Spinal Tap A to Zed

Rolling, rolling, rollingSubstance Abuse: There is noticeable absence of substance abuse in "This is Spinal Tap." Marty DiBergi would later explain that he felt the occasional naked groupie or sniff of cocaine would have distracted from what makes Tap special-its music. Derek: "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." (PB) There are a few references to drug use in the documentary, notably by or near Viv and Mick, although one unconfirmed report has it that Derek and Mick caught the tour bus on fire while freebasing on the drive to Chicago. DiBergi did not show any band members partaking, but they are shown smoking dope with driver Tommy Pishedda during outtakes. Tap had been dogged by questions about drug use and abuse as early as 1967, when at a press conference upon their arrival in America to promote their first hit, "(Listen to the) Flower People," Derek argued that cigarettes and even water could be considered drugs. Nigel added: "You get up in the morning and put water on your face and that's the strongest drug of all. It wakes you up, doesn't it?" (DV) DiBergi has said that because Tap had been together 15 years at the time the documentary was filmed, they had gotten the drug and alcohol use that is so common in the world of rock 'n roll out of their systems. Nigel, however, would later confess to a reporter that he struggled with the sauce. "The longest binge I went on was six weeks. There were some days where I didn't drink anything more than gin. But it's not like it was 'Lost Weekend.' There were days when I woke up and ate solid food." (BG) Former manager Ian Faith would mimic Nigel in many ways in 1990 when he faked a three-week binge of alcohol and drugs before staging his own overdose death by sticking a syringe in his arm (without pushing the plunger) and taking "this Japanese blowfish stuff" that made him appear lifeless. (SPY) Years later, Nigel explained how things had changed. "It's different sex now, it's different drugs and it's different rock n' roll. The drug would be… Advil. The sex would be self-administered." (VH1) David: "I tried to stay with nature. The psychedelics, the mushrooms." Nigel: "I was even more organic. I used to take Bovril." (QM)

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