Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Phoenix area high school musicians get together to form a hard rock band. They move to California in hopes of making it big. Rather than just stand still and play instruments, they incorporate a full blown, shocking, stage show that features outrageous characters along with their music. After developing a cult following with their initial album releases, they hit it big, leading to television and movie appearances. Their music remains a staple of classic rock radio stations today. Of course I’m referring to The Tubes, who return to Scottsdale on Friday, September 13, 2013 at 8:00 p.m. at the Talking Stick Resort Showroom.
The Tubes were formed when three Phoenix area high school friends, drummer, Prairie Prince, guitarist Roger Steen and singer (and at the time, roadie), Fee Waybill of the Red, White and Blues Band, moved to San Francisco in the early 1970’s and merged with another Phoenix area band, the Beans, (Bill Spooner on guitar, Vince Welnick on keyboards and Rick Anderson on bass) who had also relocated to San Francisco. The merger united the satirical lyrics that Spooner penned with the artistic creativity of Prince, keyboard player Michael Cotten and Waybill, thus insuring that a Tubes live show would be anything but routine.
As Waybill said in an interview in 2011, “we had a big band and we started doing gigs and started getting more popular and I started doing costumes and stuff. Then we met Kenny Ortega (choreographer/director of the “High School Musical” trilogy) and he changed everything for us. He said you got to do this and that and we put together this big extravaganza with different characters and dancing girls. We hired girls that were strippers in San Francisco. We had a troupe of four girls that were strippers and had a little comedy bit that they used to do. We hired them and we started doing all these visuals, the Tom Jones bit and the Quay Lewd bit and the Cowboy Fee bit and bondage.”
Despite the extravagant stage shows, the Tubes did not hit mainstream popularity until the band, with the help of producer David Foster, scaled down their act with the 1981 album release “The Completion Backward Principal,” and its hit single “Talk To You Later.” Suddenly the band received substantial radio airplay. The Tubes' success built with the single “She’s A Beauty,” from the 1983 album, “Outside Inside.” The band appeared in the movie “Xanadu,” and Waybill was cast in “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.”
Today, Waybill, Steen, Prince and Anderson remain from the original group. Original guitarist Bill Spooner and keyboard player Michael Cotten no longer tour with the band and original pianist, the late Vince Welnik, has been replaced by David Medd.
Some tickets still remain for the Tubes September 13 appearance at Talking Stick Resort. All tickets are priced at the extremely low price of $25.00 plus fees. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster. Further information can also be obtained through Danny Zelisko Presents and the Talking Stick Resort.