Spinal Tap drummer Ric Parnell has died aged 70

Ric Parnell, the British musician best known for playing drummer Mick Shrimpton on cult rock mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap, has died.

Actor Harry Shearer, who starred in the film with Parnell, shared the news on Sunday via Twitterwrites, “No one has ever rocked harder.”

Parnell’s cause of death was not disclosed.

The London-born drummer was surrounded by a family of musicians. His grandfather, Russ Carr, was a variety artist and his father, Jack Parnell, served as the band leader for The Muppet Show.

Parnell has played in several bands including Horse, Atomic Rooster, Nova and Stars. He claimed he turned down invitations to star in Journey and Whitesnake, but is credited with playing drums on Toni Basil’s 1981 song “Hey Mickey.”

Ric Parnell played drummer Mick Shrimpton in the cult rock mockumentary "This is spinal tap."
Ric Parnell played drummer Mick Shrimpton in the cult rock mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap.
©MCA/Courtesy of the Everett Collection
Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, Michael McKean, RJ Parnell and David Kaff in the 1984s "This is spinal tap."
Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, Michael McKean, RJ Parnell and David Kaff in 1984’s This Is Spinal Tap.
© Embassy Pictures/Courtesy Everett

But his big break came in 1984 when Parnell portrayed the fictional rock band Spinal Tap on the big screen along with actors and musicians Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Shearer. The group became a real act, releasing albums and even appearing on Saturday Night Live.

Parnell also recorded material from actor Michael Des Barres, who remembered his collaborator Twitter Monday.

“Some musicians play a role. Others are rock ‘n’ roll. The latter was Ric Parnell. The real thing,” Barres wrote.

Leave a Comment