Spinal Tap Bassist Derek Smalls Returns With All-Star Solo LP - Rolling Stone
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Spinal Tap Bassist Returns With David Crosby, Peter Frampton on Solo LP

Rockumentary legend Harry Shearer recruits Donald Fagen, Taylor Hawkins and more for ‘Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)’

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Derek Smalls (Harry Shearer) from Spinal Tap performing during the 2009 Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Pilton, Somerset.

Anthony Devlin/Getty Images

Harry Shearer, who portrayed bassist Derek Smalls in the 1984 parody-rockumentary This Is Spinal Tap, is releasing his debut solo LP in character. Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing) arrives on April 13th via Twanky Records/BMG. 

David Crosby, Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen, Peter Frampton, Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith, former Yes member Rick Wakeman, Dweezil Zappa, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai will appear on the record with many others. 

Smalls described the project as “halfway between ‘rage against the dying light’ and trying to find the light.” Detailing how he roped in so many high-profile guest artists, the bassist said simply: “Pity fuck.”

Smalls will launch a United States tour, “Lukewarm Water Live: An Adventure in Loud Music,” on April 14th at New Orleans’ Saenger Theater (in collaboration with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra). Full details of the tour have yet to be announced, but the trek will also include dates at Atlanta’s Symphony Hall (with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra) and a special appearance with the National Symphony Orchestra at Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center.

Smalls, singer-guitarist David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean) and lead guitarist Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest) have issued three Spinal Tap LPs: 1984’s This Is Spinal Tap, 1992’s Break Like the Wind and 2009’s Back From the Dead.

Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing) Track List (With Descriptions)

1. “Openture” (featuring 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” (featuring Steve Lukather, Jim Keltner and Chad Smith)
“Whatever might be ailing you, rock ‘n’ roll is the cure. Ask Dr. Derek!”

3. “Butt Call” (featuring Phil X, Taylor Hawkins)
“In one lifetime, the telephone has gone from a miracle to a pain in the arse.”

4. “Smalls Change” (featuring the Hungarian Studio Orchestra, Judith Owen, Danny Kortchmar and Russ Kunkel)
“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(featuring Donald Fagen, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Larry Carlton and the Snarky Puppy Horns)
“An urgent missive to the Honorable Member: continued tumescence, if you please.”

6. “It Don’t Get Old” (featuring Peter Frampton and Waddy Wachtel)
“Life on the road, an endless series of pointless encounters. What could be better?”

7. “Complete Faith” (featuring the Hungarian Studio Orchestra)
“A musical interruption.”

8. “Faith No More” (featuring the Hungarian Studio Orchestra and Todd Sucherman)
“As I get older, I look back more fondly on all the people I’ve known. Except for Ian.”

9. “Gimme Some (More) Money” (featuring Paul Shaffer, Waddy Wachtel and David Crosby)
“Time and technology change everything, except the need for change.”

10. “MRI” (featuring Derek with Dweezil Zappa)
“Everybody’s going to have one, eventually. It’s just another ride. To hell, but still…”

11. “Hell Toupee” (featuring the Hungarian Studio Orchestra
“Think Satan doesn’t have dark thoughts about his appearance as he ages? Think again.”

12. “Gummin the Gash” (featuring Steve Vai, Gregg Bisonnette and Jane Lynch)
“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” (featuring Richard Thompson and Jane Lynch)
“A hymn to womanhood in all her splendor.”

14. “When Men Did Rock” (featuring Michael League, Joe Satriani, Rick Wakeman and the Hungarian Studio Orchestra


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