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tv   Tavis Smiley  PBS  July 24, 2009 12:30am-1:00am EDT

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tavis: good eving from los anles, i'm tavis smiley. tonight a look at the 25t anniversary of the cassic rock mockumentary "this is spinal tap." th original members christophe guest, hay shear, and michael mckean. lar this yer m.g.m is releasing a spcial 25th anniveary d.v.d whichwill feature new matrial. the tro iskickingoff a tour glad you've oined u for a about th u.s. auto industry and edi falco, cong up right
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now. >> there are so man things wal-mart islooking forwardto heping us doing, like elping yolive better. withour help the best isyet to cme. >> nationwide insurance prouly supports tavis sley. tavisnd nationwide isurance, working t improve inancial literacy ad the economi empoweent that comes with it. >>♪ nationwide is on your side ♪ >> and by contributions to your viewers like you. thanyou. tavis: they're king me laugh ready. ok. he we o. "this is spinatap." christopheguest, harry shrer and michael ckean are
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the talented rio behind the claic rock 'n' roll mockumentary. on the occasi of th 2 ath anniverry re-release of their film they are bout to embak on a tour, i lo thistitle, "the unwied and nplugged tour." i lov that. >> s, sir. avis: the tourkicks off april 17 i vancouver. bere we get to tht, a scene from "this is spinalap," follow by a rather unorthodox press conferenceor the tour held recent here in los anles. held recent here in los anles. ♪ ♪ walk swiftly
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♪ i'm losing ground♪ ♪ livi in a hell hole ♪ ♪ don'twant to stay in this hellole ♪ ♪ d't want to die n this hell hole ♪ ♪ god getme out o this hell hole ♪ avis: christopher, harry, michael, glad to hav you all here. >> we have o point out when you come t see u, you ll hear all three guilt arsnot just theone. >> there wasa und problem. tavis: if you hadn't gven that away, nobody wuld have known. >> we would.
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do you misst? or doyou every night still put your spandex? >> no. i ream about t at night though. >> you know that dam when you wakeup and you're sill in high scol? i wake up an i'm still in spandex. >> and do youget the same ññ reaction you did in hig hool? >> which iwhat? >> well, i am always aked in the dream. prefer the spendex. tas: how did tis happen, fo those who werekids ordon't remember thback storey to it, givee the ack storeto "this is spinal tap. >> chris and mie and i were all involved with rob einer in a television pilo in 1979 called "the tv show" ad one o president pieces onit included this made-up band. michael sti has the piece of paper with all the possible names f the band. the one we ended up with was
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spinal tap. weid asong. anif youremember inthose days, they had midnight spcial and wofman jack and we did a little pto video in that. th after they di that, we thought maybe thre's more to this. chris ra >> pipe down now. don't eed you ow. tavis: wal away. >> i'm used to that. tavis: how di it get to be spinal tap? >> i think michael knowthe answer to at. i'm going tout to the chase. it sounde like the most painful posble experience imaginable and we thght that sums up this bnd's approac to sic. tas: that's all i wantedas an answer. i started with you and endd with up. coulhave just stayed with you. now, christopr, i'm going to ask you a question andou are going to give me a -- an answer, ir.
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>> i'll 2r50eu9 tavis: when this came ot, there wer a lotof peoplwho didn't think this was fake. >> whodidn'tthink it was fake in tavis: they ought it was a real dcumentary. >> well, s did we. imagine that as a rude awakening. it an odd thig. very scizophrenic. michaeand i started writing music togher in 1967 andwe'd play in a bunch of bads, done a tour and fomed this group t make this mvie, went out on the roadand when you're playing as these gu you look ut in the audience and you don't know really wat people are thking because 're playinmusic as opposed to actually the groups gng out now that aen't. but tat's a hole other th's a different show. so it' an odd thig. it's always beenan odd tng because we ceated this band whh thenbecame a real band wee done several tureds -- tours. why ai doing that? >> i don't kw. >> because life islike a
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inese box. but to follo up on that, t save chs, i think when we did li sho as spinal tap i think te bes show from my standpoint was wahing the audience, the show we s. because so would be getting the joke, reciting all the words with us serious fans bringing cucumbers or oter things ty thought wre funny toonjure up things n the fi and others who wer clearly there ju because we were the loud band in town tavis: iheard quote from eddie van halen who sai when he saw the movie it wast s funnto him because it rrored his life. >> teve tyler says the same. guess theve had the same life. tavis: it's th25th anniversa and there i so much being ade of this a lot of folk getting to see it who were kds then, din't see it then.
