Why ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ ‘Bummed’ out Steven Tyler: ‘How Dare They?’

When the mockumentary, This Is Spinal Tap, hit theaters in 1984, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler was not pleased. His bandmate, Joe Perry, took him to see it. Instead of laughing like the rest of the crowd, Tyler sat uncomfortably as the fake 1980s band played their music on the screen.

There are more than a few sore topics with Tyler. For instance, it’s best not to mention that his oldest daughter, actor Liv Tyler, didn’t know Tyler was her father until she was a preteen. It’s also best not to compare him to Mick Jagger or compare Aerosmith to Kiss.

However, mentioning This Is Spinal Tap is pretty high up on that list of topics that could anger the singer.

The cast of 'This Is Spinal Tap' performing live in 1984.
The cast of ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ | Randy Bachman/Getty Images

Joe Perry took Steven Tyler to see ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ and he hated it

This Is Spinal Tap is a comedy. It’s a parody of all the metal bands of the time. When Perry and his wife saw it, they thought it was funny. They got the joke. However, Perry made the mistake of thinking Tyler would too. It turns out Tyler took the film personally.

“When we watched Spinal Tap, my wife and I saw it, and we fell on the floor,” Perry told Spencer Kaufman of Loudwire (per Ultimate Classic Rock). “It was great, every bit as brilliant as it was supposed to be, so good. Even then, we had been through it all six times.

“I told Steven the next day, ‘You’ve got to see this movie! It’s so f***ing good. It’s hilarious.'” Apparently, Perry and Tyler didn’t have the same sense of humor in this situation.

“He was squirming and squirming, and he did not laugh the whole time,” Perry said. “It was like he took the band’s side on everything. It was like he did not – he didn’t get it. He got indignant. And it was like, I couldn’t believe it. So, my wife and I were cracking up – and we’re watching Steven.”

The film became a cult classic to Tyler’s dismay, but his hatred for it didn’t disappear.

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‘This Is Spinal Tap’ ‘bummed’ Tyler out

Tyler explained why he hates This Is Spinal Tap during a rare interview with the Library of Congress, made public in 2012 (per Rolling Stone).

“I was surprised – when we got into the thick of stardom in the Seventies, I found the most outrageous things I asked for, would’ve thought of asking for, had already taken place the week before with some other group. It was harder to do something that hadn’t happened…

“I can remember the height of my oblivion, I was into doing things just because I could. I would think nothing of tipping a whole long spread, and I’d be so livid – explicit – no turkey roll! Give us a turkey – no gravy, no stuffing, just real meat. No hockey pucks, no mystery meat, just a turkey.

“And I would come in after coming offstage, and I’d have 12 ounces of Jack in me, and half a gram, sweating profusely, and I would see that tray, and I would go ‘Yeeow!’ and just turn the thing right over. And that would feel good to me. That felt real good…

“That movie [This Is Spinal Tap!] bummed me out, because I thought, ‘How dare they? That’s all real, and they’re mocking it.'”

So, This Is Spinal Tap hit a little too close to home for Tyler. That lifestyle that Aerosmith and many other bands were experiencing at the time wasn’t something to laugh about, in his opinion.

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Aerosmith had many ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ moments

Despite Tyler’s feelings about the comedy, Perry found it funny and relatable. Aerosmith many This Is Spinal Tap moments.

Perry explained that Aerosmith used a plane to shuttle them to the next show. One night it got muddy, which wasn’t good for the drunk band members.

“Some of those little airports, the landing lights – they go on because the guy signals them on the radio,” Perry said. “Well, the landing lights went off on the taxiway, and he ran the jet off the tarmac into the mud. So, we all had to get out of the plane and push it back onto the taxiway.

“You know, it’s not a huge plane, [but] it was 2 a.m. after a show, and we’re, like, you know half in the bag. So, we push this thing back onto the tarmac and then we took off. So that’s, like, pretty Spinal Tap right?”

Tyler would disagree. He’s never going to like that film, and we can’t blame him.

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