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The Tubes

The Tubes were arch satirists of popular culture whose outrageous performance art concepts -- which swung wildly from softcore pornography to suit-and-tie conservatism -- frequently eclipsed their elusive musical identity. The beginnings of the group originated in Phoenix, Arizona in the late '60s, where guitarist Bill Spooner, keyboardist Vince Welnick, and bassist Rick Anderson formed as the Beans (alternately billing themselves as the Radar Men from Uranus). After moving to San Francisco in 1972, the Beans recruited guitarist Roger Steen and drummer Prairie Prince (from Red, White & Blues), and later became the Tubes with the addition of Michael Cotten on keyboards and former roadie Fee Waybill on lead vocals.

Over the course of the next few years, the Tubes earned a devoted cult following on the strength of Spooner's parodic songs and the group's surreal live shows, which featured Waybill adopting a variety of personae including the "crippled Nazi" Dr. Strangekiss, country singer Hugh Heifer, and Quay Lewd, a drug-addled British pop star. After signing to A&M in 1975, they released their self-titled debut, followed a year later by Young and Rich; while both failed to transfer the manic energy and theatrical complexity of their live set onto record, the single "White Punks on Dope" became a minor hit and a radio staple.

After 1977's failed concept record The Tubes Now, the group toured England, where a series of banned performances made them a media sensation. However, during the recording of the concert LP What Do You Want from Live?, Waybill broke his leg on-stage while acting out his punk character Johnny Bugger; the remainder of the tour was canceled, and with it died the band's chart momentum. After returning to the U.S., they recruited producer Todd Rundgren and recorded 1979's Remote Control, a concept album exploring the influence of television; when it met a similar commercial fate as its predecessors, the Tubes were dropped by A&M.

After signing to Capitol, they recorded 1981's Completion Backwards Principle, an album based on an actual sales training instruction manual; both "Talk to You Later" and "Don't Want to Wait Anymore" earned significant radio play, and the LP became the Tubes' first Top 40 hit. Thanks to its provocative video, the single "She's a Beauty" reached the Top Ten, and pushed the 1983 LP Outside/Inside into the Top 20 Albums chart; after 1985's Love Bomb stiffed, however, the Tubes disbanded, and Welnick later joined the Grateful Dead (long suffering from depression, he committed suicide in June 2006).

In 1993, the Tubes reunited; consisting of Waybill, Steen, Anderson, Prince, and new keyboardist Gary Cambra, they toured the U.S. and Europe before releasing a new LP, Genius of America, in 1996. Spooner also issued his own solo record, Mall to Mars. In 2000, the Tubes embarked on another extensive tour, issuing the live greatest-hits album Tubes World Tour to commemorate the event. The band appeared at London's Shepherd's Bush Empire in December 2004, and the show was documented on the CD Wild in London, released the following year. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Young & Rich / Now

Disc 1

1. Tubes World Tour

2. Brighter Day

3. Pimp

4. Stand Up And Shout

5. Don't Touch Me There

6. Slipped My Disco

7. Proud To Be An American

8. Poland Whole/Madam I'm Adam

9. Young And Rich

Disc 2

1. Smoke (La Vie En Fumer)

2. Hit Parade

3. Strung Out On Strings

4. Golden Boy

6. God Bird Change

7. I'm Just A Mess

8. Cathy's Clone

9. This Town

10. Pound Of Flesh

11. You're No Fun

x

Track List: 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best Of The Tubes

1. White Punks On Dope

2. What Do You Want From Life?

3. Mondo Bondage

4. Don't Touch Me There

5. Slipped My Disco

6. Pound Of Flesh

7. Turn Me On

8. Prime Time

9. I Want It All Now

10. Love's A Mystery (I Don't Understand)

11. Tubes World Tour

x

Track List: The Best Of The Tubes

1. She's A Beauty

2. Tip Of My Tongue

3. Talk To Ya Later

4. Sushi Girl

5. Don't Want To Wait Anymore

6. Bora Bora 2000 / Love Bomb

7. No Not Again

8. The Monkey Time

9. Sports Fans

10. Come As You Are

11. Piece By Piece

12. Attack Of The Fifty Foot Woman

13. When You're Ready To Come

14. Keyboard Kids

x

Track List: Live In America (Recorded "Live" In Los Angeles 1976)

