly medically accurate. See?
Marty DiBergi: So in other words if we were to take all your flesh and blood...
Nigel Tufnel: Take them off. This is what you'd see.
Marty DiBergi: It wouldn't be green though.
[Nigel points at Marty]
Nigel Tufnel: It is green. You see how your blood looks blue.
Marty DiBergi: Yeah, well that's just the vein. That's the color of the vein. The blood is actually red.
Nigel Tufnel: Oh then, maybe it's not green. Anyway this is what I sleep in sometimes.
 

[reading a review of the album "Shark Sandwich"]
Marty DiBergi: The review for "Shark Sandwich" was merely a two word review which simply read "Shit Sandwich".
 

Derek Smalls: We're very lucky in the band in that we have two visionaries, David and Nigel, they're like poets, like Shelley and Byron. They're two distinct types of visionaries, it's like fire and ice, basically. I feel my role in the band is to be somewhere in the middle of that, kind of like lukewarm water.
 

Marty DiBergi: "This tasteless cover is a good indication of the lack of musical invention within. The musical growth of this band cannot even be charted. They are treading water in a sea of retarded sexuality and bad poetry."
Nigel Tufnel: That's just nitpicking, isn't it?
 

David St. Hubbins: Can you play a bass line like Nigel used to on "Big Bottom"? Can you double that? You might recall the line's in fifths.
Viv Savage: Oh yeah, I've got two hands here.
 

[discussing Nigel's Guitar collection]
Nigel Tufnel: Look... still has the old tag on, never even played it.
Marty DiBergi: [points his finger] You've never played...?
Nigel Tufnel: Don't touch it!
Marty DiBergi: We'll I wasn't going to touch it, I was just pointing at it.
Nigel Tufnel: Well... don't point! It can't be played.
Marty DiBergi: Don't point, okay. Can I look at it?
Nigel Tufnel: No. no. That's it, you've seen enough of that one.
 

[When asked what happened to their first drummer]
David St. Hubbins: He died in a bizarre gardening accident...
Nigel Tufnel: Authorities said... best leave it... unsolved.
 

Marty DiBergi: Do you feel that playing rock 'n' roll music keeps you a child? That is, keeps you in a state of arrested development?
Derek Smalls: No. No. No. I feel it's like, it's more like going, going to a, a national park or something. And there's, you know, they preserve the moose. And that's, that's my childhood up there on stage. That moose, you know.
Marty DiBergi: So when you're playing you feel like a preserved moose on stage?
Derek Smalls: Yeah.
 

Nigel Tufnel: We've got Armadillos in our trousers. It's really quite frightening.
 

[first lines]
Marty DiBergi: Hello; my name is Marty DiBergi. I'm a filmmaker. I make a lot of commercials. That little dog that chases the covered wagon underneath the sink? That was mine. In 1966, I went down to Greenwich Village, New York City to a rock club called Electric Banana. Don't look for it; it's not there anymore. But that night, I heard a band that for me redefined the word "rock and roll". I remember being knocked out by their... their exuberance, their raw power - and their punctuality. That band was Britain's now-legendary Spinal Tap. Seventeen years and fifteen albums later, Spinal Tap is still going strong. And they've earned a distinguished place in rock history as one of England's loudest bands. So in the late fall of 1982, when I heard that Tap was releasing a new album called "Smell the Glove", and was planning their first tour of the United States in almost six years to promote that album, well needless to say I jumped at the chance to make the documentary - the, if you will, "rockumentary" - that you're about to see. I wanted to capture the... the sights, the sounds... the smells of a hard-working rock band, on the road. And I got that; I got more... a lot more. But hey, enough of my yakkin'; whaddaya say? Let's boogie!
 

Bobbi Flekman: Money talks, and bullshit walks.
 

Ian Faith: Nigel gave me a drawing that said 18 inches. Now, whether or not he knows the difference between feet and inches is not my problem. I do what I'm told.
David St. Hubbins: But you're not as confused as him are you. I mean, it's not your job to be as confused as Nigel.
 

Ian Faith: The Boston gig has been cancelled...
David St. Hubbins: What?
Ian Faith: Yeah. I wouldn't worry about it though, it's not a big college town.
 

David St. Hubbins: We are Spinal Tap from the UK - you must be the USA!
 

David St. Hubbins: [singing] Big bottom, big bottom / Talk about mud flaps, my girl's got 'em!
 

