“MRI”, the new video from Derek Smalls, the bass force formerly of the fabled heavy metal band formerly known as SPINAL TAP, can be seen below. The song is taken from his first full-length solo venture, “Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)”, which was released on April 13 via Twanky Records/BMG on digital, CD and vinyl.
“Smalls Change” is a poignant and oftentimes furious contemplation on aging that explores the passing of time and all things loud. With styles that cross the gamut of musical genres, the album possesses the edgy rawness and rock god sensibility that was always shared by Derek and his fellow former bandmembers Nigel Tufnel and David St. Hubbins. The album also features some of the greatest talents of rock and roll music and beyond, including Peter Frampton, Donald Fagen, Dweezil Zappa, Rick Wakeman, Richard Thompson, Steve Lukather, Joe Satriani, Waddy Wachtel, Michael League, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Paul Shaffer, Steve Vai, Larry Carlton, Judith Owen, Jane Lynch and The Hungarian Studio Orchestra. “Smalls Change” is produced by CJ Vanston (SPINAL TAP, RODNEY CROWELL).
Derek told United Rock Nations that it took him so long to record a solo album because he “kept thinking that SPINAL TAP was going to un-dissolve. We don’t break up, but we do dissolve a lot, much like a fast-acting pain tablet,” he said. “After 2009, we played Glastonbury festival outside London and Wembley Arena in London, and I thought, ‘Right, here we go,’ and I waited for the phone to ring. It didn’t ring, so naturally, the first thing I did was call the telephone company and go, ‘Is there a problem?’ They said no, and I realized, no, it was the band dissolving again. I did a few other things, and I ended up in Albania hanging with a friend, Eddie Drake, who has a near-death metal band called CHAINSAW VERMIN. I would sit in with them every once in a while, and I thought, ‘This is not the way it’s going to end, being a sit-in bass player [with] CHAINSAW VERMIN.’ I saw this advert from a U.K. outfit called the British Fund For Aging Rockers, and they’re giving grants. Apparently, this is the money left over from austerity. I applied for it, and that’s how this record came to be made. I didn’t want to wait any longer.”
Regarding the album’s material, Derek said: “They’re all new songs. I wrote one with [SPINAL TAP vocalist] David St. Hubbins when we thought we were going to do a SPINAL TAP tour. That’s called ‘It Don’t Get Old’. The others were all written specifically for this record, because when the Fund For Aging Rockers was interviewing me, they said, ‘Well, what’s your idea?’ I said, ‘My idea is that you give me money and I make a record.’ They said, ‘No, no, no — what’s your idea, idea?’ — they said it twice, as if that meant something — and I thought, ‘They say write about what you know. What do I know about? I know I’m getting older.’ So that became the theme of the record. They said, ‘Well, don’t you think you’re narrowing your target audience a bit doing that?’ I said, ‘There are only two types of people in the world — people who are getting older, and dead people. So we’re aiming at the active part of the market.”
“Smalls Change” track listing:
01. Openture – Derek with The Hungarian Studio Orchestra
02. Rock ‘N’ Roll Transplant – Derek with Steve Lukather (guitar, TOTO), drum legends Jim Keltner (George Harrison) and Chad Smith (RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS)
03. Butt Call – Derek with Phil X (guitar, BON JOVI) and Taylor Hawkins (drums, FOO FIGHTERS)
04. Smalls Change – Derek with The Hungarian Studio Orchestra, Judith Owen (vocals) Danny Kortchmar (guitar, Don Henley) and Russ Kunkel (drums, James Taylor)
05. Memo To Willie – Derek with Donald Fagen (vocals), Jeff “Skunk” Baxter and Larry Carlton (guitars, STEELY DAN) and The Snarky Puppy Horns
06. It Don’t Get Old – Derek with Peter Frampton (guitar, vocals) and Waddy Wachtel (guitar Keith Richards).
07. Complete Faith – Derek with The Hungarian Studio Orchestra
08. Faith No More – Derek with The Hungarian Studio Orchestra and Todd Sucherman (drums, STYX)
09. Gimme Some (More) Money – Derek with Paul Shaffer (piano and organ), Waddy Wachtel (guitar) and David Crosby (vocals)
10. MRI – Derek with Dweezil Zappa (guitars)
11. Hell Toupee – Derek with The Hungarian Studio Orchestra
12. Gummin the Gash – Derek with Steve Vai (guitar), Gregg Bisonnette (drums, Ringo Starr) and Jane Lynch (vocals)
13. She Puts The Bitch In Obituary – Derek with Richard Thompson (guitar) and Jane Lynch (vocals)
14. When Men Did Rock – Derek with Michael League (bass), Joe Satriani (guitar), Rick Wakeman (keyboards) and The Hungarian Studio Orchestra
Photo credit: Rob Shanahan
SPINAL TAP Bassist DEREK SMALLS: 'MRI' Video
SPINAL TAP Bassist DEREK SMALLS: 'MRI' Video