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The Tubes Biography

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The Tubes In-depth Biography

The Tubes} were arch satirists of popular culture whose outrageous performance-art concepts -- which swung wildly from soft-core pornography to suit-and-tie conservatism -- frequently eclipsed their elusive musical identity. The beginnings of the group originate 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 personas 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 onstage while acting out his punk character Johnny Bugger; the remainder of the tour was cancelled, 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}. 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 greatest-hits-live album Tubes World Tour} to commemorate the event. ~ Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide

The Tubes Biography / The Tubes Information

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