[while playing a video game]
Viv Savage: Quite exciting, this computer magic!
 

Derek Smalls: Remember at Luton Palace we were talking about writing a rock musical based on the life of Jack the Ripper.
David St. Hubbins: Yeah!
[singing]
David St. Hubbins: You're a naughty one...
Derek Smalls, David St. Hubbins: Saucy Jack...
David St. Hubbins: You're a haughty one, saucy Jack.
 

Ian Faith: I've got a small bit of bad news.
Derek Smalls: Makes a change doesn't it.
Ian Faith: We've been cancelled here.
David St. Hubbins: At the hotel?
Ian Faith: No. The gig is cancelled.
 

[David raises hand after Ian Faith quits as the band's manager]
Derek Smalls: Can I raise a practical question at this point? Are we gonna do "Stonehenge" tomorrow?
David St. Hubbins: *NO*, we're not gonna fucking do "Stonehenge"!
 

Marty DiBergi: You two were at school together?
Nigel Tufnel: We're not university material.
David St. Hubbins: What's that on your finger?
Nigel Tufnel: It's my gum.
David St. Hubbins: What are you doing with it on your finger?
Nigel Tufnel: I might need it later.
David St. Hubbins: Put it on the table, that's terrible.
Nigel Tufnel: No, I might forget it on the table.
David St. Hubbins: [to Marty] Fucking awful, you can't take him anywhere.
 

Derek Smalls: That's not to say I haven't had my visionary moments. I've taken acid seventy... five, seventy-six times.
Marty DiBergi: 76?
Derek Smalls: Yeah, so I've had my moments in the sky.
 

Derek Smalls: [on the phone to his solicitor] Isn't there a law against this sort of thing? Surely you can't just buy a full page ad in the music papers and publish your divorce demands.
[pause]
Derek Smalls: What do you mean 'I paid for it'?
[pause]
Derek Smalls: Joint account! Fuck! Can't we just have her killed? You know people.
 

David St. Hubbins: [talking about Nigel] I'm tired of sticking up for his intelligence.
 

[at the pre-tour party, the waiters are mime artists]
Marty DiBergi: It's such an interesting concept, mixing mime and food.
Morty the Mime: It's a kick isn't it? Well, I used to be an actor but I could never remember my lines, so I thought "just shut up", you know? Don't say nothing. And my father used to say the same thing to me every dinner time, he used to say to me "shut up and eat", so that's what we do and that's the name of the company "shut up and eat".
 

[at the pre-tour party one of the waiters is on his way back to the kitchen with an entire tray of food]
Morty the Mime: Whoah, whoah, whoah, whoah, whoah. How come you got so much here?
Mime Waiter: I don't know, they're not eating it.
Morty the Mime: Did you do the wind?
Mime Waiter: I did the wind, I did the wind.
Morty the Mime: No, you don't push the wind away, the wind comes at you. Ok change those, get the little dwarf canolies. Come on, don't talk back, mime is money, come on, move it.
 

Nigel Tufnel: You can't fucking concentrate because your fucking wife! Simple as that, alright? It's your fucking wife!
David St. Hubbins: She's not my wife.
Nigel Tufnel: Well whatever FUCK she is, alright? You can't concentrate!
 

Ian Faith: They're not gonna release the album... because they have decided that the cover is sexist.
Nigel Tufnel: Well, so what? What's wrong with bein' sexy? I mean there's no...
Ian Faith: Sex-IST!
David St. Hubbins: IST!
 

Viv Savage: [when asked by Marty if he has a creed he lives by] Have... a good time... all the time.
 

Bobbi Flekman: You put a *greased naked woman* on all fours with a dog collar around her neck, and a leash, and a man's arm extended out up to here, holding onto the leash, and pushing a black glove in her face to sniff it. You don't find that offensive? You don't find that sexist?
Ian Faith: This is *1982*, Bobbi, c'mon!
Bobbi Flekman: That's *right*, it's 1982! Get out of the '60s. We don't have this mentality anymore.
Ian Faith: Well, you should have seen the cover they *wanted* to do! It wasn't a glove, believe me.
 

Derek Smalls: [from DVD commentary, about Marty DiBergi] He doesn't look Italian, does he?
Nigel Tufnel: I think his real last name is DiBergarmo.
David St. Hubbins: No!
Derek Smalls: No, his real last name is DiBergowitz.
Nigel Tufnel: Yeah! DiBergowitz.
David St. Hubbins: No! He's like one of those ...
Derek Smalls: Yeah, he is one of those. Check it out: DiBergowitz!