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tell me howhe story line develops, what yoguys are going to do in the film. >> oh, whatwe're going to do in the filmor what we'e done? tavis:hat you did then. >> we put up a big map of the unitedtates and said wha stri of disasters can lea them from one coast to the other? >> just ba up, it's a airly medire british bandwhich has managedto hang o and this is their american touwhich is sort of make or break and a big fan f the band decides to ma a film to help them along ad he realljust documents their immediaticon riment tas: and whatever hapened to the drummer snrkshe poor drummer in >> the guys on't fare well. but were happy to sa that our origal drummer frm the movie is still reportedly on thplanet. >> ale and kicking. >> well, not kicking the
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>> alie though. tavis:hat do you make of te fact tha sag youguys toiled with and quite frankly toold with for years, doesn't jst get madeand do ell but becomes a cult class. not everybodyin thistown gets chance to be connecte to something that becomes a cult clasc. >> well,t's in the freang smithsonian, if ican pronoun it correctly. when we weretrying to sell it to hollywood proucers, whoall just ooked at us blankly, they said "rok 'n' roll movs never ma money,"and they were rightwe didnt. but we were onvinced this was story. we weren't makng anthing up almost everything i this is drawn from r experien with bands or being aound peoplen bands. everybody knowswhat rock 'n' roll bds are lke and maybe what their glfriends are like if they're let loose and we,i
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know i feltthat if we just got a cnce at an audience i could ha some impact. >> wait. liens invade mas? >> good, isn it? >> we'd be the alins. >> no, they'd be uranus. he got hung u on that. >> butids third genration o are coming anddigging the movie. >> what was the question? i lo track. [laughte tavis: i have another one fo you. i guess the sense, met yu the fit time as a group, but i get the sensethat as funy as this as, thatyou guys took the music part of it seriously. am i right about that? >> think you're right. take the musicseriously because f the music sn't good and the song aren't well craftedhen the whole hing falls apa. e idea was notto play music badlyr write bad sons. it was to te songs a perhaps craft tm so that the
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lyrics were pretensio -- pren tentio -- prtensionous on thesolos were ver the tpe and nd of cheesy. the -- that's a challenge. and the song remain still popular to some extentbecause they work. tavis: wile we're eing seris for half a second doctor i promis i wo't do this more tn a minute -- >> i thought we wre done. tavis: see what i mean? you joked about the fact hat you couldn't ste -- sell is it to stdios, they said rock 'n' ro movies don't make mone obvisly it did ok bt -- >> no, ididn't. not at first. tavis: what's, as an artst though, as actrs, music artts, help me understand w you make a decision, what the ocess is for you to do someing to go forward with something when evebody tells you n't do this, everybody
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says i isn't going to work or you're wasting your tim. there is somthing about tis oject you're corrected -- nnected could -- to thatyou want to get this thing doe? >> t that point thereis a seous answer. four of u made this movie, rob reinernd the three of us and there were points pri to it bein released thatif it hadn't been fo people suppting each other, because three of us at any one time said you know what? i've had enoughof it, peple would not ly say these movies don't make money, they'd say i don know what youre talking about, i don't gett. ther is no scrn play. but i would ay it was very close to being sheffield. -- shelved. rob at one pot i gus yelled at someone and he guy ju ok, i ess. >>he first studio we wre affiliated with went out of
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business. >> and the studio that finally did lease it went t of busiss so there say curse. ue story. chris' point is wel taken. i think the four of you served as a mtual support nuclear- network to keep te fire lit because to get any movie made you have to bankyour enthiasm and wait for the guy to sayyes, then all of a suen you have the same enthusia you had at the beginning and it's hard f an dividual to do that. tavis: i like that idea. you have to bankyour ow enusiasm sometimes until they gi you permission to th crau- withdraw it. that's amazing. wh do you think for all the hell you hd to edure to gt this thi out not why, what do you think made the fans connect to it? when you inally go it ut, what made it work? >>some of t was familia it was close enough to the
