Baby Your Face Is Mutated

The Tubes are a San Francisco-based theatre rock band founded in the early 1970s and known for their live performances which combined lewd quasi-pornography and wild satires of media, showbiz excess, consumerism and politics.

Influenced by the Mothers of Invention and Captain Beefheat & his Magic Band — The Tubes performed covers of Frank Zappa’s ‘More Trouble Every Day’ and ‘King Kong’ in a 1972 concert, and recorded a cover version of Beefheart’s ‘My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains’ on their 1977 album, NOW.

Their 1978 album, What Do You Want From Live, is considered by many to be the quintessential “live” album. I tend to agree. I was also fortunate enough to see The Tubes live myself in 1981. I was not disappointed. Their live shows are legendary. After they broke up in the late 80s I thought that was it for The Tubes, but fortunately for new fans, after the release of their 1996 “return to form” album, Genius of America (after several disappointing efforts in the 1980s), a reformed line-up of The Tubes began touring again, including:

Fee Waybill (lead singer/songwriter)
Roger Steen (lead guitar/vocals)
Prairie Prince (drums/percussion)
Rick Anderson (bass)
David Medd (keyboards)

(Note that David Medd was invited to sing on Genius of America by Gary Cambra who has since left The Tubes to do solo projects).

If you can’t see The Tubes live, yourself, there’s always The Tubes Wild West Show on DVD (Unlike the live album, it doesn’t have any of those nasty “bleeps” the record company censors loved so much in the late 70s).

BTW, I know who I’d like to dedicate this particular video to…

29 Responses to “Baby Your Face Is Mutated”

  1. Jamez says:

    I love The Tubes! I’ve got most of their albums. Beefheart also plays harmonica and sax on ‘Now’. I never knew they did a cover of ‘Trouble Every Day’ and ‘King Kong’. A lot of their stuff reminds me of Frank, but with a more commercial edge and less experimental.
    One question is, did FZ know about them and what did he think of them?
    P.S. I wish Zappa had produced one of their albums, that would be my dream team-up!

  2. Jamez says:

    P.P.S. Thanks for that post. Maybe more people will get to know about this amazing band!

  3. urbangraffito says:

    Yes, a Zappa produced Tubes album would’ve been something akin to Beefheart’s ‘Trout Mask Replica’ and not entirely outside the realm of total possibility since FZ produced Grand Funk Railroad’s ‘Good Singin, Good Playin’, but alas it wasn’t to be…
    I recognized the Zappaesque qualities to The Tubes from the very first time I heard them. And like FZ, their songs weren’t just novelty songs, but satire as well (i.e. Slipped My Disco, Proud To Be An American, Boy Crazy, Pimp, Poland Whole/Madam I’m Adam). I hope I get the chance to see them live in concert again.
    Do you recall their appearance on the SCTV episode of “Fishing Musicians” with the late John Candy? SCTV was filmed in Edmonton at the same time I saw them in 1981.

  4. Hugh says:

    I do remember The Tubes on SCTV, urbang. Perfect band for that show. I was lucky enough to catch them during that time period. They are a very visual band but were obviously talented musicians as well(I can never forget Fee Waybil swinging a very realistic chain-saw over the heads of the audience at Radio City Music Hall, complete with sound & smoke). It was easy to hear the ZAppa/beefheart influence. I love their excellent cover of “My Head is my only House”. JAmez I agree with you, they are a great band. Don’t be fooled by their pop radio hits. They are fantastic live! Judging from the clip above they still got it. They still tour to this day. I will try my best to catch them next time around. I suggest to everyone, not to miss these living legends of RnR! Go to http://www.thetubes.com/. I believe they are on tour at the moment with Richard Marx. Personally, I’ll wait for a solo show!

  5. Roland says:

    “Remote Control” was my first album to listen to from “The Tubes”. I still have the vinyl. It is a concept album about a television-addicted idiot savant. The cover of “Remote Control” is also a classic, showing a baby watching “The Hollywood Squares” in a specially made “Vidi-Trainer”. I was very attracted by the cover photo which reminded me of Aldous Huxley´s “Brave New World” in a way. By the way: It´s produced by Todd Rundgren.
    “The Completion Backward Principle”, another concept album, positioned itself as a motivational business document, complete with shocking pictures of the band members cleaned up and wearing suits. I always thought, it was their “We´re only in it for the money”.
    In 1978 “The Tubes” headlined the Knebworth Festival with Frank Zappa and Peter Gabriel. So they knew each other for sure!

  6. Dr Sharleena says:

    There are two concerts available on Wolfgang’s Vault
    http://concerts.wolfgangsvault.com/dt/fuck-concert/2483-7903.html
    It is possible to listen to them online if you are suscribed (listening as we speak). I didn’t know them, very interestinK!

