Spinal Tap Drummer Ric Parnell, AKA Mick Shrimpton, Dead at 70

Sad news for the rock, metal, and cinematic worlds today, as Ric Parnell, better known as Spinal Tap drummer Mick Shrimpton, has died. He was 70 years old.

News of Parnell’s death was confirmed by Deniz Tek of Australian punks Radio Birdman, who posted the following tribute to the drummer:

“Ric Parnell died early this morning.

“From day one, meeting him, I found him to be engaging, warm, and delightfully funny. We hit it off as pals immediately. He had a cheerful spirit that made you feel good, just being around him.

“Ric’s amazing history in the music world is well known. I had the great good fortune to work with Ric on three albums. Studio time was casual, fun, and scattered with stories and humor. Ric never actually prepared for a session, but would come up with the beat and the arrangement on the spot. He would say ‘How does this next song go?’ I’d play it to him on a guitar, and he’d think about it for a minute. Then he would say ‘Right! Got something.’ Then he would nail it in one or two takes, and it was as perfect as it gets.

“Ric was one of a kind. He lives on in his music, and in our hearts.”

Parnell’s passing might sound like a joke to some due to his fate in 1984’s This Is Spinal Tap. Shrimpton is one of a long line of Spinal Tap drummers who die in ridiculous ways; Shrimpton himself spontaneously combusts at the end of the film.

Parnell was also famous for drumming in 1970s hard rock band Atomic Rooster.

Everyone at MetalSucks sends their heart out to Ric’s family, friends, collaborators and fans during this difficult time.

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