Twenty five years ago, four young men put their cheeky on, and mocked the world of rock. Rob Reiner, Christopher Guest, Mike McKean and Harry Shearer created a satire for a generation. This Is Spinal Tap is a sensation and enjoys a cult following.
As a volunteer driver for the Newport Film Festival,I have had the privilege of meeting some interesting film folks. In the summer of 2005, I was assigned to drive Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer for two days, TWO DAYS! I was already a huge fan of Guest's films. The guys were in town to support McKean as the man of the year for the festival. He and his charming wife, Annette O'Toole were in town all week hosting a retrospective of films make by the group. McKean is funny, charming, generous, hansom and thoughtful. The guys were performing in the afternoon at the Newport Blues Cafe. I was to take them to their sound check, an awards ceremony, dinner, a Q&A for This is Spinal Tap and the closing night party. The more reserved of the three, Guest was polite and patient with all the hubbub. A quiet, smart, charming man (Jamie Lee is a lucky woman). On Sunday, I got a call saying that Guest wanted me to show him Newport. He wanted to do a little sight seeing and pick up a few gifts for his family. We spent the afternoon wandering the docks, boat yards and shops of Newport. We chatted, kids, travel, fishing, never a mention of his films. He made fun of crazy shoes in a trendy shop. I had to walk outside because I was laughing so hard at his comments. I encouraged him to buy a funky pair for his daughter, I hope she liked them. Though all three men are very talented actors, writers, comics and musicians, they are very unassuming, yet hilarious when they are all together. In a local Cold Stone, McKean pulled out his Lenny Kosnowski voice for a startled clerk who was dealing with a difficult customer. Disarming the situation with comedy - priceless. In a Q&A after the set at the Blues Cafe, the boys said they were over the makeup and wigs from their Spinal Tap days. Somehow, someone prevailed, and they have taken on a revamped version for Vanity Fair and charity. UPDATE: Schedule for the Unwigged & Unplugged tour has been announced!
I feel fortunate to have met these talented men and am so appreciative of the performances they have brought to the stage and screen. Very cool stuff, and a very special encounter for me. Happy anniversary to This Is Spinal Tap! Thanks guys!