  7. urbangraffito says:

    By the way, if you are living in the U.S., U.K., or Germany, you can log onto Last.FM and listen to full-length tracks and entire albums for free. So for the only Tubes albums currently available for streaming are their self-titled debut album, The Tubes, What Do You Want From Live, Remote Control, and The Best of The Tubes (a good start for anyone new to Tubes…)
    And those two concerts on Wolfgang’s Vault are really a must for any Tubes fan to listen to (several tracks were never released on any Tubes album or compilation — i.e. Dr. Strangekiss, for instance).

  8. Roland says:

    The album “Remote Control” ioffers a song, which treats the situation ZFT vs FZ fans from FZ´s widow point of view quite well: It´s “I want it all now”:
    What’s on the other side of the wall
    Seems like my world has gotten so small
    Where are the friends who don’t ever call
    Is there an answer to these questions at all
    When will they come and open the door
    I can’t hold out anymore
    I just can’t wait to have it all now
    Just take it one thing at a time
    I want it all now
    You’ll have to learn to wait in line
    I’ll get it some way, somehow
    I want it all now
    All now

  9. urbangraffito says:

    Roland, in response, I offer the lyrics from a song from The Tubes album, NOW:
    “You’re No Fun”
    How many men can say they knew you
    How many women tried it too
    You’ve done your best to wreck my life
    Kiss and smile and twist the knife
    And I know you can’t believe it
    But you’re no fun
    You’re no fun
    You’re no fun
    You’re just no fun
    You’re always in some kind of mood
    Another foolish attitude
    You say I’m loaded constantly
    I think you’re more messed up than me
    I know you can’t believe it
    But you’re no fun
    You’re no fun
    You’re no fun
    You’re just no fun
    You’re no fun
    You’re no fun
    You’re no fun
    You’re just no fun

  10. Jamez says:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    Yes, a Zappa produced Tubes album would’ve been something akin to Beefheart’s ‘Trout Mask Replica’ and not entirely outside the realm of total possibility since FZ produced Grand Funk Railroad’s ‘Good Singin, Good Playin’, but alas it wasn’t to be…
    I recognized the Zappaesque qualities to The Tubes from the very first time I heard them. And like FZ, their songs weren’t just novelty songs, but satire as well (i.e. Slipped My Disco, Proud To Be An American, Boy Crazy, Pimp, Poland Whole/Madam I’m Adam). I hope I get the chance to see them live in concert again.
    Do you recall their appearance on the SCTV episode of “Fishing Musicians” with the late John Candy? SCTV was filmed in Edmonton at the same time I saw them in 1981.

    Funnily enough, just listened to ‘Poland Whole/Madam I’m Adam’ just before I read this post!
    P.S. What about ‘It’s been six months, she hasn’t shut up once’ (Talk To Ya Later) for a Gail lyric?!

  11. Weirdomusic says:

    Someone once told me there was a link between the Tubes and the Residents (meaning that members of the Tubes actually were members of the Residents as well). Anyone else ever hear of these rumours?

  12. Jamez says:

    A quote from Weirdomusic:

    Someone once told me there was a link between the Tubes and the Residents (meaning that members of the Tubes actually were members of the Residents as well). Anyone else ever hear of these rumours?

    No, but I heard Beefheart’s keyboard/bass player Eric Drew Feldman worked with the Residents.

  13. urbangraffito says:

    Jamez says:
    P.S. What about ‘It’s been six months, she hasn’t shut up once’ (Talk To Ya Later) for a Gail lyric?!
    Jamez, methinks the lyrics of this very post are indeed the most suitable, at least to me…here are some excerpts borrowed from The Tubes official site:
    “As I came back from galaxy seven
    I’d dream of your face and I’d be in heaven
    You used to be so very neat
    Now your features are all fried meat
    Ooo ooo baby, your face is mutated
    Mutated”
    “When I look at you baby I wish you were dead now
    You used to be the one I trusted, but not anymore
    Seeing you now just leaves me disgusted”
    “It’s not your fault, you know it’s true
    That I wanted to puke when I laid eyes on you
    You know I love you always
    But your nose is on, uh, sideways
    Your face really ate it”
    “Baby Your Face Is Mutated”
    (But enough said regarding Laurel Canyon…)
    If you really like The Tubes early albums, I suggest you listen to Genius of America. After 80s albums such as Outside Inside and Love Bomb, it was a great return to form (i.e. Remote Control, What Do You Want From Live). “Who Names The Hurricanes” is a fantastic track with a great bass line.

