The Tubes, the San Francisco band which pioneered theatrics in rock ‘n’ roll long before MTV and music video made it fashionable, will embark on a national tour in which, for the first time, they will perform their hit 1981 album, The Completion Backward Principle – their first for Capitol Records, produced by Grammy-winner David Foster – in its entirety. Led by lead singer Fee Waybill – known for an array of characters which include iconic, glam-rocking, stacked-heel vocalist Quay Lewd and punk parody Johnny Bugger – The Tubes’ current line-up also includes original members; drummer Prairie Prince, guitarist Roger Steen and bassist Rick Anderson along with longtime keyboardist David Medd.
The tour includes dates in Los Angeles, Dallas, Detroit, Denver and Las Vegas. A full list of dates is below.
Waybill says the choice to perform The Completion Backward Principle in its entirety is the first time they’ve ever done something like this. The album’s theme is a take-off on a spoken-word vinyl record touting a 1950’s motivational sales technique. The group discovered it in a San Francisco record bin. The band has even broken out those gray business suits featured in the 1981 video for good measure.
“The Completion Backward Principle album was a spoof of corporate rock,” insists Fee. The sales technique was that ‘imagination creates reality,’ which it turns out, was a metaphor for someone like me, who grew up singing Beatles songs around the house dying to be in a band.”
After five albums on A&M, The Tubes signed with Capitol Records for The Completion Backward Principle, which teamed them up with producer David Foster for the group’s most commercially successful (and radio-friendly) release to that point, with two hit singles in the power ballad, “Don’t Want to Wait Anymore” (their first to land in the Top 40 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart) and the catchy Top 10 Rock radio anthem, “Talk to Ya Later.”
“David had just produced Earth, Wind & Fire’s Boogie Wonderland, and we loved that album,” says Fee about the approach on the very funk-flavored The Completion Backward Principle, which also includes the beach party set piece, “Sushi Girl,” the Steely Dan-ish “Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman,” the R&B workout “Power Tools” and the stadium classic in waiting, “Let’s Make Some Noise.” “Some of these songs we haven’t played in a really long time,” he adds.
In addition to playing Completion start to finish, The Tubes’ show will include such classics as “White Punks on Dope,” “Mondo Bondage,” “What Do You Want from Life?” “Out of the Business,” “I Want It All Now” and their highest-charting single, “She’s a Beauty.”
“We were parody, we were comedy, we were tragedy, we were satire, we were a big theatrical presentation,” says Waybill of The Tubes, forming in 1972 from the merger of two Phoenix bands who had relocated to San Francisco in 1969 — The Beans and The Red, White & Blues Band, heavily influenced by theatrical acts like Alice Cooper, Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart, the latter of whom actually played on a song with The Tubes.
As for resurrecting the satirical The Completion Backwards Principle, the ever-astute Waybill says the timing couldn’t be better. “The album embodies and pokes fun at the whole idea of the kind of 1984 political double-speak we get from this current President every day.”
Fee even hints there might be some new music on the way, in addition to an upcoming “Lost in the ‘80s” package tour with several of The Tubes’ contemporaries.
“Roger, Prairie and I just went into the studio together,” says Waybill. “We’re really having fun doing this.”
Stream Completion Backward Principle — https://UMe.lnk.to/TheTubesTCBP
April 4: Arcada Theatre, St. Charles, IL*
April 5: Medina Entertainment Center, Medina, MN
April 12: The Rose, Pasadena, CA*
April 13: The Canyon Montclair, Montclair, CA*
May 16: Paramount/Hudson Valley Theatre, Peekskill, NY*
May 17: My Father’s Place at the Roslyn Hotel, Roslyn, NY*
May 18: Riviera Theatre, North Tonawanda, NY*
August 9: Aretha Franklin Theatre, Detroit, MI
August 10: Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre, Greenwood Village, CO
August 24: Theatre at Grand Prairie, Grand Prairie, TX
September 6: Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
September 7: Downtown Las Vegas Events Center, Las Vegas, NV
* = Performing Completion Backward Principle
Visit the official website of The Tubes at www.thetubes.com.