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Yes Virginia, There Is a Spinal Tap

Dr. Spin answers reader e-mail.

by Dr. Spin
May 20, 2002

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Yes Virginia, There Is a Spinal Tap_Dr. Spin-Dr. Spin answers reader e-mail. Dear Doctor Spin:

What is the raunchiest, most drug-addled, depraved mainstream rock band of all time?

Sincerely, Straight Laces


Dear Straight,

That would be the Osmonds.


Dear Dr. Spin:

Was Mama Cass really that fat?

Yours, Thin Man


Dear Thin Man,

Mama Cass actually weighed only 99 lbs.! But with Michelle Phillips being young, blond and beautiful, Mamas & Papas leader John Phillips realized having two thin, attractive female singers would not distinguish the band enough from the countless other pop groups of the ‘60’s. His solution; make Cass Eliot wear a fat suit!

With extensive make-up and a fat-suit, Cass Eliot soon became “Big Mama” Cass, creating the contrast to the beautiful Michelle Phillips, who was after all John’s wife (after all, he couldn't ask his wife to be the fat one). Mama Cass was always the last to arrive on stage, and the band would use the lame excuse that she was eating a sandwich or something, when in reality Cass was working on her “fat look” -- getting into the suit and applying the make-up.

Ironically, wearing such a heavy suit on such a tiny frame caused Cass to have a heart attack at age 33, a “fat person’s” disease. Such is the price of fame.


Dear Sir,

My parents tell me Spinal Tap exists, but all of my little friends make fun of me for believing in Spinal Tap. They say Spinal Tap is just made up. Is there really a band called "Spinal Tap?"

Sincerely, Virginia Rocks


Dear Virginia,

Your letter touches me with a twinge of sadness; a world without Spinal Tap?? I think not. Have you not seen the brilliant documentary directed by Marty DiBergi? Sure, he may look a little like Rob Reiner, but everybody looks like someone else, and the fact that they are both directors is just a coincidence.

Spinal Tap is what is good about America, where a struggling band from England can change its sound and style several times during an ever-diminishing career. If Spinal Tap were “made up,” would they have two CDs available for sale on cdnow.com? I am tired of all the nay Sayers claiming this band, or that group was made up, and there are no “real” musicians in those bands. Did we not learn the lessons of the Monkees?

No such thing as Spinal Tap? One might as well say there’s no such thing as the Rutles! Yes, Virginia, there is a Spinal Tap, and I for one thank God every day that Spinal Tap exists!


Editor's Note: Dr. Spin's column now appears every other Monday.

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