The group's mix of simulated sex and hard rock landed them some primo opening spots, setting the stage for New York Dolls, Led Zeppelin, Frank Zappa, and Peter Gabriel. Their big hit, "White Punks on Dope," is considered by many to be a proto-punk classic.
The band was inducted into the Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2007, and on August 13, they will headline the KDKB 40th Anniversary Concert at Foundry on First.
Promoter/Foundry owner Danny Zelisko has long been involved with The Tubes. In 1973, when future Tubes members were still a part of The Beans, the band opened for Led Zeppelin and Roy Harper at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco.
"My job was to put trash can liners in all the trash cans around the stadium," Zelisko says. "I ended up playing 8-track tapes between sets, because Jimmy Page was on acid [and late]. He took a regular plane and didn't join the rest of the band on their private jet."
"Beans did not go over well, as I remember," Zelisko says. "[Frontman] Fee Waybill was tossing candy into the crowd, telling everyone it was Quaaludes, and tossing sugar out saying it was cocaine."
Zelisko recalls an unlikely double bill put on by KDKB at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. "It was The Tubes and Little Feat, and tickets cost a dollar," he says. "20,000 people paid a dollar to get in."
Zelikso's favorite Tubes concert found them paired with Todd Rundgren at Gammage Auditorium. Rundgren produced two of the group's major label albums.
"I wish I could get the word across to young people," Zelisko says of The Tubes ahead-of-the-curve career. "They aren't a punk band, but they are an art band. They have a Warholian weirdness to them."