25 January 2008

Something 4 The Weekend # 54

By the mid-70's, Frank Zappa had branched out into just about every conceivable style and genre of music known to semi-educated man. Certainly gone were the highly theatrical shenanigans of his live act circa 1968, replaced with nothing more than the sheer force of the man's charisma and words...No need to rely upon stuffed giraffes spewing whipped cream and the like anymore, not when ya got the best "rock" musicians in the world onstage, not when the music and the message are so strong...
So, who would fill that void? Who could rock righteously, but with a theatrical flair that left the kids slack-jawed and drooling? KISS, you say? Oh sure, they had the circus pomp down cold, but it was too much flash, not enough righteous rocking (save Ace Frehley)...Alice Cooper? Well sure, except by the mid-70's he was dancing with spiders, singing sappy ballads and showtune-sounding treacle, and simply taking himself way too seriously...
The answer, my friends, is The Tubes.
The Tubes emerged fully-trimmed and sarcastic from San Francisco via Phoenix in 1975. They immediately proved themselves rather adept at seemingly every style and genre of music known to semi-educated man. Not only that, but they believed that humor belongs in music, and it ought to be presented with as much silly pomp as possible. And boy, did they deliver.
Mostly, The Tubes targeted the nonsensical ego and excesses of the rock'n'roll lifestyle, but in general they had a fairly profound interest in pop culture, and proved themselves ahead of the curve in terms of music videos...In fact, they knew their live act was killer, and so they shopped a demo music video rather than the typical audio-only demo-tape, and it helped them land their deal with A&M in 1974.
Anyways, this is all my way of simply saying that The Tubes are the rightful heirs to whatever crown Frank Zappa & The Mothers wore circa 1968.
Despite a couple of mainstream hits in the early '80's (again, thanks to music video and The Tubes visual brilliance), I don't think the band ever got their rightful due.
And if you want to extend this thread I got going here, I might suggest that The Flaming Lips are the rightful heirs to The Tubes...And so on and so forth...
Hotcha! Hank

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