1. Young And Rich / Grandiose Instrumental Overture

2. What Do You Want From Life

3. Tubes World Tour

4. Love Will Keep Us Together

5. P.I.M.P.

6. Mondo Bondage

7. Don't Touch Me There

8. Boy Crazy

9. Stand Up And Shout

x

Track List: The Completion Backward Principle

1. Talk To Ya Later

2. Sushi Girl

3. Amnesia

4. Mr. Hate

5. Attack Of The Fifty Foot Woman

6. Think About Me

7. A Matter Of Pride

8. Don't Want To Wait Anymore

9. Power Tools

10. Let's Make Some Noise

11. Tube Talk

14. Sports Fans

Comments

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These guys are soooo underrated! The first album The Tubes and Remote Control are tight production, poignant creative lyrics, outstanding showmanship and musicanship, better than 80% of the stuff out there then and now. 80% of the public is clearly clueless.
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mysteriousst r a n g e r 5 4 5
❤❤❤❤❤
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That's pretty bad that they don' even mention RE STYLES.
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gbaby5906
❤❤❤❤❤
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sandymcleod1 7 5
❤❤❤❤❤
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ONE IN...A MILLION..... . . . . . M E ! ! ! ! ! ! X X X X X X O O O O O O O O O
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WHITE PUNKS ON DOPE!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
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❤❤❤❤❤
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Theatrical band to the Key. ..Awesome in concert
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THE BEST TUBES SONG EVER!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
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Saw them 3 times in the late 70s and early 80s, Awsome shows!!
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I HAVE BERN...,TOLD . . . .IM A . BEAUTY. . . .XCCC. OOOOOOKL
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delilioum
Saw them at the Arizona Continental in 2012. They were the best act all weekend. They haven't lost a thing!
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Love the Tubes!
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GOTTA SEE EM LIVE !!!!!!!!!!!
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chezzles.ze. g r e a t
Will be seeing the Tubes this Friday at the Little River Casino. Eager to see the fabled live show, hoping it's got some of the same energy of the early shows.
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I saw them at the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma 1980 Halloween night as Cowboy Fee and the Hefers (as if they don't dress up enough already!) they were AWESOME!!!
I gotta say I miss those days when you could see a concert for cheap (without breaking the bank!) its a sad state of affairs the music business is in.
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Saw the Tubes Friday Night at the Couch House in San Clemente! One of thee most originally outrageously entertaining concerts ever! I will never be the same
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love this group. they could jam !!!!
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LOVE THIS SONG!
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The Tubes freaking rock!! Great sage show, awesome songwriting, and killer theatrics with an unbelievable sense of humor ... everybody in the band was super talented, but it all begins with the best rock drummer out there - Prairie Prince!! Rock on Prairie!
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What Do You Want from Live? - a great live set.
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This song still rocks after all these years!
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My cousin Gary Cambra, is in this band.
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Like, tubular man...
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rwilminko
The Tubes are one of my favs! Love Bomb is the CD that gets first play on long road trips. I saw them a few year back in Seattle at the Triple Door. A small dinner house with every seat a great seat. The Tubes were awsome! I'd see them again and again. Their music ability is often missed.
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davidmary981
Forgot about this One OMG❤
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karen.robled o
one in a million girls
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Please add Outside Inside and the CBP! Let's go Pandora! Show us you know music!
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The Tubes are such a great band and love what they do. I saw them 2 summers ago in Michigan and they where still crazy as ever
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Well said, ptinkstain! exactly what I was going to write....gre a t live, and Completion was one of the best albums of the 80's!
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check out white punks on dope on utube! what a trip B-)
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Before the Stage Shows of Madonna, and hip-hop dancing of TODAY AND all that GAGA, - NOTHING COMPARES TO THE TUBES on STAGE! One of the most underated song writers of Rock History- The Completion Backward Principle is one of the greatest writen albums of all time!
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Amen. Completion Backwards Principle was a big Tubes album.
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kvons1
still have the debut album on LP vinyl---cert a i n l y been a while
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The Tubes put on a great show at the Coach House in San Jaun Capistrano at least once a year. A great band at a great venue.
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I drive to Ohio (I'm from Michigan) every year to see the Tubes. It's still a great show. I'm proud to say my nephews 24 years old and has seen the
tubes 8 times. Are we a screwed up family or what!
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Remember when they were on SCTV & went fishing with John Candy's character, the Fishin' Musician? That was great. And I heard off camera, they smoked a LOT of POT!
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Where is "The Completion Backward Principle"?

Without "TCBP" no Tubes collection is complete or even valid.

PLEASE add "TCBP."
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LOVE LOVE LOVE the tubes...whic h is weird because i am a staunch metal head.
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gotta love em
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As lead singer in a band in Tucson named "Wizard", I had the rare opportunity to musically share the 4th Ave Park one Saturday in 1970 with the band "The Beans", who evolved later into the giant success "The Tubes". It was a great day in the park rockin' and partying. The mayor of Tucson at the time showed up, drunk and disoriented. I tortured him unmercifully , but he was too oblivious to care.
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ilikeicecrea m
Awesome, Awesome band. IMO the only band ever worth paying for to see as you got a true show not just some lights or dancers up on stage. Their theatric were unbelievably creative and funny. I've seen them at least 15 times most of that in the 80's but caught them in the last couple of years in CT and they sound just as good. Catch them if you can. Go Fee!
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duhranch1
I toured with the Tubes in the 80's for 3 years as rigging master. It was the best of the tours to work on in those days. They were wild, fun, great sound and an awsome show to run.Cindy Rohdes was one of the dancers then. The band would bring all the crew to rehersals 1 month early so we could get choreograped into the show. Only the lighting board operater was left out. One year I was the 50 foot woman undressing in front a light behind a white drop projecting a siloughette of a woman from the
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White Punks on Dope is a great song-------t h i s is the ultimate underground band
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larenwilliam s 8
Don't care if I'm dating myself. Groovey is groovey
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jraineriii
Saw them in March of '78 at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. Holy Cow what a show. Waybill was completely out of control and loving it. 6 of us were there, front row balcony seats, (best in the house), and laughing our a*#es off and having a blast. They were one of a kind.
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iseen the tubes with devo in the 80s with the butthole surfers nuff said wild show
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I saw them at a small club in Santa Rosa about 5 years ago, great show of course Fee came out in his chones, to start the show classic
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For folks out there that haven't seen the Tubes live, they are still out doing shows. They don't have the money for the big productions any longer, but still a lot of fun.
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