Friday, November 11, 2011

11.11.11.: Happy Nigel Tufnel Day. It's One Louder

In addition to being Veteran's Day today, 11.11.11 is also Nigel Tufnel Day.

Rock Turtleneck readers know and worship Tufnel as one of the lead guitarists for Spinal Tap, the legendarily loud British rock band chronicled in Marty DiBergi's revealing 1984 documentary This is Spinal Tap.

In a key scene of the film, Tufnel takes DiBergi through his impressive collection of music gear. He is most proud of his stack of customized Marshall amplifiers, whose knobs, rather than going to the standard 10, go one louder, to 11. DiBergi seems flummoxed by the concept, but Tufnel's logic is impossible to dismiss:

"You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You're on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where? Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do? Eleven. Exactly. One louder."

Spinal Tap also included fellow visionary David St. Hubbins on lead guitar and Derek Smalls on bass, plus a seemingly endless procession of doomed drummers. The group enjoyed a brief mid-80s renaissance when their tune "Sex Farm" made the top 10 on the Japanese music charts. They're currently residing in the "Where are they Now?" file. 

For Rock Turtleneck's money, Tap was never better than  in their prog-metal magnum opus "Stonehenge," ("Where the Banshees live/And they do live well"). The legendarily disastrous performance captured here in This is Spinal Tap led to the temporary departure of their longtime manager Ian Faith.

Buy on iTunes:
This is Spinal Tap (film)
This is Spinal Tap (soundtrack)

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