Über The Tubes
The Tubes' longest legacy has proven to be a string of '80s New Wave comps featuring "She's a Beauty" and "Talk to You Later." Unfortunately, the 80s' version of the Tubes is like an inert boulder blocking the entrance to an opulent treasure room. During the 1970s, the Tubes were responsible for some of the strangest records of a very strange musical decade. Best described as "Disco Prog," their first two records sounded like a tangle of tracks swept up off the Rocky Horror Picture Show cutting floor. The band's opening pitch, "White Punks on Dope," is equal parts Sparks, Television and New York Dolls. The very Tom Verlaine sounding Fee Waybill sang in a coked-up coloratura that well suited the band's theatrical stage performances -- performances which to this day remain the stuff of legend. For a taste of how bizarre this band could be, dip a fingernail into the arch satire of "Mondo Bondage" or "Slipped My Disco." After a disappointing third album, the band turned to producer Todd Rundgren to set them back on track. The result, 1979's Remote Control, sounds like Rundgren's best album ever (too bad somebody else made it). After Remote Control, the tale of the Tubes is one of an upward traverse into the charts and a slow slide into the MTV-pandering AOR that gave us Greg Kihn and Huey Lewis. It will be interesting to see which checkered past the newly reunited Tubes 2000 attempt to cash in on -- disco provocateurs or MTV frequent flyers.