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Tom Scholz of Boston’s Failed ‘Tarzan’ Swing – Real-Life ‘Spinal Tap’ Stories


After hearing his real-life ‘Spinal Tap’ stories about various airborne misadventures at Boston concerts over the years, we’re starting to understand why Tom Scholz spends so much time in the studio.

In honor of the 30th anniversary of the world’s most famous rock and roll “mockumentary,” we asked various classic rock stars to share their own funny ‘Spinal Tap’ tales. Scholz’s first story involves the all-too-familiar theme of malfunctioning hydraulics:

“There’s been plenty of those moments! I think the one that sticks in my mind the most is the time that the pipe organ lift for the organ console went up in the air with me on it as it had every night. When I was done with the pipe organ solo — it didn’t come down. That was probably the most obvious ‘Spinal Tap’ moment.”

Wisely, Scholz put his master’s degree in mechanical engineering to good use, and created an alternative exit route for himself before the next tour. This also turned out to be quite an exciting visual highlight of the show…until the night another flaw in the plan was revealed:

“On the following tour, I had them put a rope on the front truss that was strung back to the organ console, so when I got done playing the organ, I’d grab onto this rope and swing out over the stage and out over the audience — like 20 or 30 feet sometimes in the air — and then to make the landing, I had to come back down the rope while I was kind of weightless. It was very touchy — I had to be right in the right place so I could kind of get the landing gear down as I came screaming across the stage and brake to a stop before I slammed into the metal structure that was hidden behind the curtain that held up the organ…

George of the Jungle
Jay Ward Productions

… one night I missed.”

You Think You Know Spinal Tap?

Next: Hear More Real-Life 'Spinal Tap' Stories

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