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(Credit: This Is Spinal Tap/ Press)


Watch Spinal Tap play 'Big Bottom' with a group of famous musicians


Very quickly after its original 1984 theatrical release, This Is Spinal Tap became the go-to reference for all things comically overblown about rock music. Any time a band was taking themselves too seriously, or were trying to outlast their expiration date, or got lost backstage at a show, it instantly became a “Spinal Tap-esque” kind of moment. Everyone from Black Sabbath to Van Halen saw themselves in the DNA of the mockumentary, and Spinal Tap were almost instantly considered cult heroes.

With the news of a new Spinal Tap sequel starting production and getting set for a 2024 release, there is no better time to dive back into the hilarious discography of England’s most accident-prone fake/real band. Recall the ancient ancestral call of ‘Stonehedge’, or perhaps indulge yourself in the half-baked hippiedom of ‘(Listen to the) Flower People’. Maybe you’ll want to turn the clocks all the way back to the 1960s for ‘Gimme Some Money’, but if you’re going to start anywhere, make sure to start at the back.

That’s right: ‘Big Bottom’, the bass-heavy ode to derrieres everywhere, remains one of Spinal Tap’s catchiest and most hilarious jams. When Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer have toured and played live in real life as Spinal Tap, ‘Big Bottom’ often served as their live centrepiece. They performed the song with Jarvis Cocker at Glastonbury in 2009, but two years prior, Spinal Tap were in danger of breaking the bass-time continuum for their performance of ‘Big Bottom’ at the 2007 ‘Live Earth’ benefit concert.

That’s because, in addition to its central trio all playing bass guitars, Spinal Tap invited anyone else who was playing at the concert that night to join them on stage to add some more low-end to the performance. Introducing the gaggle of musicians as “every bass player in the known universe”, at least 20 or so musicians appear on stage to give the four string a good old slap.

Just based on who McKean introduces, we know for certain that Nate Mendel of the Foo Fighters, Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch of the Beastie Boys, and Gordon Moakes of Bloc Party are on stage, along with James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, and Robert Trujillo from Metallica. Some recaps of the show go so far as to claim that every bass player in attendance was on stage, with the notable exceptions of Mike Rutherford from Genesis and John Taylor from Duran Duran.

That’s probably not true, as acts like Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kasabian were also performing that night and there doesn’t appear to be any sign of either Flea or… whoever plays bass for Kasabian. Sorry Chris Edwards, but if you were on stage, you were doing a very good job blending in with your fellow bass guitarists. The whole thing is one big, silly, ridiculous good time, so if today is your weekday and/or your velvety cheek day, check out the performance of ‘Big Bottom’ down below.