There isn't much improvisation in film - there's virtually none. The people that theoretically could be good at this in a theater situation don't necessarily do this in a film in a way that will work, because it's much broader on a stage.
'This is Spinal Tap' was a film we felt really had to be done like that. It wouldn't have worked any other way. And it turned out to be the first time a fiction film had really been made in a documentary format. I continued to do that, obviously, because it's a fun way to work.
To me, what I realized when we were doing 'Spinal Tap' - and the four of us wrote that - is, really, the core of that is the relationship with the two guys who grew up together and that strain when the girlfriend comes in. If that wasn't there, it's a very different movie. Then it's just bumbling guys stumbling along.
In the kind of films that I do, there is an extremely limited number of people that can improvise. The reason the ensemble continues in the movies is because those are the people that can do that kind of work. It's not just an accident those people are in the film.
Some instinct has told me I need to live in a world that isn't consumed with reading about myself or anyone else or someone's opinion about something. I need to be clear of that. It's just healthier for me. I feel happier.
I talk to people of different ages, and a guy who's 38 who says, 'I could've played Major League Baseball, but I had this knee injury...' Yeah, probably not. It's a big thing with men and sports, where they think they could have touched that thing.
The main thing that's important to me is getting to do whatever project it is the way that I do what I do, and that's different. To go to an entity - whether it's a traditional film studio or some newer company, or HBO, Amazon or Netflix - they would have to know that I need to work the way I work.
When you've been a character in a movie - and this has happened when we've done concerts as Spinal Tap or as The Folksmen - people see you as characters walking out of a movie. And you appear in public, then, to play, it's a very schizophrenic thing.
It couldn't have been more nerdy or bizarre, playing the clarinet. But I studied classical clarinet, went to the high school for music and art in New York City, and then found the guitar and the mandolin after it.
There's something about that idea of looking up and hoping, and thinking, 'I'm good.' Some things, like show business, are absolutely subjective. People look at a TV show and think, 'I could do that.' And maybe they could do that. But they're not.