Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last two months, you know that English heavy metal band Spinal Tap is coming to Ledo’s Tavern on Halloween night (Friday, Oct. 31st). Having been a huge Tap fan since their psychedelic period in the late 1960’s, I was absolutely thrilled to sit down with singer David St. Hubbins and lead guitarist Nigel Tufnel to discuss the upcoming show.


FREE PRESS: So to begin with, Spinal Tap hasn’t toured in at least a decade. Why did you choose to kick this tour off in Columbus?

ST. HUBBINS: Well, we used to have a tendency to confuse Columbus with Cleveland and Springfield, which saddened our Columbus fans tremendously.

TUFNEL: We felt we had a karmic debt, so to speak.

ST. HUBBINS: Exactly. So to square things with the universe, we decided to start the tour in Cleveland.

FP: How did you settle on Ledo’s Tavern as a venue?

ST. HUBBINS: Well, there is a great deal of mystical symbolism in the letter L

TUFNEL: And they had the best insurance.

ST. HUBBINS: Insurance of course, that’s very important. We had many offers from other venues, but some of them had backstage activity policies that were complete non-starters.

TUFNEL: No pets, for instance.

ST. HUBBINS: They also wanted to charge a cover, which is inappropriate. Many of our older fans are actually dead broke these days.

TUFNEL: Also we learned that Nationwide Arena is a front for black market arms smugglers, which wouldn’t play well back in England.

ST. HUBBINS: Americans are much more forgiving of such things, but we have to reconcile all of our audiences.

FP: How did you hook up with Billy Joel and Elton John for the show?

TUFNEL: Well, to begin with they were cheap.

ST. HUBBINS: Very, very cheap. Actually, Billy isn’t on tour with us at all. He lives in Columbus these days. Apparently his ex-wife took all of his money, he’s been living at the American Family Inn on Morse Road for the last several years.

TUFNEL: Since his last tour. He survives by playing in piano bars while people just sit there drunk. He has to talk Worthington divorcees into giving him drinks for free, it’s sad really.

ST. HUBBINS: So we took pity on him. In a way this show is a benefit for him, people can give him tips.

TUFNEL: Right, put bread in his jar.

ST. HUBBINS: So he can catch the next train back to where he lives. Philadelphia I think, or perhaps Allentown.

FP: So who is playing drums for you on this tour? And are there any worries about spontaneous combustion?

TUFNEL: Birmingham Joe, from Southhampton. The Southamptonese have very large families...

ST. HUBBINS: Twenty-five to thirty strapping young lads, typically

TUFNEL: And his parents indicated that they could do without him if necessary. He has a will executed and notarized, it’s all very proper.

ST. HUBBINS: If he combusts, Elton’s drummer is available to sit in. Elton doesn’t seem particularly attached to him.

FP: So how would you compare your music with that of Elton John and Billy Joel?

TUFNEL: Well both of them really write their songs for the working man.

ST. HUBBINS: Right, real lowest common denominator stuff. Sort of derivative of themselves, really.

TUFNEL: And we’re far more mystically involved. Billy could never write a song about the warriors who live on the rings of Saturn, or the hidden astrology signs in the movie Good Will Hunting.

ST. HUBBINS: He’d fall right on his face, he would. It would be an embarrassment.

TUFNEL: I mean, they both have beautiful voices, but we’re more about substance.

FP: Elton John is notoriously temperamental. Have you had any problems?

ST. HUBBINS: Well, he’s just fine unless it’s a Saturday Night.

TUFNEL: Right. On Saturday Nights he’ll punch you right in the face. To him, assaulting people on Saturday nights is totally acceptable. Fortunately this show is on a Friday.

FP: What are your best memories of Columbus from the old days?

TUFNEL: Well, we liked vomiting upon people quite a bit.

ST. HUBBINS: At the South Heidelberg, you could vomit upon whoever you liked.

TUFNEL: And we enjoyed watching football games. The fans were very passionate, like watching Manchester U. at home.

ST. HUBBINS: Although it turned out that one of them was actually being stabbed to death, of course.

TUFNEL: Right, we had a talk with [band manager Ian] Faith about that one. From that point, on we strictly forbade stabbings. It inhibits the creative process.

ST. HUBBINS: We shall never stay at the Hyatt Regency again.

TUFNEL: And we remember a great deal of intoxicated people buying mediocre art in the Short North. Which could go either way.

ST. HUBBINS: A mixed bag, certainly.


The show on October 31st will be performed by Spinal Tap Tribute Band "Shit Sandwich" and The John Turck Trio. The foregoing should be construed as a Tribute Interview, if such a concept exists. The whole thing is on the embarrassing side of phony, really.