Sunday, November 15, 2009

New Wave for the New Week #39

[All throughout the month of November, all NW4NW entries will be based on requests made by you, dear readers. Because of the amount of requests coming in, there will often be more than one entry per week during this month - I recommend signing up for email alerts on the left-hand side of the screen so that you don't miss any of the fun! If you wish to make a request, you may do so either in the comments section of this post, or on Twitter by tweeting your request to @berutt. Don't be shy - tell me what band you want to see featured!]

The Tubes, Chateau Neuf, Oslo, Norway, Novembe...Image via Wikipedia

Had to smile when I read Patrick Foltz's request, if only because it brought to mind one of the greatest stage names for any band member ever: Fee Waybill (who will forever, in my mind, be battling it out for the "Greatest Name" crown with the keyboard player from The Producers, Wayne Famous.)

It was in 1969 that John Waldo Waybill changed his name to Fee and began assembling a troupe of musicians/performers to create the band that would become The Tubes. With as much focus on their stage show as there was on their music, The Tubes took a little bit from Alice Cooper, a little bit from the emerging UK Glam scene, a little bit from the New York city underground, and created something that was always interesting if somewhat uneven in quality. Over the years since their debut album was released in 1975, The Tubes have hit some incredible highs, but have also bottomed out more than once with crap that should probably have been left in recording studio waste basket.

Still, when they were on the mark, few bands could touch them. Their first splash was the epic six-and-a-half minute single from their self-titled debut album, "White Punks On Dope." A searing parody of the mid-70s rich suburban rock-n-roll kid, it's an awesome record for its time - one of the last gasps of clever rock and roll before the disco malaise set in.

Over the second half of the 1970s, The Tubes released three more studio albums, a live album, and a thoroughly unnecessary "best of" - unnecessarily because beyond "White Punks On Dope" and 1979's stab at radio acceptance, "Prime Time," the rest of their output ranged from poor to mediocre.

By 1981 they found a new record label (Capitol), and had tapped into the New Wave market. They released The Completion Backward Principle, which contains their finest moments: "Sushi Girl" and "Talk To Ya Later" remain staples of New Wave retrospective compilations to this day, and with good reason - both are great songs filled with witty lyrics and classic pop hooks. The album also saw the first Tubes visit to the American Top 40, with the ballad "Don't Want To Wait Anymore" reaching #35.

Two years later The Tubes would have their biggest hit, 1983's "She's A Beauty," which cracked the American Top Ten. Reverting more to their '70s foundation, but with a clear '80s sound, the song guaranteed The Tubes a permanent slot on classic rock formatted radio playlists for eternity. A follow-up album bombed miserably, and The Tubes called it a day.

Patrick specifically asked for the "She's A Beauty" video, and so I am happy to provide it here as the current entry in NW4NW All Request Month - thank you for your request! I'm also including the video for the wonderful "Talk To Ya Later," my favorite Tubes song by far:

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