Spinal Tap A to Zed

Derek SmallsSmalls, Derek Albion (b1941): Derek joined Tap in 1967 after the departure of Ronnie Pudding, who had left the group for a solo career. A former member of the all-white Jamaican band Skaface, Smalls was a student at the London School of Design (beginning at age 17) and a member of groups such as Milage and the bar band Teddy Noise, a power duo in which he learned the value of playing loud. Derek grew up in Nilford-on-Null and was not as musically inclined as his bandmates at a young age. His first girlfriend was an exotic dancer named Miriam, and he enjoyed boxing for relaxation. After Tap's 1982 tour of the United States and Tokyo, Smalls found himself trapped in Japan for eight months when even hypnosis could not help him find the hotel where he had left his passport. He made the time pay off by developing a taste for Orientalia, a passion that continues to this day ("if you've ever at his East London Docklands flat, check out his collection of ceremonial robes!" says the 1992 official fan club newsletter). During his stay, Derek says he spent "nights in many hotels with women of many nations. I took to playing bass in the subway stations, but they don't like the bass in Japan. It's too low for them." (RL) Later performed in North England pub circuit in various Tap tribute bands. (GW) Also dabbled writing jingles in Flemish for the Belgian milk board ("If it was any richer-it would be cream!"), although he wrote a similar slogan for the Milk Marketing Board while at the LSD. (LT) Used proceeds to purchase two uncompleted flats on the docks of London after Tap's 1982 tour. In 1988, Derek replaced Geoff Hough in the Christian hard-rock band Lambsblood, whose members included Moke, a former Tap roadie. (HR) Like Nigel, a collector of fine cars, including at one time a Lamborghini (which he lost in a divorce settlement), a Land Rover and a Chevrolet Monza. (TR) A championship caliber Monopoly player and orchid and rose grower (he wrote on the Tap Web page, "It may sound strange for a bloke like me to have a green thumb, but my own personal hybrid, the Big Bottom Rose, was given 'best of row' at the Chelsea Flower Show"), he was portrayed by DiBergi as the mediator of the band during its turbulent 1982 U.S. tour. (TS) He was known for always seeking the "rational explanation" of any situation, and for his sarcastic asides. When Jeanine arrives to join the band in Milwaukee, for instance, he comments to Nigel, "Visitor's Day, isn't it?" Earlier, in Atlanta, when Ian explains that Polymer has delayed release of "Smell the Glove" to experiment with some "new packaging materials," an exasperated Derek comments, "They got monkeys opening it or what?" Besides his affinity with lukewarm water, he also feels a kinship with snakes, keeping several as pets (including a large boa named Clarence). "They are my soul brothers, in a way. There is the slinky quality to them, which I try to apply to my stage persona." Derek made his film debut before the opening credits of Marco Zamboni's "Roma 79" (1976). Derek in 1998 achieved his dream of working with children, landing a job as a "floater" at a primary school in Los Angeles (VH1). He also worked as an assistant crossing guard. See also Biopic; Claypool, Les; Crossing Guard; It’s a Smalls World; Lambsblood; Lesley Gore; Lukewarm Water; Milage; Pipe; Preserved Moose; Satanism; Telephone Sanitizing; Tobacco; We Love You.

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