Down The Tubes

What tubes?

Step right up and don’t be shy!  It’s time to put a little more music in your Monday with another one in a million lost song straight out of the circus freak show we like to call the Dusty Vinyl Archive!  DJ Scratchy’s got her mask on and her mane up in a long ponytail and is ready to give your ears the ride of their life, while the Sponkies are armed with wooden canes to ensure you don’t touch the merchandise.  Don’t worry, this show won’t cost you a dollar first…

The 1970’s were a strange decade in the rock business where the concert performance somehow morphed from strapping young men in suits and bowl cuts singing vanilla tunes to an artistic, theatrical performance featuring musicians who appeared to have just escaped from their straitjackets.   Today’s featured artists came from this outrageous West Coast scene, though you might not have known it given that they’re generally only remembered these days (in the US, at least) as being an 80’s one hit wonder with an iconic music video…. a video that only scratches at the surface of what made this band cult heroes of the previous decade…

Buckle up, kiddies…

The Tubes went from an interesting sideshow to big top performers upon the release of their 1983 hit “She’s a Beauty,” accompanied by a video that was very cutting edge for its time.  When it comes to classic 80’s MTV memories, the image of lead singer Fee Waybill (Yes, Fee Waybill) in a carnival barker’s costume has to be right up there with blocky looking blue collar workers in overalls and George Michael shaking his ass in way too short shorts.  This song was The Tubes’ only Top 10 hit in America, so you know it’s not the one we’re featuring on the DVA…. nope.

Let’s talk about a more underrated song instead…

Two years before The Tubes warned us not to fall in love, they released another song with a video that saw early MTV airplay.  Though it literally just missed the Billboard Hot 100 by a single slot, it was a #7 hit on the Mainstream Rock chart, and you know I love it so much more than the better known hit or I wouldn’t be featuring it here.  Let’s go live to The Tubes’ press conference in the basement of The Chileh Bowl and listen to “Talk To Ya Later”…

Press hounds and paparazzi aren’t just a phenomena of the TMZ era, they’ve been around since the days when Jesus Christ became the first Superstar.  Pop culture satire was one of the major components of those outrageous shows The Tubes pulled off in the 70’s, and they carried that over to their music videos when that became the popular genre… here spotlighting the chaotic relationship between media and celebrity better than Lady Gaga or Donald Trump could ever do.  Fee Waybill punches a lot of people in this video, but trust me, they all deserved it…

I’ll talk to ya later, chief!

This isn’t just a cool video to watch, though… it’s also a very fun song to listen to.  That keyboard intermezzo!  That’s a sound you only found in awesome early 80’s songs that get put in some generic catchall category like New Wave and never played on the radio anymore.  And I love the little blotch of synth that punctuates the second line of the chorus.  It’s the perfect way to make an ode to a girl who wouldn’t shut up for six straight months worth having to endure all that yakking…

Not that I know anyone like that

I’ll talk to ya later with another forgotten earworm next Monday…

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About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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25 Responses to Down The Tubes

  1. 1jaded1 says:

    Loved this group..

  2. How about I had no idea those two songs were by the same group. LOL. I enjoyed them both as a kid. HA. Too funny. Thanks for this morning’s smile and stroll down memory lane.

    • I was actually kind of in the same boat… before I saw the video for Talk To Ya Later on VH1 Classic a few years ago, I vaguely remembered the song from back in the day, yet would have never guessed it was The Tubes because I didn’t think they did anything but She’s a Beauty. They’re very different songs musically, but the voice definitely ties them together…

  3. I don’t know them… (bow my head with shame)… they probably didn’t fit into the vamos a la playa, your my heart your my soul thing what infested europe…

  4. Holly says:

    Fun fact: That’s Alexis Arquette in the “She’s A Beauty” video being taken through the “ride”.

    • Someone pointed that out to me once when I used the song in a lyrics game I run… and while I was initially impressed, I quickly realized I had no idea who Alexis Arquette was. Shows how much I pay attention…

  5. What a fun, energetic sound for starting out the week! And yes, I do remember that toe-tapping song and sound. 🎶 Cool share on a cold ‘Moanday’ morning.

    • Brrrrrrrr!!!! I had a feeling we were gonna pay for that warm February. Usually, 20’s in March doesn’t feel that awful, but not this year! The music will keep us moving (and warm) though…

  6. I do remember that song and I liked it. During that timeframe there was SO MUCH music being generated that it was tough to wade through the muck and mire and “stand out” enough to hop onto the charts – lots of good music just didn’t get there. Anyway, thanks for the earworm – this one will keep me company while I clean house today – it’s a perfect dance/clean song!

    Pam

  7. Trisha says:

    I have heard She’s a Beauty about a gazillion times but I don’t remember Talk to Ya Later at all. I guess it had already fallen off the playlist by the time I got my first mini boom box. It’s a good one for this super-tired-because-of-stupid-and-pointless-daylight-savings-time day!

    • Maybe we should rename the song “I’ll Talk To Ya An Hour Later.” My favorite DST comment is always when someone is all happy that they no longer have to drive home from work in the dark… because DST does just the opposite to me. I drive home in the dark in December, January, and the entire last half of March. Go figure…

  8. You are catching me up on a whole missed decade. It’s memory lane for people with amnesia 😀

    • Oh, there’s so much music from the 80’s you missed, it might take a century’s worth of Mondays to feature it all. I’d be happy if I was able to run my Dusty Vinyl posts for that long, though…heck, fictional characters never die, right?

  9. I preferred She’s a Beauty. I have them both in my iTunes library. Talk to You Later wasn’t as catchy for me for some reason.

  10. draliman says:

    I’ve never heard of them. I gave both a listen to and I prefer the other one I think, which apparently reached number 79 in the UK. Their highest charting song in the UK (according to Wiki) was “White Punks on Dope” (number 28, uncharted in the US), which sounds more like 1970s Britain to me.

    • Probably not a surprise since they had more of a punk sound early on, and that took a few years to catch on here (but just in time for The Clash to capitalize). By then, The Tubes had already reinvented themselves…

  11. Thom says:

    Hooray for giving this song some love! Our band covered it back in the day. The Tubes had toned down their act by the time this one came along. Their early days were pretty wild, with all sorts of satirical monkeyshines taking place during their stage shows..For instance, Waybill would come out for “White Punks On Dope” in the persona of crazed rock star Quay Lewd, complete with mammoth high-heeled boots. “She’s A Beauty” was a Celine Dion video by comparison to those days. I seem to recall The Tubes “guesting” on the “Fishin’ Musician” Show with John Candy on an SCTV episode..they might even have played this song, can’t remember .

    • Yep, a lot of that sounds familiar from what I read on them in the Wiki articles I used to brush up on The Tubes. I really didn’t know they’d been around that long…

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