 

 

Derek SmallsSmalls, Derek Albion (b1941): Derek joined Tap in 1967 after the departure of Ronnie Pudding, who had left the group for a solo career. A former member of the all-white Jamaican band Skaface, Smalls was a student at the London School of Design (beginning at age 17) and a member of groups such as Milage and the bar band Teddy Noise, a power duo in which he learned the value of playing loud. Derek grew up in Nilford-on-Null and was not as musically inclined as his bandmates at a young age. His first girlfriend was an exotic dancer named Miriam, and he enjoyed boxing for relaxation. After Tap's 1982 tour of the United States and Tokyo, Smalls found himself trapped in Japan for eight months when even hypnosis could not help him find the hotel where he had left his passport. He made the time pay off by developing a taste for Orientalia, a passion that continues to this day ("if you've ever at his East London Docklands flat, check out his collection of ceremonial robes!" says the 1992 official fan club newsletter). During his stay, Derek says he spent "nights in many hotels with women of many nations. I took to playing bass in the subway stations, but they don't like the bass in Japan. It's too low for them." (RL) Later performed in North England pub circuit in various Tap tribute bands. (GW) Also dabbled writing jingles in Flemish for the Belgian milk board ("If it was any richer-it would be cream!"), although he wrote a similar slogan for the Milk Marketing Board while at the LSD. (LT) Used proceeds to purchase two uncompleted flats on the docks of London after Tap's 1982 tour. In 1988, Derek replaced Geoff Hough in the Christian hard-rock band Lambsblood, whose members included Moke, a former Tap roadie. (HR) Like Nigel, a collector of fine cars, including at one time a Lamborghini (which he lost in a divorce settlement), a Land Rover and a Chevrolet Monza. (TR) A championship caliber Monopoly player and orchid and rose grower (he wrote on the Tap Web page, "It may sound strange for a bloke like me to have a green thumb, but my own personal hybrid, the Big Bottom Rose, was given 'best of row' at the Chelsea Flower Show"), he was portrayed by DiBergi as the mediator of the band during its turbulent 1982 U.S. tour. (TS) He was known for always seeking the "rational explanation" of any situation, and for his sarcastic asides. When Jeanine arrives to join the band in Milwaukee, for instance, he comments to Nigel, "Visitor's Day, isn't it?" Earlier, in Atlanta, when Ian explains that Polymer has delayed release of "Smell the Glove" to experiment with some "new packaging materials," an exasperated Derek comments, "They got monkeys opening it or what?" Besides his affinity with lukewarm water, he also feels a kinship with snakes, keeping several as pets (including a large boa named Clarence). "They are my soul brothers, in a way. There is the slinky quality to them, which I try to apply to my stage persona." Derek made his film debut before the opening credits of Marco Zamboni's "Roma 79" (1976). Derek in 1998 achieved his dream of working with children, landing a job as a "floater" at a primary school in Los Angeles (VH1). He also worked as an assistant crossing guard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 14, 2003

Christopher Guest doesn't especially like hearing his movies - This Is Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show and, opening Wednesday, A Mighty Wind -- described as mockumentaries.

The 55-year-old multi-hyphenate artist argues that while most of his films are shot in documentary style, they aren't intended to mock anyone or document anything. They're reality-based, not in a network-TV sense, but one that allows the assorted dog shows, heavy metal concerts, community theater productions and folk reunions to serve as backdrops for comic character studies of people obsessed with their work or hobbies. Of course, it's much easier for journalists to label them "mockumentaries" and be done with it.

A Mighty Wind imagines a scenario in which a group of folk musicians - 40 years removed from the genre's heyday - are brought together as part of a tribute to their recently deceased manager and financial mentor. The interpersonal dynamics on display are at once touching and hilarious, especially those leading up to the long-awaited reunion of singing sweethearts Mitch & Mickey (Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara). Baby Boomers will get the biggest kick out of A Mighty Wind, but, typically, the comedy crosses all generational boundaries.

Movie City News interviewed Guest last month in Los Angeles. A separate interview with co-writer, co-star Eugene Levy follows tomorrow.

MCN: Audiences of a certain age are going to have a blast trying to guess which artists inspired the Main Street Singers, Folksmen and Mitch & Mickey.

