We’re all still insane ...

The Tubes on stage in the 1970s
The Tubes on stage in the 1970s

VETERAN US rockers, The Tubes are coming to Fife for their only Scottish date in a European tour later this month.

With four of the San Francisco based band’s original members in the current five man line-up, lead singer Fee Waybill promised the Press this week the audience are in for a great show at Carnegie Hall on July 25.

Their latest European tour, which starts on July 20, sees the band play just six dates in Germany, the Netherlands and the UK.

The Dunfermline gig is the only one in the UK outside London this time round.

“Everyone is looking forward to it],” explains Waybill. “It’s been a couple of years but we always enjoy it.

“We haven’t played Scotland in quite a while - gee, I can’t remember when the last time was.

“But I love playing there. We have had great gigs in Edinburgh and Glasgow so I’m glad we can manage to squeeze it in.

“We didn’t have very much time for this tour, everyone had other obligations, we just had to pick the best dates and that’s why it’s all pretty tight.”

The Tubes began in Arizona as two small bands that moved to San Francisco in the late 1960s before they merged.

The band’s debut album, released in 1975, included their classic single ‘White Punks on Dope’.

They went on to become known for their satirical and theatric shows, and their 1983 single ‘She’s a Beauty’ was a top 10 US with its music video frequently played on MTV.

But it’s been a number of years since those early days of The Tubes and at the age of 61, Waybill and his bandmates are no longer as yong as they used to be, so what can audiences expect?

“What can they expect? The unexpected,” he laughs. “You know The Tubes, we have a whacky show as we always do.

“I’m insane, what can I tell you. The costumes and the big shoes are all still there.

“We have an interesting show this time. It’s kind of an Italian theme based on the films of Federico Fellini, like ‘La Dolce Vita’.

“We actually do a song in Italian, it’s a Pavarotti song. It’s pretty odd - but as usual we’ll play all the songs that people want to hear.

“It’s still the same. We’re still completely insane and I still do eight to 10 costume changes.

“Everybody is excited about playing and as we always are.

“We don’t do a lot of shows, maybe 35 to 40 a year, so everyone is special and we give it our all.”

Although the band’s wacky shows remain a constant, The Tubes have changed quite a lot over the years.

Waybill said: “We used to be a seven man band and have a lot of extras and dancers and it used to be a humungous and ridiculous production. Then, after years and years on the road, we got tired.

“We never made a huge amoung of money and always spent every dime on the show and production so everybody got burned out.

“In the late 80s we just stopped and had to take a break.

“We broke up and went our separate ways, some did solo things, Mike moved to New York, I moved to LA and started writing solo and doing songs with new people.

“After six or seven years everyone got the urge again to go play so we got back together.

“Some people did not want to come back and Vince Welnick had passed away.

“We got back as a five man band, four of the original guys - Roger Steen, Rick Anderson, Prairie Prince and myself - and we had another keyboard player.

“We’ve gone on since then as a five man band with mostly just me doing the antics.

“We don’t play the gigantic venues we used to play.

“We never took to the bigger venues because of the intimacy of the show the costumes and all the stuff to see, it didn’t really work in a big outdoor venue.

“It was always better in a club so people could see what was going on and we’ve stuck with that.

“It’s not like it used to be now, before we had to sell tickets, make the promoter and the record company happy and get on the road all the time.

“Now we don’t have to do any of that.

“We don’t have to make anyone happy other than ourselves and we get the happiness from our audiences.

“Everyone is a lot happier now than we were back then.

“It’s more of a hobby really not something we make a living from.

“We all have something else going on when we’re not The Tubes, and the music is just a chance for us to get away and have a bit of fun.

“I run a commercial property company, one is a general contractor, Rick deals in cars, Prairie is an artist.

“There’s no pressure, we just go out and we have fun.

“We don’t have to beg some radio guy to play our songs or kiss some promoter’s butt.

“We do the dates we want to do and don’t work too hard. It’s way better.

“We’re more comfortable and the show ends up being better.

“I’m glad we’re getting to go there [Scotland] again this summer.

“It’s been a couple of years since we played the UK and it was only one time in London.

“It will be fun. I’m sure people in Scotland who come to see us will be more than thrilled.”