By Sherrie Li
By Falling James
By Amanda Lewis
By Amy Nicholson
By Amy Nicholson
By Jennifer Swann
By Scott Foundas
By Sherrie Li
”In many ways,“ says David Lander, ”I think the Gap was such a utopian world, it prepared us in no way for real show business.“ At underground KPPC there was no Q-bomb needed; they were on once a day, somewhere around 6 o’clock, for more or less 15 minutes. When their stint there ended in 1971 as part of a mass firing, they took their act to the stage and the recording studio, but ”after the radio it was an uphill fight.“ Their recollections of the final phase of the career suggest that This Is Spinal Tap is a record of firsthand experience. At their second gig, at the Troubadour, ”we learned we would be best advised not to use lavaliere microphones with long thick cords that we could trip over.“ (”It was like a licorice-whip festival,“ nods McKean.) At the Giant Pickle Barrel, a delicatessen-coffeehouse where, McKean remembers, ”to make it look more like a closed deli they turned off all the lights in the storefront,“ their only audience was the opening act. Not that it was all bad; in 1974, the summer of the Watergate finale, they played the Ash Grove for a month. ”It was a great time,“ says McKean. ”The day Nixon resigned, we had a sketch that night that opened with Harry as Nixon sitting on the floor putting trophies in a box and singing, The party‘s over . . .“
They produced occasional specials for KMET-FM, and there was talk of a regular spot, but, says Shearer, the station ”went with a ’hip newscast‘ style, which was basically just stories about rock music and drugs.“ Their relationship with their record company mysteriously soured; they were pelted with oranges. ”It was all boulders and no road after a while.“ And little money. Lander recalls ”people like Jim Brooks coming to see us, people who were producing real [television] shows, and they would come backstage and say, ’I‘d love to use you on our show, but I don’t want to break up the Gap.‘ And it was almost like, ’Fuck you! Break up the fucking Gap.‘“
Beebe, who died of lung cancer last year, left the group in 1975 to return to radio, and a year later, in Shearer’s words, ”the group left the group.“ Bigger if not necessarily better things came along -- Laverne and Shirley. Spinal Tap. Unsatisfactory stints on Saturday Night Live. Those aforementioned credits too numerous to mention. Their reunion this week comes two years after one at HBO‘s Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, where, Shearer says, ”a lot of people who had heard about us and never seen us were in the audience, and it was a gratifying moment.“ At the Museum of Television and Radio, the Gap redux will perform live and play old audio- and videotapes (including a takeoff on Tom Snyder’s show, performed on Tom Snyder‘s show). Questions will be fielded, answers given. Honor ultimately accorded. There will be no oranges.
Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, film info & more!
Find everything you're looking for in your city
Find the best happy hour deals in your city
Get today's exclusive deals at savings of anywhere from 50-90%
Check out the hottest list of places and things to do around your city