CHRISTOPHER GUEST: There were a lot of groups like that in those days ... the Back Porch Majority, the Rooftop Singers, the New Christy Minstrels, maybe a half-dozen groups of a dozen or more people, and they made records that almost all sounded the same. There were tons of trios … the Kingston Trio … Peter, Paul & Mary. Then, there were all the duos … Ian & Sylvia, the Farinas.

MCN: You seem to have a personal relationship with the music, though.

CG: This was the kind of music I played myself, in Greenwich Village, when I was living in New York in the '60s. I played at the Bitter End and in Washington Square, so I didn't have to do a lot of research. We picked these three types of groups, because they represented different kinds of folk music.

MCN: What happened to the lone protest singer … Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Phil Ochs?

CG: It probably would have added too much baggage, because the undercurrent of their music was so serious. That's not what the story's about. We use folk music as a backdrop for a story about these characters and how they're trying to get back to that life.

We projected that on top of the main thing, which involves the situation with Mitch & Mickey. It's very emotional, and that emotion is what's at the core of the movie. You couldn't lay a heavy civil-rights thing on top of that.

MCN: Mitch & Mickey reminded me of Ian & Sylvia, and the fabled break-up of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, and how folkies would obsess over their relationships.

CG: There also were Jim & Judy and the Farinas, and on and on. There was always some kind of drama going on around the duos. And, because their songs often were about romance, it only heightened the drama. So, when Eugene and I were writing the story, we put this emotional element at the core of the film.

MCN: There must be something endearing and timeless about the genre. The XM and Sirius satellite radio services even have channels dedicated to folk music.

CG: It's out there. There are young people playing folk music on campuses. Every major city has its own folk scene and folk clubs.

MCN: Within the cultural milieus described in your films, the characters display an almost cult-like obsession with the dog shows, community theater and heavy-metal scenes. It's their world, and almost nothing seems to exists outside of it.

CG: Absolutely.

MCN: But, you're not mocking these people, as some critics seem to think?

CG: No. But I am interested in the notion that people can become so obsessed by their world that they lose sense and awareness of how they appear to other people. They're so earnest about it. But that's true of so many things.

MCN: How do you come up with your ideas?

CG: I don't work with high-concept things that start with a premise, "Wouldn't it be funny if there was this spy who met a ..." For me, it could be, "What about people who sell shoes? That must be a bizarre world ... when they meet at conventions and talk about shoes."

That sort of thing fascinates me. Someone sells urinal cakes on the road. There are these worlds out there and it doesn't matter what it is. They're fascinating.

MCN: The characters are extreme, but also very recognizable.

CG: We populate the stories with people who share certain traits. Invariably, someone will say, "I know that guy." Every world has odd people. After Waiting for Guffman came out, people would come up to me and say, "I know that guy because he was my theater teacher in high school."

But, there are 180,000 people like that out there. It's not about one person. That's human behavior, and it's what I like to watch. I like to sit in the park and watch people.

MCN: I was struck by the smiles on the Bohners (John Michael Higgins and Jane Lynch). They were part of a contemporary New Christy Minstrels-type group, but they could have been part of a cult.

CG: With the Main Street Singers, there's this overlay of "What the hell is going on here? Why are they so happy?" Then, there's their thing about color therapy.

MCN: There's a very fine line between wholesome and creepy. Laurie Bohner, for instance, has no problem admitting that she once starred in porn films.

CG: I've always wondered about those groups, who sing in theme parks. What's really going on there? There's a kind of forced bliss.

So we give you a glimpse of this color religion the Bohners are into. That's the kind of thing we add to the characters.

MCN: Was there much of a learning curve for the actors playing these musicians?

CG: No, they understood immediately. I said, "You know the kind of group where there's this vaguely, almost religious thing … where they're always very up."

Parker Posey's amazing at it. There was a bit more of a back story to her character, but, all we learn about her is that "she was on the street" before joining the Main Street Singers Sometimes, the more you don't say about someone, the better it is.

MCN: I once covered a ventriloquist convention in Las Vegas, and all of your movies remind me of that experience.

CG: I'd kill to do that. I did a little bit of ventriloquism in Best in Show. In fact, I found a journal from my family that went back 200 years, and one of my great, great, great, great ancestors was a ventriloquist, in London in 1802.

It was eerie because I did ventriloquism when I was a kid. I never had any training. The voices just came to me.

MCN: Working with the same group of actors must be helpful.

