9 Spinal Tap Moments That Really Happened

February 16, 2017

The acclaimed rock n' roll mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap became everyone's favorite comedy in 1984. Following the lives of the members of Spinal Tap, fictional British rockers that have everything in the world, except a clue.

But if you're familiar with the term "truth is stranger than fiction," then surely you can accept that a lot of the over-the-top, cartoonish craziness we can fantasize about in a rockstar lifestyle most likely happened.

In fact, here are nine Spinal Tap moments that actually happened in real-life!

1. Getting Lost Backstage

Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 told NME that he and his bandmates would often find trouble finding the stage at venues, and then getting on stage late. “We’ve got lost around venues trying in vain for ten minutes to find the stage. Several times.”

2. Getting Trapped Inside A Stage Prop

Back in 1997, U2 planned on opening their encore by emerging from inside a giant lemon. Sure enough it didn't immediately open, starting their performance on a sour note.

3. Ordering a Tiny Prop

We all know about the iconic "Stonehenge" scene from the film. Well that scene was inspired by a Black Sabbath snafu in which the band ordered a replica of Stonehenge to be 15 meters instead of 15 feet. As a result, the prop was too big to be able to fit into any of the venues.

4. Changing An Album Cover

Although it's never actually seen in the film, Bobbi Flekman described the original album cover to Spinal Tap's Smell The Glove as "a greased, naked woman on all fours with a dog collar around her neck and a leash, and a man's arm extended out holding on to the leash and push a black glove in her face to sniff it."

The Strokes were faced with a similar situation and album cover in which their initial album cover featured a gloved hand against a female woman's bottom, which was deemed a little too risqué for American audiences at the time.

Instead they had to settle for blue swirlies against a yellow background.


5. Having an All-Black Album Cover

The original album artwork to Spinal Tap's Smell The Glove may have been vetoed in place for a pure-black cover, but they wouldn't be the first. Metallica would release Metallica (aka "The Black Album") in 1991.

6. Shortest Review Ever

Spinal Tap's album Shark Sandwish was described as a "s**t sandwish." In a similar fashion, Def Leppard's Yeah! was reviewed simply as "Nah!" by NME in 2006.

7. Insane Rider Requests

Although we can't imagine anybody in real-life would throw a temper tantrum over tiny bread, one time Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses once had a roadie be sent to another country to fetch him his yellow jacket or else he wouldn't go onstage.

8. The Drummer's Curse

Sure, Spinal Tap's original drummer dying in a "bizarre gardening accident" was funny in the film. But Toto drummer Jeff Porcaro was actually involved in a gardening-related accident in which he inhaled insecticide, thereby dying of a heart attack afterwards. 

9. "These Go To 11."

Probably the most famous line in the film, amp companies were quick to jump on the fad and actor Christopher Guest (aka "Nigel Tufnell" in the film) said, "This has been ripped off big-time. Almost every amp company now sells knobs that go up to 11."

​(source: NME)