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SPINAL TAP drummer RIC PARNELL dead at 70

03-05-2022

Ric Parnell, who played Mick Shrimpton, the drummer of SPINAL TAP in the mockumentary “This Is Spinal Tap”, has died at the age of 70. Parnell was also a onetime member of ATOMIC ROOSTER, a 1970s British hard rock/progressive rock band which was led by extraordinary keyboardist Vincent Crane.

Ric played drums on solo albums for RADIO BIRDMAN‘s Deniz Tek, who paid tribute to his friend in a social media post on Sunday (May 1). He wrote: “Ric Parnell died early this morning.

“From day one, meeting him, I found him to be engaging, warm, and delightfully funny. We hit it off as pals immediately. He had a cheerful spirit that made you feel good, just being around him.

Ric’s amazing history in the music world is well known. I had the great good fortune to work with Ric on three albums. Studio time was casual, fun, and scattered with stories and humor. Ric never actually prepared for a session, but would come up with the beat and the arrangement on the spot. He would say ‘How does this next song go?’ I’d play it to him on a guitar, and he’d think about it for a minute. Then he would say ‘Right! Got something.’ Then he would nail it in one or two takes, and it was as perfect as it gets.

Ric was one of a kind. He lives on in his music, and in our hearts.”

Parnell big break came in 1984 when he played the role of Mick Shrimpton in “This Is Spinal Tap”. His character was one of a long line of unfortunate drummers who all perish from freak accidents, his own fate being spontaneous combustion.

In a 2007 interview with Missoulian, he said about how he landed the role: “The first question they asked was, ‘What do you think about a movie that’s going to tear your career apart?’ I said, ‘You should have made this movie about 10 years ago.’ They then asked me what other bands I’d been in, and I said, ‘Well, I was in a band called ATOMIC ROOSTER.’ They looked at each other and said, ‘Yep, that’s it, you’re our man.'”

According to WikipediaParnell remained with SPINAL TAP when it became a working band, recording a soundtrack album and promoting the film with live shows and a 1984 appearance on “Saturday Night Live”. The character of Mick Shrimpton having died in “This Is Spinal Tap”Parnell assumed the role of his “twin brother” drummer Ric Shrimpton for the group’s appearances subsequent to the film. This continued through the band’s 1992 reunion album “Break Like The Wind” and the associated concert tour. Parnell was not a part of more recent SPINAL TAP activity.

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