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Harry Shearer Recording Solo Album as Spın̈al Tap Bassist Derek Smalls


Actor and comedian Harry Shearer is slipping back into his character of Spın̈al Tap bassist Harry Smalls for a new solo album due later this year.

News of the LP, tentatively titled Smalls Change, is tucked into the end of a lengthy (and fascinating) profile piece recently published by GQ, which largely focuses on the legal battle Shearer’s spearheaded to account for decades of allegedly unpaid back royalties. While the case is undoubtedly time-consuming, it isn’t keeping Smalls out of the studio — or from enlisting a number of high-profile friends.

Guests who’ve already recorded contributions for the set include Steely Dan‘s Donald Fagen — who sings the bridge on “a little ditty about erectile dysfunction” titled “Memo to Willie” — as well as Steve Vai and Peter Frampton. Reportedly something of a concept album about the life of an aging rock star, the record also currently includes the song “MRI” and the ode to senior-citizen touring “It Don’t Get Old.”

Although Shearer hasn’t nailed down a release date yet — and his lawsuit against Spın̈al Tap’s corporate parents at Vivendi could complicate the project in all sorts of ways — he’s pressing ahead; according to the article, he’s already mapping out plans for a Derek Smalls tour that would see him performing as an older but presumably no wiser version of the lovably clueless bassist, complete with white muttonchops. If and when Smalls Change makes its way to stores, it’ll mark the first Tap-related LP since the parody band resurfaced with Back From the Dead in 2009.

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