  14. Jamez says:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    Jamez says:
    P.S. What about ‘It’s been six months, she hasn’t shut up once’ (Talk To Ya Later) for a Gail lyric?!
    Jamez, methinks the lyrics of this very post are indeed the most suitable, at least to me…here are some excerpts borrowed from The Tubes official site:
    “As I came back from galaxy seven
    I’d dream of your face and I’d be in heaven
    You used to be so very neat
    Now your features are all fried meat
    Ooo ooo baby, your face is mutated
    Mutated”
    “When I look at you baby I wish you were dead now
    You used to be the one I trusted, but not anymore
    Seeing you now just leaves me disgusted”
    “It’s not your fault, you know it’s true
    That I wanted to puke when I laid eyes on you
    You know I love you always
    But your nose is on, uh, sideways
    Your face really ate it”
    “Baby Your Face Is Mutated”
    (But enough said regarding Laurel Canyon…)
    If you really like The Tubes early albums, I suggest you listen to Genius of America. After 80s albums such as Outside Inside and Love Bomb, it was a great return to form (i.e. Remote Control, What Do You Want From Live). “Who Names The Hurricanes” is a fantastic track with a great bass line.

    Ha Ha, you’re right Gail is definately NOT the babe she once was in the Sixties and she IS going OTT with genuine Zappa fans!
    Re The Tubes: I actually like some of the songs on ‘Outside Inside’ (the funky ‘Tip Of My Tongue’ for example), but haven’t heard ‘Love Bomb’. Allegedly Todd Rundgren was letting a lot of band members get wasted on drugs in the studio, when they made the latter album.
    Haven’t heard ‘Genius Of America’ either. Any idea when the Tubes movie is coming out? I heard they were making a documentary about there early days. I saw a trailer on the internet.

  15. urbangraffito says:

    Jamez, the movie you speak of is actually a new feature length documentary that is in production, directed by Tubes synth player Michael Cotten. You can hear more about it, plus a lot of archival material at:
    http://www.thetubesproject.com/
    Also of interest is former bandmate’s Bill “Sputnik” Spooner’s current project: The Folk-Ups.
    http://www.folk-ups.com/

  16. Jamez says:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    Jamez, the movie you speak of is actually a new feature length documentary that is in production, directed by Tubes synth player Michael Cotten. You can hear more about it, plus a lot of archival material at:
    http://www.thetubesproject.com/
    Also of interest is former bandmate’s Bill “Sputnik” Spooner’s current project: The Folk-Ups.
    http://www.folk-ups.com/

    Thanks one thousand times (and more)!! The movie sounds like Tubes heaven. Also seen ‘Jesus Bongo’ on the You Tube Tubes section. Who knew they could be as funky as James Brown?!
    First saw The Tubes in the Xanadu movie (‘Dancin’) when I was about 10 years old but only got into their music a few years ago (same with FZ).
    P.S. Wish Bill Spooner would rejoin The Tubes. I’d love to hear him sing ‘Young And Rich’, ‘Slipped My Disco’, ‘Don’t Wanna Wait Anymore’, ‘Space Baby’ or ‘Pimp’ again.

  17. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Jamez:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    Jamez, the movie you speak of is actually a new feature length documentary that is in production, directed by Tubes synth player Michael Cotten. You can hear more about it, plus a lot of archival material at:
    http://www.thetubesproject.com/
    Also of interest is former bandmate’s Bill “Sputnik” Spooner’s current project: The Folk-Ups.
    http://www.folk-ups.com/

    Thanks one thousand times (and more)!! The movie sounds like Tubes heaven. Also seen ‘Jesus Bongo’ on the You Tube Tubes section. Who knew they could be as funky as James Brown?!
    First saw The Tubes in the Xanadu movie (‘Dancin’) when I was about 10 years old but only got into their music a few years ago (same with FZ).
    P.S. Wish Bill Spooner would rejoin The Tubes. I’d love to hear him sing ‘Young And Rich’, ‘Slipped My Disco’, ‘Don’t Wanna Wait Anymore’, ‘Space Baby’ or ‘Pimp’ again.

    Jamez, if you head over to “Sputnik” Spooner’s site — http://www.billspooner.com/ — you can listen to (and download if you so choose) a live acoustic version of him performing ‘Young And Rich’ with his son Boone Spooner (a drummer, btw). Great version, too, if you’re familiar with the album version. There’s also an acoustic version of ‘Talk to You Later’ on the Folk-Ups site.

