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Like some guy who you thought was dead but who sits straight up and scares the hell out of you at a scary movie your girlfriend didn't want to see, the British heavy metal band Spinal Tap has returned, louder than ever, to mark the rerelease of This Is Spinal Tap on video and DVD. Playboy.com recently corresponded with Spinal Tap's mutton-chopped bassist, Derek Smalls, in his first email interview. To preserve his finger strength for the band's private September 5 gig at the House of Blues in Los Angeles, Smalls typed with his nose. You can imagine how long this took.

Playboy: When This Is Spinal Tap was released in 1984, the band labeled it a "hatchet job." Have you since come to terms with DiBergi's portrayal?
Derek Smalls: We've come to terms with the fact that it's the only movie that ever mentioned our name in the title. So, in a sense, by helping the butcher, we're also helping the meat.

Playboy: One of your many drummers died when he choked on vomit, but police suspected it to be someone else's vomit. Has there been any new information?
Smalls: Last we heard, they had conducted DNA tests on it. The only results to get back to us was that, on closer analysis, it may not have been vomit.

Playboy: Metallica caused a stir when it sued Napster and said it had compiled a list of every fan who had downloaded its songs. Does Tap plan to take action against Napster or the dozens of fans who have accidentally downloaded Tap songs?
Smalls: We regard every download of a Tap song as a deliberate act. Only the recording of them is accidental. That's a joke. We'd love to get a copy of Metallica's list, if only for emailing purposes.

Playboy: Tell us about your new song, Back From the Dead. Was the recording session anything like the rambunctious America session that DiBergi filmed for TIST?
Smalls: It was a very harmonious session, actually. Having only 12 hours in the studio may have helped, but so did the presence of Skippy Scuffington, our latest drummer. He has a very calming influence on us, which may be because of the spiritual calm that allows him to take the Tap drummer's seat in the first place. Or maybe it's the drugs.

Playboy: Any hot groupie memories you care to share?
Smalls: This was footage that was almost in Mr. DiBergi's "movie," but he somehow decided to leave it out. There was a gaggle of groupies in some American city, perhaps Chicago, who were ass-casters, or as we would call them, bum-casters. They liked to cast rockers' hind ends in some kind of plaster. I don't know, maybe they liked my ass best (or maybe David and Nige had already fled the arena), but I spent a long post-concert evening sprawled on my stomach with my butt-cheeks encased in very cold plaster. I would imagine those plaster cheeks would fetch a right pretty penny on eBay now!

Playboy: DiBergi's film was interesting because, despite being billed as a behind-the-scenes look at a heavy metal band on tour, there were relatively few scenes that showed drug use or sex. Did he not include the debauchery, or did the presence of the cameras keep you in check?
Smalls: I think his attorneys leaned on him. He was a very prudish sort, anyway, whenever anyone fired up, he'd excuse himself, saying he had "to go wash his underwear." I think that was a euphemism, but I don't know for what.

Playboy: What turns you on?
Smalls: Long walks by the beach. Playing louder than humanly possible. New leather trousers. My turnoffs are short walks by the beach, people who think rock music causes cancer and new leather trousers that are a size too small.

Playboy: Between its infrequent albums, Tap remains quiet, like a volcano on a small island, waiting to erupt and send the natives screaming from their huts for the beach, where they are vaporized by the heat despite the many goat sacrifices they have made to the volcano god. Do you have any messages for the fans who maintain a vigil for each reappearance of Tap?
Smalls: Burn more goats.

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