Spinal Tappets

From its roots on the gritty, mean streets of Chicago’s western suburbs, to their current status among Rock and Roll’s elite superstars, Spinal Tappets has remained true to their credo: In Hoc Agricola Pharmaceuticas )loosely translated – keep your powder dry). The original six pack of, Stuart Sutcliffe, Peter Greene, Brian Jones, Keith Moon, John Bonham, and Syd Barrett all went on to play with other lesser-known groups and the band has gone through too many incarnations to recount here. Spinal Tappets’ formative period has been well chronicled on the BBC series “All the Dead Rockers,” so we shall not undertake to repeat that chapter here.

No one is quite certain as to how many different musicians have performed for the Tappets, since many of the performers were known to spontaneously combust even before they had a chance to tune their guitars. Estimates run well into triple digits and include Gram Parsons, Bon Scott, Duane Allman, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Freddy Mercury, Lowell George, and Jim Morrison. (It has been rumored for years that Janis Joplin and Mama Cass sang backup on the “Not quite Alive from Monterey Album,” but this has not been officially verified.)

First known as pioneers in baroque Reggae with a skiffle beat, the current members have infused Acid Rock with blued-eyed indy grunge to create their own unique blend of music that defies categorization. It is certainly not difficult to see how Spinal Tappets have risen to the very pinnacle of the Triumph Parody Charts when you review their collective body of work, which spans nearly a fortnight. It has been speculated that the band has spent literally dozens of minutes writing, arranging and recording some of their classic hits.

Now for the first time, Rufus Leaking, the radio host of WLBC’s (108.3 FM/490 AM – Spring Green Wisconsin – We put the Rock in House on the Rock) “All Night Super 70’s Showcase – heard from 1:00 until 4:00 AM Tuesdays and Thursdays (right after the Packer Backer Show, a nightly 3 hour homage to Brett Favre, and just before Oley Hoopwortle’s “Music for Milkin hour’” morning show). Rufus has painstakingly researched and collected all of the recordings and sheet music from the band’s very earliest days right up through the present. (He hoped to interview the founding members for this collection, but scheduling conflicts made this too difficult.)

He was able to sit down with the current band members in the WLBC studio just prior to recording the latest album, and what follows is based on his recollection of that conversation. Here, in their own words, are the songs made (almost) legendary by Screamer (the loud tappet), Wheelman (the fast tappet) Maestro (the quiet tappet), Wrongway (the dancing tappet) Silo (the long tappet) and Stumpy Joe (the horny tappet). 

So sit back, have a cigar, open a bottle of cognac (or PBR) and enjoy the lyrics that made Spring Green famous. 

Bentley Haynes

31 April 2008

Peter "Maestro" Conover - Bass Guitar & Vocals
Mike "Wheelman" Konopka - Guitar & Audio
Mark "Silo" Fisher - Harp, Vocals, & Stratospheric Ambience
Dave "Stumpy Joe" Kayson - Drums
Jim "Screamer" Aldridge - Guitar & Vocals
Dan "Wrongway" Swanson - Keyboards & Vocals
Bob "Suds" Streepy - Lyrics
Mike "Hands" Blonder - Road Crew