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No Mid-Death Crisis For Spinal Tap!

Stop The Presses!

True, the last time they released an album, Miley Cyrus and at least one Jonas Brother (Nick) weren't even born yet. But while it may be 17 years since they beckoned us to follow their lead and, er, Break Like The Wind, the intrepid mahatmas of metal known as Spinal Tap are, as they say, back in the spandex again. And while their long-awaited new work, due to drop on June 16, does bear the title Back From The Dead, I think it's safe to say that for those of us who believe in the magic of rock 'n' roll, Spinal Tap never really left. Because in our hearts, to paraphrase their classic "Big Bottom"--"How can we leave this behind?"

Once spinal tapped, forever spinal tapped, right?

Hard to believe it's been 25 whole years (and that's longer than any Jonas Brother has been alive) since the "mockumentary" film This Is Spinal Tap first introduced us to the legendary (if only in their own minds) hard rock band fronted by guitarist/singers Nigel Tufnel and David St. Hubbins, the "fire and ice" team ably abetted by their self-described "lukewarm water" middle man, bassist Derek Smalls (respectively--and without their wigs--comic actor/writers Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer).

With the passage of time, though, the Tap does recognize its unique place in music history. As Tufnel recently told Vanity Fair magazine when asked if any contemporary groups reminded him of Spinal Tap: "Mostly, we remind us of ourselves…because no one else will." And for those who want to truly understand where Tap's inspiration originally came from, Smalls has hinted that "A great and unrecognized influence on our sound has been sonar. A lot of our records, if you have the right system, you can hear messages to marine creatures."

Back From The Dead's 19 tracks will include studio recordings of "Hell Hole" and "Big Bottom" (they were played live in This Is Spinal Tap), a reggae version of their very first hit, "(Listen to the) Flower People" and new songs such as "Warmer Than Hell," "Celtic Blues" and "Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare." Guests include Def Leppard's Phil Collen, John Mayer, Steve Vai and keyboardist Keith Emerson. (Some famous drummers reportedly appear, but for obvious reasons, only anonymously.) You can preview the title track at billboard.com, and at the band's spinaltap.com website you can get a free download of "Saucy Jack," from the (as per the film) mythic unfinished St. Hubbins musical about that randy old good-timer, Jack the Ripper.

To top it all off, Spinal Tap will once again take the stage with a special "one-night only world tour" appearance at London's Wembley Arena on June 30. That's, of course, if they can find the stage.

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