Ric Parnell Died: What Was His Cause Of Death?

The musician who played the character Mick Shrimpton in the movie “This is Spinal Tap” was also part of the band Atomic Rooster.

Drummer Ric Parnell died last Sunday (1st), at age 70. He became known for playing Mick Shrimpton in the band Spinal Tap and their respective film, “This is Spinal Tap”. He was also part of the Atomic Rooster group.

The information was confirmed by Deniz Tek, musician of Radio Birdman, in a Facebook post. The two played together on Tek’s solo albums. The cause was not disclosed.

“Ric Parnell died this morning. From day one, when I met him, I found him to be an engaging, warm, and deliciously funny person. We hit it off as friends right away. He had a cheerful spirit that made you feel good just being around him.

Ric’s incredible history in the music business is well known. I had the great fortune of working with Ric on three albums. The time in the studio was casual, fun, and full of stories and humor. Ric never prepared for a session, he came with the beat and the arrangement right away. He would say, ‘What’s the next song going to be like?’ I would play for him on guitar, then he would think for a minute and then he would say, ‘Okay, I have something.’ Then he’d rock it in one or two takes and it would be perfect.

Rich was unique. He will live on in his music and in our hearts.”


Ric Parnell and Spinal Tap

The major standout work in Ric Parnell’s career was as the character Mick Shrimpton in the movie “This is Spinal Tap”, where he was credited as RJ Parnell. The documentary shows the story of the fictional band Spinal Tap – which came into existence after the success of the production, launched in 1984.

Like the entire plot, Shrimpton’s story is quite comical. The drummer joined the group after his predecessors died in bizarre accidents.

In an interview with Missoulian, in 2007, rescued by Blabbermouth, Parnell recalled how he got the role in the feature.

“The first question they asked was, ‘What do you think of a movie that is going to destroy your career?’ I said, ‘you should have made this movie about 10 years ago. So I was asked what other bands I had played in and I was like, ‘well, I was in a band called Rooster’. They looked at each other and said, ‘yeah that’s it, you’re our guy.”
Spinal Tap turned into a real band with the success of the film and Ric Parnell remained involved, having recorded not only the album “This Is Spinal Tap” (1984) but also the follow-up “Break Like the Wind” (1992). In this second disc, he assumed the character Ric Shrimpton, since (spoiler) Mick died in the long.


Amelia Warner– After graduating from NYU with a master's degree in history, She was also a columnist for many local newspapers. Amelia Warner mostly covers Entertainment topics, but at times loves to write about movie reviews as well.

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