Derek Smalls

It’s a Smalls world after all: Spinal Tap bassist Derek goes solo

Derek Smalls, bassist with rock legends Spinal Tap since 1967, returns to action with a new solo album Smalls Change: Meditations on Aging due for release in April.

The album is being released through Pledge Music, who describe it as “a poignant and oftentimes furious contemplation on ageing that explores the passing of time and all things loud. With styles that cross the gamut of musical bases, the album possesses the edgy rawness and Rock God sensibility that was always shared by Derek and his fellow former band members Nigel Tufnel and David St Hubbins and is now all too evident in his solo work.” Smalls himself describes the album as “halfway between ‘rage against the dying of the light’ and trying to find the light.”

Financed by a grant from the recently launched British Fund for Ageing Rockers, Smalls Change will be Smalls’ first new release since Spinal Tap reunited in 2009 for their comeback album Back From The Dead. The album features a plethora of special guests including members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Steely Dan, Foo Fighters and Styx, as well as Peter Frampton, Rick Wakeman, David Crosby and Dweezil Zappa. Smalls also plans to tour in support of the album; the Lukewarm Water Live: An Adventure in Loud Music tour kicks off in New Orleans on 14 April, with more dates to be announced.

Smalls Change is now available to pre-order on Pledge Music, with bundles ranging from a $10 digital download to a $60 signed vinyl LP. Other bizarre merchandise bundles include a “leather” bag of Smalls’ used pipe cleaners, a Shrewsbury FC shirt signed by Derek himself, and a copy of a letter from Smalls’ ex-wife’s attorney. The album’s full track listing is:

1. Openture – Derek with The Hungarian Studio Orchestra
Smalls: “The philosophy of this record, expressed in fewer words than I’ve taken to almost describe it.”

2. Rock ‘n’ Roll Transplant – Derek with Steve Lukather (guitar, Toto), drum legends Jim Keltner (George Harrison) and Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
“Whatever might be ailing you, rock ’n’ roll is the cure. Ask Dr. Derek!”

3. Butt Call – Derek with Phil X (guitar, Bon Jovi) and Taylor Hawkins (drums, Foo Fighters)
“In one lifetime, the telephone has gone from a miracle to a pain in the arse.”

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4. Smalls Change – Derek with The Hungarian Studio Orchestra, Judith Owen (vocals) Danny Kortchmar (guitar, Don Henley) and Russ Kunkel (drums, James Taylor)
“Why Lukewarm Water is no longer bracketed by Fire and Ice. A nod to what’s past, and a wink to what’s next.”

5. Memo To Willie – Derek with Donald Fagen (vocals), Jeff “Skunk” Baxter and Larry Carlton (guitars, Steely Dan), and The Snarky Puppy Horns
“An urgent missive to the Honourable Member: continued tumescence, if you please.”

6. It Don’t Get Old – Derek with Peter Frampton (guitar, vocals) and Waddy Wachtel (guitar, Keith Richards).
“Life on the road, an endless series of pointless encounters. What could be better?”

7. Complete Faith – Derek with The Hungarian Studio Orchestra
“A musical interruption.”

8. Faith No More – Derek with The Hungarian Studio Orchestra and Todd Sucherman (drums, Styx)
“As I get older, I look back more fondly on all the people I’ve known. Except for Ian.”

9. Gimme Some (More) Money – Derek with Paul Shaffer (piano and organ), Waddy Wachtel (guitar) and David Crosby (vocals)
“Time and technology change everything, except the need for change.”

10. MRI – Derek with Dweezil Zappa (guitars)
“Everybody’s going to have one, eventually. It’s just another ride. To hell, but still…”

11. Hell Toupée – Derek with The Hungarian Studio Orchestra
“Think Satan doesn’t have dark thoughts about his appearance as he ages? Think again.”

12. Gummin’ the Gash – Derek with Steve Vai (guitar), Gregg Bisonnette (drums, Ringo Starr) and Jane Lynch (vocals)
“Losing your teeth closes one door, and opens another. A celebration of the meeting of two toothless cavities.”

13. She Puts the Bitch in Obituary – Derek with Richard Thompson (guitar) and Jane Lynch (vocals)
“A hymn to womanhood in all her splendor.”

14. When Men Did Rock – Derek with Michael League (bass), Joe Satriani (guitar), Rick Wakeman (keyboards) and The Hungarian Studio Orchestra