‘I never laughed as much in my life!’: Jon Anderson on Yes’ inspirational role in Spinal Tap

During the tour for Yes’ early-1980s blockbuster 90125, Jon Anderson found himself driving with a young filmmaker who was at work on a documentary about the group. He suggested that Anderson stop to see Spinal Tap at a local movie theater, and something amazing happened.

“We stopped at this cinema, because we saw the sign: Spinal Tap,” Anderson tells Whitney Johnson. “I had never heard of it, and the guy said: ‘It’s about rock ‘n’ roll.’ So, I said: ‘Let’s go watch it.’”

One iconic scene from the movie, where Derek Smalls gets trapped in a pod on stage, ended up hitting very close to home for Anderson: Turns out, Yes drummer “Alan (White) had these sort of cones that surrounded him,” he says. “And one night, they got stuck. It’s crazy.” Rob Reiner, who directed the mockumentary, later admitted that Yes’ stage show served as one of the inspirations for the film.

“I never laughed as much in my life!” Anderson adds. “It was us! And from that moment, the whole (90125) tour was Spinal Tap, really. It was amazing.”

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