Ric Parnell, Drummer From The Spinal Tap Movie, Dead At 70

Spinal Tap
Distributor: Embassy Pictures
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Ric Parnell, who played the fictional drummer Mick Shrimpton in the movie This Is Spinal Tap has passed away. He was 70 years old.

This Is Spinal Tap is a 1984 mockumentary movie about a fictional British heavy metal band called Spinal Tap. Per Parnell’s Wikipedia page:

“Parnell’s big break came in 1984 when he played the role of Mick Shrimpton in the mockumentary 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.”

Parnell was also the drummer for the the rock band Atomic Roster and worked with a great number of other acts. He also worked on two Spinal Tap records, 1984’s This Is Spinal Tap and 1992’s Break Like the Wind.

Ric Parnell played drums on solo albums for Radio Birdman’s Deniz Tek; Trek wrote the following message about Ric Parnell via Facebook yesterday (May 1st):

“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.”

Our hearts go out to Ric Parnell’s family and loved ones.

Have you seen This Is Spinal Tap? Do you have any fond memories of watching the movie?


Words by: Michael Pementel