CG: These are people I trust implicitly. I revere their talents and they're good friends. What could be better than getting to play with your friends, literally.

MCN: I imagine you're able to communicate by shorthand?

CG: They're miles ahead of me. There's not a lot of explaining. Everything's at a pretty high level of communication.

MCN: You have a core of fans that will see anything you make on the first weekend. It takes other people time to discover your movies. There's a delayed response.

CG: With Spinal Tap, we didn't do anything in the theaters, but it's done extremely well over the last 20 years in video. Best in Show has done extremely well in video.

The movies have a way of seeping out there over time. We don't put them in 2,000 theaters. It wouldn't work that way.

MCN: How about the marketing ... posters that remind audiences of your other movies.

CG: It's all up to me. It's simple and to the point.

How else would they know what to look for? There aren't many familiar names.

MCN: Besides collaborating with Eugene Levy on the screenplay, you also put his character through an emotional wringer … sort of a cross between late-Bob Dylan and early-John Denver.

CG: We've been working together for about eight years. We both came up with the same idea for Mitch. Because it played so much against type for Eugene, we both saw it as a challenge ... a stretch.

Interview of Eugene Levy

April 16, 2003

In A Mighty Wind, Eugene Levy's Mitch Cohen is to over-the-hill folk icons what Ozzy Osbourne is to over-the-hill rock gods, which is to say dazed and confused … but strangely lovable.

The role was a departure for Levy, who's made a tidy career for himself in Hollywood playing variations on SCTV news anchor Earl Camembert. The addled musician - half of the legendary singing-sweetheart duo, Mitch & Mickey -- is nothing at all like the Great North American Doofus character he's practically trademarked in such studio productions as American Pie, Bringing Down the House and Father of the Bride. But, that will hardly come as a surprise to fans of Levy's other SCTV stand-bys: Bobby Bittman, Stan Schmenge, Sid Dithers, Bruno the Hunchback and Rockin' Mel Slurrup.

In addition to their work together on A Mighty Wind, Levy and Christopher Guest co-wrote and co-starred in Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show and TV's D.O.A. Both considered Mitch to be something of a "challenge" for the 56-year-old native of Hamilton, Ontario.
Like Guest, though, Levy didn't have to do a lot of research for his assignment in A Mighty Wind. He paid his folk dues as member of the Northern Lights ("Tears Are Not Enough," on the "We Are The World" album) and, later, performed in the original Toronto cast of "Godspell" with
Victor Garber, Martin Short, Gilda Radner, and Andrea Martin. He also composed "God Loves A Terrier" and "Terrier Style" for Best in Show.

MOVIE CITY NEWS: So, how much of a stretch was it to play Mitch, the befuddled folk singer?

EUGENE LEVY: The greatest thing about doing this movie was that Chris and I both were involved in folk music in the '60s. I had a group, but I don't think it was at the same level as Chris, because he's an amazing musician.

The caliber of my musicianship was at the level of kids at school just picking up guitars and getting some gigs. But, doing the research for
A Mighty Wind -- listening to the groups again -- took me right back.

MCN: Mitch & Mickey reminded me of your fellow Canadians, Ian & Sylvia. Anyone else?

EL: Richard and Mimi Farina also had a reputation of being the sweethearts of folk music, more so even than Ian & Sylvia. Richard and Mimi had a softer, more delicate, innocent kind of a sound. But, it's really about any married couple that performs together, and then has to live together ... Sonny & Cher.

I thought this was kind of a charming way for Mitch & Mickey to go. Their music always had a love theme to it.

MCN: The era depicted in A Mighty Wind seems to pre-date the Dylan-goes-electric and angry protest period in folk music.

EL: Yeah, it takes place in the late '50s, early '60s. We had to cheat a little bit. To go back that far, our characters would have to be in their 70s.

So, these groups probably would have had to be popular in the mid-'60s for the timing to be right.

MCN: The Main Street Singers reminded me of groups like the Pozo-Seco Singers, the Rooftop Singers, We Five, the New Christy Minstrels and Highwaymen, who had hits with songs like "Michael (Row the Boat Ashore)," "Green, Green," "You Were on My Mind" and "Guantanamera."

EL: Yeah, by the time you heard the Serendipity Singers do "My roof has a hole in it, and I might drown ..." on the radio, the folk movement was on its way out. Then, it was folk-rock and the Byrds ... I was into folk between about 1963 and 1973.

