Missoula Celebrity and Spinal Tap Drummer, Ric Parnell Dies at 70
I will never forget the first time I ran into Ric Parnell. We were standing outside the Wilma waiting to get inside for a rock concert. In front of me stood someone who clearly meant a lot to many Missoulians. Every other person who walked past gave him a high five or a fist bump. I knew the person looked familiar, but I could not put my finger on it. Soon it dawned on me. It was "Mick Shrimpton" from Spinal Tap. I tapped him on the shoulder and said, "Hey Mick!" He turned around with a smile, a fist bump, and a British accent "It's Ric, nice to meet ya.. you wanker." It made my day. "Mick Shrimpton called me a wanker!"
Today we learned the news that Ric Parnell passed away at the age of 70.
Ric Parnell began his career in music back in 1970. He played in multiple bands. He provided the drums for Toni Basil's hit "Mickey," and he had an offer to join Journey. But, Ric's big break came in the '80s when he landed the role of Mick Shrimpton on the mockumentary, "This Is Spinal Tap."
Ric eventually settled in Missoula. He hosted his own radio show on "Trail 103" cleverly titled, "Spontaneous Combustion," which paid homage to his character from "Spinal Tap."
Thanks for being a part of my introduction to rock in the 80s, Ric. Thanks for the laughs and the fist bump. Most of all, thanks for being such a cool addition to the Missoula community.
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