Spinal Tap A to Zed

Nigel Tufnel on lead guitarTufnel, Nigel (b1944): As he was growing up in Squatney, Nigel took an assortment of odd jobs that included cleaning up gum at Bakerloo Station, marking seconds with the number 2 at Marks and Spencer; and combing out horsehair mats used for slides "cause all these fat, smelly kids had been sittin' on 'em" at Battersea Amusement Park. (MH3) Received first guitar, a nylon-stringed Big Ben, from his father, who paid 10 shillings for it, although the boy had asked for a concert grand piano, a bassoon and a harp before settling for the guitar. (GP) That same year Nigel met David, who also had a Big Ben. Influenced by artists such as Little Elliott, Irish rocker James Brophy, Maine bluesman Jimmy Alfano, and Jimmy the Spot, a Squatney youth who was playing skiffle when Nigel was four or five years old. Jimmy encouraged Nigel to play loud. The young guitarist also had an early interest in women. He recalls his first crush: "I was going to school in Squatney. And on the way home from school, where me mum sent me, I saw this little girl across the street, this tiny little birdie. And I, uh, I took out my, y'know, what you call in America, my wanger." (IST) After the 1982 tour, Nigel was kidnapped and pressed into service with the Swiss Army. Upon returning to England, he retired to his farm, Brinsby, in Kent, before traveling extensively to exotic locales such as Micronesia, Central Africa, Polynesia and some islands near Tasmania, he stopped briefly at the legendary Pei-Pei and Poo-Poo Islands to study native rhythmic traditions. (STR) He also spent time visiting every U.S. state that begins with the letter "I" (TV) and became active in animal rights, organizing Travel for Animals to fight "for the rights of animals to travel and live in other countries" and get them tiny passports. (ME) Shortly before Tap regrouped for its 1992 tour and album, Nigel bought a castle in Scotland under the mistaken belief it would save him money on his taxes (the locals called it "the ruin"). Continues to be a collector of fine guitars and automobiles, and has a great interest in "the legends of English lore-that's sort of my department in the group." (MH3) Among his hobbies is Nerf chess. "No one gets hurt." (RL) Living in Tunbridge Wells in 1992 (QM). Favorite drink: Glenlivet. Favorite food: Fish ("I'm a real fish nut"). Nigel in 1995 became a junior icthyologist at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Southern California (VH1). He recently was promoted to the big tank. "There's more than five different kinds of fishes, I've learned: Big, tiny and medium," he explained. "The big fishes, you put your hand up and say don't hurt me. This is a sign that they know. The medium fish are the ones you've got to worry about because they have a chip on their shoulder. The medium-sized fish will say 'you, come here. I'm gonna bite you? I'm gonna bite you on your bum.' Which happened to me." See also Biopic; Cher; Digital; Dooley, Chic; Flekman, Bobbi; Guitars; Inventing Shed; Jazz Odyssey; Little Elliott; Mandolin; Pettibone, Jeanine; Schiff, Philip; Simmons, Gene; Skiffle; Sleep; Solos; Squatney; Swiss Army; Theory of Music, Nigel Tufnel; Theory of Physics, Nigel Tufnel; Tobacco; Tufnel Family Coat of Arms; Tuna; Violin; Weiss, Leo; Yardbirds

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