Rick Anderson - bass; Michael Cotten - synthesizers; Prairie Prince - drums; Bill Spooner - guitar, vocals; Roger Steen - guitar, vocals; Re Styles - vocals; Fee Waybill - vocals; Vince Welnick - keyboards
The Tubes were the hot new band on the Bay Area scene when this very early and rare recording of them was originally broadcast on KSAN FM's "Live From The Record Plant" series. Recorded almost a year before the release of their first album on A&M Records, the band was still a work in progress. What brought them to national attention was a brash and powerful mix of cutting edge musicianship and in-your-face humor.
Spearheaded by lead vocalist Fee Waybill, The Tubes became one of the most talked-about live acts on the west coast as a result of Waybill's over-the-top showmanship and litany of characters, led by a drug-hazed rock star named Quay Lewd.
Much of what was presented on this radio concert eventually made it to the band's first album, including Tubes staple songs, "What Do You Want From Life?," "Boy Crazy," and "White Punks On Dope." The band was still feeling its way around the material, but the basis for what became the mega-Tubes stage review is clearly here.
What is odd about this recording is that the band performs its rock'n'roll variety show (which is really the best way to describe the mix of dramatics, irreverent humor and riff-driven music) in a recording studio without the feedback it would usually get from a large theater audience. The comedy segments, and there were several at this juncture in the band's development, seem a little odd being out there all by themselves without the obvious response one would hear from the crowd. Still, Waybill and the rest of The Tubes saw the importance of performing for a huge radio audience and the ability to incorporate theater of the mind into its music.
The band opens with a parody of 1950s Sci-Fi camp films, "Up from The Deep/Space Baby," and soon after plays a solid version of "What Do You Want From Life?" "Rock & Roll Hospital" with its comedic intro ends up being nearly 12 minutes long, which is a bit much, but all is forgiven when they launch into a funky read of the TV theme, "Rawhide." Credit must be given to guitarist Bill Spooner and Roger Steen, who give "Rawhide" its authentic twang. "Mondo Bondage" is another Tubes classic that comes alive in this early recording of the band. This show is an absolute must for anyone who may have come to know and love this wacky pop group.