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Editor's note: This interview was scheduled to appear in the second, never-published issue of Painful Procedure, the official Spinal Tap Fan Club newsletter. It was supplied to the Spinal Tap Fan Site by former fan club president Bonnie Rose.


"More's always better, isn't it? I'm like a vampire. They need blood, and I need volume, don't I?" —Nigel Tufnel

In 1990, Marshall debuted their line of amplifiers that go to 20. Who else could they have on hand for the premier party but Nigel Tufnel? After listening to what 20 sounds like and seeming rather impressed, he signed autographs and posed for pictures with such lesser rock legends such as Dweezil Zappa and Peter Frampton and assorted other flash-in-the-pans. Then he sat down for some stimulating dialogue with some guy in a hat whose name I never bothered to find out.

Are you currently affiliated with any label, or are you guys shopping, or..
I go shopping, yeah.

No, I mean for a record label.
I was talking to Windham Hill for a while, but they seemed to say something about not being right for the label, and I didn't really know quite what they meant...

They're mostly acoustic music.
Oh, is that why?

And of course volume has always been one of your fortes.
That's probably why they sort of nixed it. See, my idea was to do very loud acoustic music. What was happening with all the guitar stuff, with what they call the new age, but to make it loud and exciting rather than ... quiet.

How would you make acoustic guitars any louder?
Play on electric.

Do you envision any music that you will be creating that necessitates even more volume, louder than 20?
Perhaps as loud as 30. And I'll describe to you why. The music that I'm now doing on my own, solo, is purely decibel related. No more "chord patterns," so to speak. All just bursts of noise, which for me, makes it necessary to have 20 or more, you see. I would experiment at home with my amplifier, and not get the results I needed. It was time to go to professionals, being the Marshall company, and they were nice enough to put their scientists to work on it. A lot of people who worked on the bomb actually work for Marshall. It's the same sort of engineering.

Experts on loud... things.
Exactly. Bomb; rock and roll. But there's no mushroom cloud with rock and roll, that's the great thing! No skin things happening years later, I hope. Now that I'm working with the Marshall company, and they've done this great new amp which of course goes up to 20, I've come up with another idea for them, which I hope they can use which is a capo for an amplifier.

How would that work?
It would have to be quite large. Instead of this big [demonstrates with one hand] to wrap around the neck, it would have to be this big [demonstrates with both arms]. Big piece of rubber, big piece of, what would they call it, elastic, holes about this big [indicates about the size of a softball]. Then let's say you're doing a blues shuffle in A. Let's say the singer feels real good, he says "let's do it in B." Time for the capo for the amp. Wrap it round, go up a step.

You'd stay in the same position on the guitar?
Yes. My theory is — although it's not been fully explored — is that the compression created by the pressure on the speaker cones would squeeze it up and up and up. So we're talking about some sort of patent. One chap said it might be ahead of its time. And I said, "Well, what about next week?"

Did you pal around with any of the guitar gods, the Claptons and the Becks and Pages?
Not really, no, no, of course I was familiar, but no, no "palling around" so to speak... [pause] ..."palling around," would indicate actual meeting of these people, yes?

The show that's coming up in London will have all the original members of Spinal Tap. Is that right?
It will be all the original group. We're trying to go through customs with the big devil head, and we're having some problems with that. There's some Satanistic law on the travel books where you can't import a devil's head if it's more than 10 feet high. Rather than cut it down and lose the horns, or the chin, we're trying to get a solicitor. It's considered starting a revolution or something if you bring a devil head in. Look in your passport, it's on the back, "No large devil heads."

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