MCN: I imagined that the musicians who populate A Mighty Wind are some of the same people who booed Bob Dylan for going electric at Newport. The Bohners seemed to be possessed with something almost demonic.

EL: Chris and I spent a lot of time developing the characters and making them work for the story. Our outline alone was 30 pages long.

We tried to take the characters into different sorts of places, and give them a little bit of insanity. We wanted to add a demonic quality to these white-bread characters and their white-bread sounds.

MCN: If they weren't still singing folk songs, the Bohners (John Michael Higgins and Jane Lynch) would be leading a cult somewhere, with their color-based religion.

EL: Michael's character ... both of them, really ... were really very scary. And it was all in the guise of these happy-go-lucky, up-with-people songs.

MCN: Movies, like A Mighty Wind and Best in Show, are lumped under the general heading of "mockumentary." But I don't ever get the feeling that you and Chris are mocking anyone.

EL: That term really bothers Chris. We don't pick a subject to mock or skewer. SCTV was described as a "biting satire" on television, but I saw it more as a character-driven comedy.

The characters were part of the storylines that ran through each show, and then we went outside the studio to the town of Melonville, with Mayor Tommy Shanks, and there would be elections. We created a universe around those characters.

MCN: I still break out in a smile just thinking about the Schmenges and Bobby Bittman.

EL: These movies are all about characters, too ... putting them into a context. A Mighty Wind is like a documentary, because the camera follows the characters around.

It doesn't create a story … you start in one place and end up somewhere else. Our edge isn't razor-sharp or cutting. It's much softer.

MCN: The audience certainly roots for Mitch & Mickey to get back together … in song, at least.

EL: This is a subject Chris and I both loved. We're not putting it up for ridicule.

MCN: The dog owners and trainers of Best in Show might not agree.

EL: There was nothing inherently, bitingly satirical we wanted to do about the world of dog shows and dogs owners. The characters in Best in Show loved their dogs the same way real dog owners love their dogs when they put them in dog shows. We weren't sending anything up there. We were just reflecting something that was real, and we just followed our characters.

MCN: The popularity of your truly reality-based movies seems to define the term "word-of-mouth."

EL: That's one of the reasons they don't release them like they do Bringing Down the House or other commercial comedies that open in 2,000-3,000 theaters. The studios don't think that movies that are a little off-center will play well in Middle America or America, in general. They only think they will appeal to a small core of hip people.

MCN: But everyone I know who's found Best in Show loves it. They can't wait to rent Guffman.

EL: Personally, I think that if they had released Best in Show in 2,800 theaters, it would have done great business ... OK? Without star power, the studios don't know how to market pictures like this.

People might have gone out to see Best in Show just because it was about dogs. If they had, I'm sure they would have been surprised by how it made them laugh.

MCN: It's taken a while, but when people see the name, Eugene Levy, on a billboard or commercial for a movie, they assume it is going to be funny. I suppose American Pie was the movie that did that for you?

EL: I can feel it happening, but maybe it's because I'm doing better work. American Pie was a charming film ...

MCN: Jim's dad could have been played as yet another doofus father. But, he really was a great father.

EL: Yeah, he was. At first, I wasn't anxious to take it on, because the part wasn't written the way it turned out. It was just a kids' movie and kind of out there.

The Weitz brothers asked me how I wanted to change the character. We'd sit down and do some improvisations, and that was the way the scenes turned out, mostly. The Weitz' are really quite brilliant.

MCN: Not many real-life dads would be nearly as willing to help their sons cut through all the anxiety of achieving manhood.

EL: I wanted him to be a well-meaning father. I didn't want him to become one of the boys, or join in the sex deal. I wanted him to be removed and supportive of his son.

When you come down into the kitchen and find your son humping a pie, you just don't take out the belt. It was, 'Well, how do we deal with this. We'll just tell your mom we ate it all."

MCN: Were the Weitz' looking for an Earl Camembert archetype?

EL: They wanted me for this movie because they loved my work, and I think SCTV was a big part of it. For some reason they saw the fit between me and my character long before I did.

They were quite flexible about me reworking the character. They gave me carte blanche.

MCN: That was very smart of them.

EL: I think so, too. The writer, Adam Herz, also went along with the changes, and it became part of the process.

