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Monday, July 26, 2004


It was twenty years ago today (not exactly, but near enough to warrant the paraphrasing of The Beatles) that "This Is Spinal Tap" was released in theaters. I went to see it with some friends, not knowing exactly what we we're about to see. About two minutes into the film ("the little wagon that ran under the sink, that was mine") I realized it was a joke, but man did they nail it. We were Metal fans (see previous blog) and we instantly got the joke. At the time, it was the funniest film I've ever seen. It is fitting that the recent Chris Guest directed mockumentaries (Waiting For Guffman, Best In Show, and A Mighty Wind) round out my list of funniest ever films. I love the improv oriented ethic that Chris Guest employs. Of course it wouldn't work without the team he assembles to portray these slice of life characters; Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, and of course Michael McKean, among many talented others. It makes me happy to see the guys from Spinal Tap make good. Mr. McKean is currently starring as Edna in Hairspray, a gutsy move considering Harvey's formidable footwear, and Harry Shearer, when not working with Chris and Michael, can be found giving voice to a number of the inhabitants of Springfeild, the home of Homer Simpson. Rob Reiner, who directed Spinal Tap, went on to do some good work (Princess Bride) and some not so good work (North), we haven't heard much from him lately, maybe he should give Chris a call.

The release of "This is Spinal Tap" had the same effect that a correction period has on the stock market. It was a timely moment in the decade long rise of what people refer to these days as metal. Looking back, I can see what the cause was for the genre's decline into self parody and unfortunately it's ages old: booze and drugs. The brilliant records you mentioned in your earlier post were on a higher plane of intelligence, sexually, creativity, etc... When our favorites got too big and into drugs their music suffered dramatically. UFO is a classic example. I'm envious of you becuase you were over in Germany and getting to hear the best of UFO while they were still actually a band. We saw them in 1977, but by the time the were back in the states opening for Ozzy, they had desintigrated and they were awful. Their records became worth one or two songs vs. beginning to end inspirational (i.e. Force It vs. Mechanics). I do miss those bands and still very much play the early albums in heavy rotation. Been digging them out a lot lately. I think the one of the biggest challenges for these guys assuming they somehow steered around the drug issues is that hard rock/HM is a young man's game. Not saying older guys can't rock as hard, but it is truly tough for metal band to mature with their audience. Metallica has been struggling for the last five years now. I, for one, like thier more mature efforts (more melody).

BTW... What's the difference between regular golf and miniature golf?
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