Michael McKean, best known as Spinal Tap’s David St. Hubbins, is a phenomenal musician and actor. He sat down with Marc Maron for a nice long interview that’s highly recommended for fans of his work.
Update 3.18.2014: The official audio is now premium content at WTF Podcast’s site. The interview starts at the 13:19 mark of the audio.
In this WTF podcast interview, Michael McKean begins by shedding some light onto his childhood growing up in Long Island at the same time as big time musicians like Billy Joel and Leslie West. He also talks about working in various comedy groups like Second City, The Credibility Gap (working with Harry Shearer, David L. Lander, and Richard Beebe), Saturday Night Live (working with Chris Farley, Norm McDonald, Darrell Hammond, and Phil Hartman), and of course Spinal Tap. Did you know that there was an “ass casters” scene in Spinal Tap that was cut from the movie? Then you should listen to this interview.
As a young lad, McKean had been in a band called The Left Bank that had a couple small hits in New York. He also worked the lights for his brother’s band, which is a pretty funny story. It’s no accident that McKean is extremely knowledgeable about music; his father was a record business veteran, writing liner notes, press releases, and doing interviews for Decca, Columbia, and RCA Victor.
McKean delves into his years as a music loving college student at NYU and when he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his career in entertainment where he succeeded pretty quickly on television.
There’s some really fascinating stuff about the process of making the Spinal Tap movie in this interview. McKean talks about the early conception of the project as he was working on a transition from television to film with Rob Reiner and Harry Shearer. As it turns out, the film was shot in 5 weeks during 1982 once everything came together, and the elements of improvisation were a completely revolutionary concept that changed comedy in film forever.
Marc Maron really knows how to get great information during interviews. Talking about Spinal Tap, we learn about a couple lost scenes and characters including “ass casters” (a parody of the famous “plaster casters” who used to replicate the penises of famous musicians) that die hard Spinal Tap fans would love to see.
Also of note, McKean reveals that longtime collaborator Christopher Guest (who plays Nigel Tufnel on Spinal Tap) is not great at yelling, but he is into Shakespeare and fart jokes.
Marc Maron continues his run of amazing interviews here. Lots of cool information, soulful heartfelt stories, and humor. Definitely worth listening to the entire 90 minute program.