• Today has me thinking about the greatest movie about rock and roll ever made and reminiscing just a bit.
Today, 11/11/11, is Nigel Tufnel day and I can think of no better way to pay tribute to it than to write a little about the most Spinal Tappian moment in my life.
I first saw
, I think, at a friend’s house, stoned. I liked it, but truthfully, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Wasn’t rock and roll supposed to be glamorous? Where were all the great looking women, the money, the fame, the excitement? Why was everybody such a screw-up? I saw the movie again maybe a year later, then again a few years after that, and a few more times since. Every time, some new joke, subtle or not so much, would jump out at me but more important, as I got a little older and tried my hand, however haltingly, at rockdom, the movie’s truth became painfully clear: rock and roll makes the greatest promise to youth that could ever be made and rarely keeps it.
This point was driven home when I went on my first, last and only “tour”. I was in a band with my friend
called Germano Warfare, and we had played several gigs around SF. We weren’t exactly a draw, but we did okay and we started to dare to dream just a little. We hired a manager... um, wait, no, a manager appeared on the scene. I can’t remember his name but I think he was brought in by our drummer. The first gigs he got for us were not promising, but then he announced that he had put together a little tour for us of some cool clubs in LA. The year was probably 1987 or ‘88, so the club scene in LA was hot, right? All I remember about that tour was that no one seemed to fully know what was going on, we played early and to empty rooms (see photo) and every dressing room smelled like piss. And we were always a little befuddled. Is that really when we go on? Are you sure this is the club? Do we get a sound check? And that’s what Spinal Tap is about because that’s what rock and roll is mostly about: disappointment somehow made fun yet still disappointing. And so, on Nigel Tufnel Day, I salute everyone out there giving music an honest shot, always trying hard, always dealing with set-backs, always hoping that next time it will be better and never giving up — even though your chances are infinitely close to nil, although not as close to nil as mine!