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Washington Tapheads, Get Ready to Laugh

Harry Shearer, from left to right, Michael McKean and Christopher Guest in "A Mighty Wind." (Photo/Suzanne Tenner via AP)

Washington fans of Spinal Tap and the Folksmen are in for a big, fat, funny treat.

The lovable goofballs who made up Spinal Tap, the faux heavy metal band in Rob Reiner's 1984 cult classic comedy "This Is Spinal Tap" - the same guys who became the Folksmen in the 2003 mockumentary "A Mighty Wind" - are coming to town.

As they have been throughout their 30-city tour, the aging rocker/mockers will be unnwigged and unplugged when they perform at the Warner Theatre on May 13.

"This is not a Spinal Tap tour. This is a Christopher, Michael and Harry tour," Harry Shearer tells the Sleuth. "We are out there as ourselves."

Ourselves would be Christopher Guest (known to Spinal Tap fans as Nigel Tufnel), Michael McKean (David St. Hubbins) and Shearer (Derek Smalls).

The shows on their "Unwigged and Unplugged" tour are all acoustic, and nobody is in costume. The band's sound will be "familiar but different, in some cases radically different," says Shearer.

But no worries, Shearer promises that even the most die-hard of Tapheads will go home laughing and satiated. The shows are breaking down "60/40, music to comedy," Shearer says.

Shearer, with whom we spoke by phone yesterday as he was gearing up for last night's gig in Los Angeles, says there may be at least a few V.I.P. politicos in the crowd at the Washington show, including Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), a UCLA college buddy of Shearer, and maybe Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), his congressman.

He says he, Guest and McKean have had "great audience response," and that's all he needs to keep going. He sure isn't about to dare risk ruining his good buzz by reading any reviews until the tour is over. ("If somebody says your hair is parted on the wrong side it bums you out," Shearer says.)

The trio has performed out West in Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Oakland and Anaheim. (Check out this fun review of the Anaheim show in the Orange County Register.)

As Shearer fans well know: he's more than just a musician and an actor. He has his own syndicated radio show, "Le Show," and, of, course, is the voice behind countless characters on "The Simpsons," including Mr. Burns, Smithers, Ned Flanders, Rev. Lovejoy and Scratchy.

And even Shearer, who does all that and more, gets star struck. He tells us the coolest moment by far on this tour was having Paul McCartney walk in on their practice session at a rehearsal facility in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley. Even before the trio had played a single note, McCartney walked in and demanded they play something. (They came up with a Folksmen version of "Start Me Up," which we'd love to hear at their D.C. show.)

"When you get a request from Paul McCartney..." the 60-something funnyman said, knowing he need not complete the sentence. "People say they've never seen the three of us so speechless for so long."

By Mary Ann Akers  |  April 27, 2009; 6:09 AM ET
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Three cheers
for the Three Peers.

dePaul Consiglio

Posted by: depaulconsiglio | April 27, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

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