 




Long after even the most celebrated guitarists of this age have been forgotten, their picking hands turned to putrid dust, Nigel Tufnel will be hailed for his manifold contributions to rock and roll. Tufnel's brilliant two-decade plus stint as lead guitarist with England's now-legendary Spinal Tap has earned him an eternal place in the pantheon of rock guitar legends. His pioneering use of such techniques as "hair popping," his virtuosic facial contortions, and his gut-wrenching solos on anthems like (Tonight I'm Gonna) Rock You Tonight have delighted millions and caused thousands of guitarists to set themselves ablaze.
Nigel was in rare form during our all-too-brief conversation, from which the following exclusive, private lesson was culled. Composed, candid and virtually overflowing with phlegm and keen insight, the personable guitarist demonstrated why, as repulsive pretenders come and go, he and Spinal Tap remain magnificent, if malodorous, fixtures in the world of hard rock.

GUITAR WORLD: There are reports that you've devised a Nigel Tufnel Theory of Music. What exactly is this theory?
NIGEL TUFNEL: This is an exclusive — it's not been published before. Here's the theory: People read music, and they read notes on what they call a staff. But if you can't read music, you can't play music that is written. Correct? You're with me on that? Good. Now, everyone knows how to count, don't they? Let me hear you count to five.
GW: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
TUFNEL: Good. Now, A is the first letter of the alphabet. Yes? So A would be...?
GW: 1?
TUFNEL: Yes! So on a chart, instead of writing A in music terms-we're playing in the
 key of A-you go: I for A, 2 for B, 1 for A and 3 for C. See? [Fig. 1] That's so much simpler.
GW: What happens in the case of a chord like G13?
TUFNEL: Okay. This is my other theory:
If you're playing that type of music, you shouldn't be doing it.
GW: Shouldn't be doing the Nigel Tufnel Theory of Music?
TUFNEL: No — you shouldn't be playing
music! Because what good are people who do that jazzy sort of stuff? It's all too low-volume. Have you noticed that? What are they trying to hide? What have they got to be embarrassed about? If you're a good player, you play loud so people can hear it-that's why we plug these things in. If you play an electric guitar — I don't care if it's a Gibson 175 or a Charlie Christian — turn the fuckin' thing up!
 To those people who do that 13th stuff I say, "By the time you count to 13, who cares? The song's over anyway. So let's play some serious rock and roll." It's all very impressive, I suppose, for some musicologists who play jazz and all that — let them have their way. But they must be afraid of something if they're not playing loud.
GW: Getting back to the Nigel Tufnel Theory of Music: where does a B flat fit in?
TUFNEL: I've invented a little symbol to deal with that. You know how it is in music notation-the flat one looks like a little B [b] and the sharp one looks like crosses with a little square in the middle [#]. Well, my system replaces those with different-sized circles. The basis for this is Stonehenge, which is designed around a circular theme. You'd know this if you were ever in a helicopter or plane looking down on Stonehenge. You haven't? [Shakes head with contemptuous wonderment.] Let me show you how this all relates on a piece of  paper: Here's my music chart [Fig. 2]. We'll make it a trite, pornographic ditty and call it Wolf's Song. Now, the chords would be A-A-B-A-Ab.
GW: What if it was A#?
TUFNEL: Aha! Put the circle up here [Fig. 3]. It's easy to read-flats are lower and  sharps are higher. Now, the other thing I'm doing is taking unpleasant folk songs and turning them into things that people can appreciate. For instance, if an exhausted thing like Skip To My Lou is done loudly enough, it's no longer the strict property of social workers specializing in geriatric care. Because old folks will say, "Oh Cor, turn it down! It's too fuckin' loud!" I say, play it loud and it's for everyone — except the old folks.
GW: What new technical tricks have you got up your greasy sleeve these days?
TUFNEL: On the new record, I do some scatting while I play guitar. It's live — I don't know any other way of doing it — and I don't use a talk tube like the old boys do. It's hard to describe the maneuver, but
 let's say you're playing in C [plays Fig. 4]. People think, "What's that noise? Who's doing that?" But it's an illusion — an aural illusion, a sort of parlor trick. It's my voice, you see. It's really just my voice with the guitar.
GW: Do you practice this technique?
TUFNEL: No, there's nothing to practice — it's all improv. You can't practice it; you just wake up and do it.
GW: What about intonation and rhythmic synchronization?
TUFNEL: Well, I suppose you could practice it, but I don't. It just developed naturally — sort of like a rash. If you wake up in the morning and you feel, "Oh hell, this is itching!" You lower your trousers, you look down and you say, "Oh hell, it's a rash, isn't it?!" You don't practice a rash, you just let it evolve and grow and spread. This is really very much like that.
GW: Could you demonstrate the most important elements of the idea?
TUFNEL: Sure. First, we'll show hand, then mouth, then both together. For example, this would be the first note [Photo A] and this would be my mouth's first note [Photo B]. Together they are.. .[Photo C]. See? This is the hand and mouth position for the third note [Photos D and E]. Next, the combination [Photo F]. The tough one, of course, is the high E. The kids probably shouldn't try to do this one without some sort of warmup. I recommend a bowl of hot porridge or a tankard of steaming Ovaltine.

