Spinal Tap documentary was a hatchet job, says a furious Derek Smalls

Derek Smalls
Derek Smalls (Image credit: Scott Dudelso - Getty)

Derek Smalls, aka comedian Harry Shearer, has reflected on the filming of hit 1984 documentary This Is Spinal Tap.

The bass legend is this weekend’s special guest on AXS TV (opens in new tab)’s Paul Shaffer Plus One, which will be broadcast on Sunday at 8pm ET – and in a preview clip from the show, Smalls calls the groundbreaking film a “hatchet job,” laying the blame at the feet of director Marty DiBerg for making them look ridiculous.

He points to two scenes in particular – when the lads got lost backstage, and the unfortunate moment Smalls found himself trapped in the translucent pod during their epic performance of Rock ’N’ Roll Creation.

Smalls says: “We never had control of it. I’m going to be scientific about this: 93.97% of the time, we found our way to the stage straightaway. You never saw that in the film!

“Coming out of the pod – I did that at least half the time on the road successfully. What does that say? What does that say to you? He had an agenda!”

Last year, Smalls released his debut solo album Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing) (opens in new tab), with Classic Rock catching up with the bass guru to talk about God, the Tap, politics, drugs, getting old, death and not being dead (opens in new tab).

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent more than 30 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. After initially joining our news desk in the summer of 2014, he moved to the e-commerce team full-time in 2020. He maintains Louder’s buyer’s guides, scouts out the best deals for music fans and reviews headphones, speakers, books and more. He's written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog and has previous written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky. Scott grew up listening to rock and prog, cutting his teeth on bands such as Marillion and Magnum before his focus shifted to alternative and post-punk in the late 80s. His favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Ned's Atomic Dustbin and Drab Majesty, but he also still has a deep love of Rush.