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reality of being a fan hat had a pet band tat never really made it. thatight have something todo with it. and tried to design the jokes with a little shelf life so we woldn't necessarily be l done laghing at tem by 18, ar 1984 or 184. that uld have been hell of a mily. >> within of the thngs i realized recentl aboutit is we had so littleoney to make theovie that we couldn'tfill thscreen with objects that say this iwhen this is happing, like if you had a big buet, here's a phone, car, tv's. so ou see vey few objects that place the ovie i time and so yo loo at the ovie now and it is d can look con temporary as opposed to a museum pce. tavis:and i'm just curous, at the en of eery sow we tae i
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always ask offcamera,the best piece of advice they'vever reived. i figure ii'm going to et access to ll these brilliant minds that comthrough the show, i should ge advice. i collect that and filehem away. we'll do that whn you guys get done. but where thisproject is concerne speaking ofadvice, what d each of you take fr this experiencof having done this that you have called upon agn doctor again over the course of yo career? what did you take out f his? >> i wod say that looking back on the expeence we had primarily for me because itwas improvised, i thought d felt, i remember writing don befor the lm came out wht i thought of the fil so there had been no criics thatad written about it, no e had seen it and i wrte do on a piece o paperwhat thout. i thought thiss going to be a pure situation as opposed to after it coming out and if it was accla saying this is wonderful.
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but i thinkhat i took from it is when i started to dirt moviesi took the experience of the fun we d doing it, working with peoplei respected and like a lot, and i thought well, why wouln't i want to do that gain? when i made "awating for guffn" and "best in sho," i thought of my frien and how nny they were nd i thought i shou continue that because whwouldn't you want to do that in tavis: wow. harry? >> oing back to what we were just talking about, he necessi of sort of valuing your o stubbornness. if you think something's wrth ing don't get swayed just because four mllion people say are you kid tg? keep at . >> 10 million. >> right and ring the tavis: mike? >> those are both really good answers. i would have to say i -- it
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reinforced what i' always felt that un -- stuf i funniest whn it's losest to reality. ople muck -- mugging up a storm, you have to be retty great to get awayith that. but if tere is identifiation with the person and 's played li it's real, it'salways more movng to me. tavis: so the sx-week, 0-city tour- >> yeah. >> tavis: you guys ain't as young as you used to be the >> that's wh we're not wearing spandex. >> we're wearing no-x of an kind. vis: i'm anxious to see this my -- mylf because you guys are paying out of character. you're playing sinal tap music but not playi the characters. >> we're also playing foksmen sic, some of my sogs from "might ind," sowe're basically coming on the wy we are here tonight s ouselves why -- inour own clthes with
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our own hair, what's left o it. tavis: but are you in yur own skin? >> that is a good qestion. when we di a prss onference recent somebody called and said what are you going ar? becauswe normally wear costumes and stran head pierces and this is u we did a few prformances where it was fun to just playing acoustic guitars, you could actually hear the music, yo weret bombing peole out an this is music we've witten over the last 30 ars and it lt fun. but who are we? that is a good questi. tavis: it els fun forou ys. will t fan base connect to it? >>well, we' know in ix weeks. [laughter] >> wll be finding out. >> tht's our little experiment in tror we're condting ght now. but the question for us s, to
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quota famousbumper ticker r paraphrase it,what would we do? we're having the expience right now, rehearsg the mus for the show, not justdoing acoustic cers of rock 'n' rollmaterial, we're reimagining thsongs because when we played them the guys in tap r the folksmen, we were mang their choices, doing at the caracters would do musically. now we're making ofer you -- our ow choiceswhich are fferent. tavis: he's a weird n. not the first orlast one ve asked. if thiwere not conected with the 25th anniversary he celebration o spial tap, would you guyse interested in this? oh, yeah. this predatedthat. started talking about this two years ago. >> momea was 2004. we did themusic of cose modern art in new rk city ad after thati said this as
