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The Tubes are a San Francisco-based rock band whose 1975 debut album included the hit single “White Punks on Dope”. During its first fifteen years or so, the band’s live performances combined quasi-pornography with wild satires of media, consumerism, and politics.[citation needed] They are perhaps best-remembered for their 1983 single “She’s a Beauty”, a top 10 U.S. hit with a frequently-played music video in the early days of MTV; and in the 1980 film Xanadu singing the rock portion of the cross-genre song “Dancin'” opposite a big band.

The Tubes started as a group of high school friends from Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona. Two Phoenix bands, the Beans and The Red, White and Blues Band, both relocated to San Francisco in 1969 and eventually merged. The new band’s core membership remained largely intact for more than a decade: Fee Waybill (real name John Waldo Waybill) (vocals), Bill “Sputnik” Spooner (guitar, vocals), Roger Steen (guitar), Prairie Prince (real name Charles L. Prince) (drums), Michael Cotten (synthesizer), Vince Welnick (piano), and Rick Anderson (bass). Singer Re Styles (born Shirley Marie MacLeod) (vocals) and ex-Santana percussionist Mingo Lewis were also fixtures for much of the band’s early history.

Show business excess was a common theme of the band’s early work, with Waybill sometimes assuming the onstage persona of “Quay Lewd” (a pun on Quaalude), a drunk, drugged out, barely coherent lead singer, wearing flashing glasses and stilt-like tall platform shoes.

The Tubes put their creativity and art skills mainly into their live performances, in which songs could be full fledged production numbers, from a beach movie parody for “Sushi Girl”, to leather clad S&M hijinks in “Mondo Bondage”, to the game show antics of “What Do You Want from Life?” At their peak, their live act featured dozens of other performers, including tap dancers and acrobats. The Tubes’ stage productions were choreographed by Kenny Ortega and featured cast members Jane Dornacker, LeRoy Jones, Michael Holman, Michael Springer, Cindi Osborn, Heline Gouax, and Mary Niland from 1975-1977. From 1978-1979, the cast included Sharon Collins, Caty Bevan, and Loryanna Catalano. The Completion Backward tour featured Shelly Pang, Cheryl Hangland, and Cynthia Rhodes. From 1983-1985, Michelle Gray (who later married Todd Rundgren) and Cheryl Hangland were principal dancers. Several crew members – including Tour Manager Steve “Chopper” Borges, Lee Collins, and Gail Lowe – made frequent appearances on stage in various roles as well.

Kihncert 2013: The Tubes

Official Website: thetubes.com

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