Boston music news, November 23, 2007

Notes on Berklee's Spinal Tap event with Christopher Guest
By JIM SULLIVAN  |  November 19, 2007

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Christopher Guest as Nigel Tufnel

Sting has an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music. David Bowie has one. And on November 30, the name of Christopher Guest, the actor/musician/director perhaps best known as guitarist Nigel Tufnel from This Is Spinal Tap, will be added to the list. Has Berklee gone just a wee bit too far? Not according to Berklee president Roger Brown. “If you talk to any musician in contemporary music, Christopher Guest is probably one of the musicians they admire most.” Credit his dead-on impersonation of a hapless British rocker in Spinal Tap — the best parody is just one degree removed from reality, and that’s something Spinal Tap, as both an idea and a real touring band, have achieved. On the night Guest gets his degree from Brown at the Berklee Performance Center, he’ll also join about 50 Berklee students and faculty in rock, swing, and Latin renditions of his songs. Don’t be shocked if members of Boston rock’s aristocracy and/or some of Guest’s collaborators show up. And though producer Larry Monroe is still assembling the program, don’t be stunned if Spinal Tap’s record of five bassists playing the classic “Big Bottom” is finally broken. Brown says that Guest has “used the soul and spirit of music for the fodder of a lot of his humor.” He quotes the “Big Bottom” line “I met her on Sunday/’Twas my lucky bun day,” praising its “juxtaposition of stupidity and cleverness. It’s dry, but there’s so much truth in there.” And he adds, “We have a sense of humor. You have to have a sense of humor if you’re going to spend your life in the music industry.”

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