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rely fun, we all gree so thihas been in the works s something we've all evolved nd thought maybe it w the may t do it. >> it wa supposed t be to celebra the 50th annversary of pubc television orinally. aughter] tavis: got to love harry shear. talk tome, cristopher,about, i don want to color this question deiberately. but talk to me about just documentarfilm making the >> i wish i knew. well, i - the docentary foat is pobably my favorite format, and the filmsi've done and it really started with ros directin"this is spinal p", but what i liked bout it was te spontanity of -- in terms of what te actrs could do on the set and if you get eat improvisers it creates
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sothing very unusual. these takes are as you see them happing and i relat to that. it was n only funier for me, was more nterestingeven emotionally to buld it into a stor that couldbe satisfyin the thi movie "waitig for guffman" is abouthis rather sad town that putstogether this play pu there -- but the is something ver endearing about it. you have compassion r these peopleven though they have no talent. you are rooting fothem. they believ they're going to go to broadw. i've recently thought bout doing an actual documentary not a faux on, theni reel izzied people wh think it was funny and i wouldn't - codn't do it. i had an ideato doone and i
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realizd it would backfire because peopleould be waiting for the jokes. so ihink i oors - sort of- >> talk -- taed yourself ou of it in >> you'v definitely talkedme out of it. >> a it was about michael. tavis: what's amazing o me, chris, is i think that becaus of resident way technology workstoday and because everody has a stry to tll and we eep seeing more stories told through the footage of everyd, ordinary people, i'm not sue thatthe documentary catego as we know it sn't going to blow up and expand in this country. >> beuse of reality television people thi they're on t peoplere now proposin to each other and reaking up publicly. you hear every argument in every resaurant 10 imes uder than it used to p. >> michae we're not arguing. >> n no, weve resolved hat.
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no, i think reality levision is onef those great objectio i morons -- oxymorons >> everybody he story to tll but not all stories ae worth watching. >>t's true. tavi it's easy to see that you guys ha been friends for so long. do you did, you finish each othes sentences and - >> we're all fairlypolite. t we get het up. >> oh, yu get het up. yoget a fire nder your belly. >> igot halfway up this morning. >it's interesting to me because weall get asked about eachther and were three incredibly different peple. but we share thee sensiblites and sense of humor ad love of music. thosehings have bound us together f way too long now. tas: so we'r on pb.
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25 seconds. i'm going shut up and let yo talk about the tour. >> when we're done with "tavis "-- >> no, talto the camera. >> 's wonderful and funny -- >> talking. you talk about >> ere is q.&.aat the end. there's wderful merchandise for sale in the lobby. >that's right. that'sright. >> you'll love it. >we don't autograph dy parts. >>ow back to tavis. tavis: a you convincnow to go chem - checkthem out on the six-week, 30-city to? now that's moving rward. thanks for wching, and as alys, keep the faith. >> ♪well sincemy baby left me ♪ >> same key, i think. >> ♪ wel since y baby lft
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me ♪ >> if i'm gl -- goingsince my baby left me- >> no, you can't hit thatknow. >> ♪ since my aby left me ♪ ♪ well i've found a new pace to twefment ♪ >> that's all right. >> tat sounds ragga. you don't want to goragga. >> barber shop rag >> watchthe language. we're in the home o the king. this is thoughly -- thoroughly epressing. it really puts persctive on civil rits attorney and political advisor vernon joan. that's next time. we'll see u then. >> there are so many things that wal-martis looing
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forward to ding, look helping peop live better but mostly we're oking forward to communities and lationships. becae of your help the best is yet to coe. >> nationwidinsurance proudly supports "tavismiley" the tavis and nationwide insurce. workingto improve finacial literacy and the ecoomic with i ♪ nationwide on your sid ♪ annocer: and by contributions to your pbs sation from viers like you. thank you. captioned by the natiol captioning instute --www.ncicaprg-- >> we are pbs.
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