 

GW: How do you incorporate harmonics into your playing?
TUFNEL: I'll demonstrate: Begin by barring across here
 
[Fig. 5 and Photo G]. What you've got is sort of a minor chord [note: D minor — the tonic chord in "the saddest of all keys]. There are easier ways of playing this, no doubt, but that's not the point. The point is that these [2nd and 3rd fingers: see Photo H] set up a sympathetic vibration.
G
W: That's very subtle. The fingers actually vibrate?
TUFNEL: [Nods, smiles condescendingly] The fingers vibrate. Where do you think the sound goes? It doesn't go into a hole and disappear and shout, "Help me, doctor, I'm alone." It emanates from the guitar. So, it goes out here [from the chord] and there's an imperceptible vibration between these two fingers [2nd and 3rd] as it happens. The lower you go down the neck, the more slowly they vibrate. As you go higher [Photo I], they vibrate quite rapidly. And funnily enough, it's an overtone — always an overtone.

 

GW: Any other new developments on the fingerboard front?
TUFNEL: I've got another wonderful trick I do. Let me draw your attention to the screws on the pickup. [Photo J]. You'll notice that these are Phillips screws, but the middle one [Photo K] is a regular screw — a straight screw. Most people have two straight screws made of titanium and a Phillips made of magnesium. Now, if you flip them — as I do — there's a whole different interaction between the pickups, even with single-coils. But these humbucker pickups in particular reverberate in a very different way. It's all about reverberation — that's what all this is about. They must be switched for reverberation. That's for people who are into rewiring their guitars.
GW: Do you modify your guitar in any other way?
TUFNEL: Here's another thing. Most people think that once you're off the frets, you go, "Lordy! I can't go any further than the F!" Wrong. Of course you can go further than the F — if you want it bad enough. And I do, sometimes. But as you go diving down to the nut, it's very easy to hurt your finger. As you can see, I've got festering wounds — see the pus? — here from diving onto the nut one too many times. So I've designed a great, patent-pending device — which has yet to be installed on this guitar — called a Nut Cozy. It's a little knit thing, made of wool, that fits over the nut. I've also designed a Tone Cozy, a similar thing that fits over a control knob. It droops a little bit. Next, of course, will be a Volume Cozy. I've got a little cottage industry going, producing them, and readers will be able to send away for

them soon. My Nut Cozy is great, because if you bash your finger down here [Photo L] it's soft.
GW: Have you ever discovered any valuable techniques by pure chance?
TUFNEL: Sure. A lot of the younger kids tend to play their guitars hung way down on their knees. They play real low because they think it looks sexy or something — God knows what they're doing. Anyway, that sort of thing is impractical for the older player, or the old at heart; there's too much weight on your back. So what I do is, I use a short strap and have the guitar sitting higher. Now this was the accident: One

night I was playing up here [Photo M], and my hair, by mistake, got on the strings [Photo N]. And what I discovered, by accident, is that this contact

triggered an organic overtone. You see, if something like metal touches the string, it's not organic. But if it's part of your body, it's totally organic, and it sets off a very beautiful resonance. All the great players are aware of these things.
GW: Does "hair touching" actually produce a distinctive tone?
TUFNEL: Yeah. You'll hear a lot of hair popping in my solo on Christmas With The Devil. You'll also hear a lick in that solo based on chromatism [chromaticism]. It's beyond anything musical. If you play a scale, it's just a scale — it doesn't link people together. Chromatism does — because it's from chromosomes!
GW: What is your view of the of the guitar's role in music?
TUFNEL: Well, every instrument has its own personality. For example, I love the piano for the depth of its feeling. But the piano is not really an instrument — it's really taking an orchestra, shrinking the people and putting them in a box. The guitar is actually an opera singer with a long neck. If you're not making it sing, you might as well go home.
GW: I'm going home.

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