When Chris, or “Kris” asked me to contribute an occasional review of old crap from my CD pile, I kind of have to ask what he thought he’d get out of it. Since I’m a pack rat and I have no willpower, I’ve got a very low threshold for purchase, something that might cause readers a lot of suffering in the long run.
Swear to Christ, last week I found myself giddy that I had found a CD of pre-war German Big Band music, and I very…nearly…got…to… the cash register.
So, that said, think of these little segments as skirmishes, and I am your platoon leader. Some of you might not make it. That’s just the risk we’re all going to have to take.
For our first outing together, I thought I’d expose you pukes to a CLEANSING FIRE. Gird yourselves, my pretties. Because we’re going to chat about the motherfucking TUBES.
Now, most people, 85% of the people…okay 90% of the people who even know who The Tubes are associate the name with the hated "She's a beauty", the embarrassing single taken from 1981’s ill-conceived abortion, The Completion Backwards Principle
. For our purposes here, we’re going to have to tell those people to take the fucking gas pipe
. We don’t need ‘em.
And besides, the Tubes we’re
talking about are a completely different animal than those pale MTV motherfuckers from 1981. These are Model Year 1975 Tubes. The good Tubes. The ones you should love.
This is the sound of a glam big band. This is seven hippies from the San Francisco bay area spazzing out about 18 months short of when spazzing out became a gleaming commodity in the from of punk. The difference was these guys could play like angels.
Eight songs. All overproduced, overdubbed and airtight. Just a big baroque fucking mess. I love ‘em all. But, you asked for highlights. Here they are:
Track #1: Up From the Deep
A statement of purpose for the band. Vocalist Fee Waybill (a better name than your, I reckon) expounds on the virtues of the band as a good entertainment value
over a bubbling farty synth with tacky Middle Eastern flourishes. Farty synth. Right on.
Track #4: Malagueña Salerosa
A traditional flamenco showboat number, transformed into a robotic bolero. Fun song fact: the song itself is infamous for demanding the singer sustain a note for like 25 bars. Maybe not. I don’t know what a bar is. But the singer has to hold the note for a long goddamn time. Next you run into a wandering flamenco band, DEMAND that song and watch the singer crumple. Then, chuckling, light a cigar with a five dollar note.
Anyway, uh, good song.
Track #5: Mondo Bondage
Big epic semi-instrumental track with a lot CRUNCH. Nonsense lyrics about bondage. BRILLIANT.
Track #8: White Punks on Dope
You don’t know this song, and it makes me sad. So sad, I just vomited a little in my mouth. It’s like some shitty Jay McInerny novel about a poor little rich drug fiend whose parents live in Hollywood. Mysteriously, he lives in San Francisco. He plans to hang himself as so as he gets enough rope. Like Emo, but you’re supposed
to laugh. Unlike Emo, the musicians are competent and rock the fuck out.
So, there you are. Buy it, don’t buy it, I don’t give a shit. It’s a great album, and now you know.
One more factoid: The guy who played keyboards on “Like a Rolling Stone” produced it. Al Kooper. Isn’t that a kick in the ass?
Stay Golden. I’m proud of you all.
PS: Check out my idiot blog: Bastard of Art and Commerce