After repeatedly hearing just one song on the local radio station Q104, I acquired the 1975 eponymous first album by a San Francisco area band known as The Tubes, produced by the legendary Al Kooper. According to Wikipedia, “The Tubes formed in 1972 in San Francisco from two Phoenix bands after they both relocated to San Francisco in 1969. The Beans…and The Red White and Blues Band…
The band’s loud, heavy jamming style didn’t attract attention and in order to make money the band would go back to Phoenix and sell-out shows to make rent.”
The album had other notable songs, notably White Punks on Dope, but it didn’t grab me as much as another tune. “The album track ‘What Do You Want from Life?’, which became another of the Tubes’ signature songs, satirizes consumerism and celebrity culture and climaxes in a ‘hard-sell’ monologue by [Fee] Waybill, which name-checks celebrities such as Bob Dylan, Paul Williams, and Randolph Mantooth, as well as well-known products of the period, including the Dynagym exercise machine and a host of American vehicles such as the Winnebago and the Mercury Montclair.” It is a peculiar song that I found rather funny, and now, a peculiar time capsule.
The band would gain greater commercial success in the following decade. “In July 2015, they started a 40th-anniversary European tour, including dates in Germany, Sweden, and the UK. Dates in the U.S. followed.”