  18. Jamez says:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    A quote from Jamez:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    Jamez, the movie you speak of is actually a new feature length documentary that is in production, directed by Tubes synth player Michael Cotten. You can hear more about it, plus a lot of archival material at:
    http://www.thetubesproject.com/
    Also of interest is former bandmate’s Bill “Sputnik” Spooner’s current project: The Folk-Ups.
    http://www.folk-ups.com/

    Thanks one thousand times (and more)!! The movie sounds like Tubes heaven. Also seen ‘Jesus Bongo’ on the You Tube Tubes section. Who knew they could be as funky as James Brown?!
    First saw The Tubes in the Xanadu movie (‘Dancin’) when I was about 10 years old but only got into their music a few years ago (same with FZ).
    P.S. Wish Bill Spooner would rejoin The Tubes. I’d love to hear him sing ‘Young And Rich’, ‘Slipped My Disco’, ‘Don’t Wanna Wait Anymore’, ‘Space Baby’ or ‘Pimp’ again.

    Jamez, if you head over to “Sputnik” Spooner’s site — http://www.billspooner.com/ — you can listen to (and download if you so choose) a live acoustic version of him performing ‘Young And Rich’ with his son Boone Spooner (a drummer, btw). Great version, too, if you’re familiar with the album version. There’s also an acoustic version of ‘Talk to You Later’ on the Folk-Ups site.

    Thanks again!!! You’re right, it’s a great version of that acoustic guitar-led song. Also liked the ‘country’ version of ‘Talk To Ya Later’.

  19. Jamez says:

    A quote from Roland:

    “Remote Control” was my first album to listen to from “The Tubes”. I still have the vinyl. It is a concept album about a television-addicted idiot savant. The cover of “Remote Control” is also a classic, showing a baby watching “The Hollywood Squares” in a specially made “Vidi-Trainer”. I was very attracted by the cover photo which reminded me of Aldous Huxley´s “Brave New World” in a way. By the way: It´s produced by Todd Rundgren.
    “The Completion Backward Principle”, another concept album, positioned itself as a motivational business document, complete with shocking pictures of the band members cleaned up and wearing suits. I always thought, it was their “We´re only in it for the money”.
    In 1978 “The Tubes” headlined the Knebworth Festival with Frank Zappa and Peter Gabriel. So they knew each other for sure!

    Are there any links for pics of the 1978 Knebworth Festival? By the way weren’t Genesis on the bill that year? Were they studiously avoiding the Angel Gabriel, who left in ’75?!

  20. urbangraffito says:

    Jamez says:
    Are there any links for pics of the 1978 Knebworth Festival? By the way weren’t Genesis on the bill that year? Were they studiously avoiding the Angel Gabriel, who left in ‘75?!
    The only link for pics of the 1978 Knebworth Festival concerning the Tubes are press photos at: http://www.thetubesproject.com/ (though I don’t think there are actual photos from the festival itself). The Tubes performed in 1978 closing the festival after performances by Frank Zappa and Genesis.
    Ahhh, the summer of 1978, the summer a foxy 17 year old (and total Tubes fanatic) turned me on to the Tubes while I turned her on to Frank Zappa and we turned on to each other…what a summer…

  21. Jamez says:

    Onl
    A quote from urbangraffito:

    Jamez says:
    Are there any links for pics of the 1978 Knebworth Festival? By the way weren’t Genesis on the bill that year? Were they studiously avoiding the Angel Gabriel, who left in ‘75?!
    The only link for pics of the 1978 Knebworth Festival concerning the Tubes are press photos at: http://www.thetubesproject.com/ (though I don’t think there are actual photos from the festival itself). The Tubes performed in 1978 closing the festival after performances by Frank Zappa and Genesis.
    Ahhh, the summer of 1978, the summer a foxy 17 year old (and total Tubes fanatic) turned me on to the Tubes while I turned her on to Frank Zappa and we turned on to each other…what a summer…

    Only wish I’d been old enough to go to Knebworth that year!

  22. urbangraffito says:

    Just got this youtube link from The Tubes Project, it’s a video of the early Tubes, circa 1974, with Roger Steen singing “Crazy About Your Daisy.”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iF2DebKVRlQ

  23. Jamez says:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    Just got this youtube link from The Tubes Project, it’s a video of the early Tubes, circa 1974, with Roger Steen singing “Crazy About Your Daisy.”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iF2DebKVRlQ

    Cool! Only other Steen lead vocal I’ve heard (correct me if I’m wrong) is ‘Brighter Day’ on ‘Young and Rich’.

  24. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Jamez:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    Just got this youtube link from The Tubes Project, it’s a video of the early Tubes, circa 1974, with Roger Steen singing “Crazy About Your Daisy.”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iF2DebKVRlQ

    Cool! Only other Steen lead vocal I’ve heard (correct me if I’m wrong) is ‘Brighter Day’ on ‘Young and Rich’.

    Jamez, I figured you might get a kick from this medley of Tubes tracks from their 1977 London engagement (I tracked this down for my son who has never seen a live Tubes show):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcRWjB6pJ10&feature=related

  25. Hugh says:

    Here’s Tubes on SCTV with John Candy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7aO5eRkSxk&feature=related

  26. Jamez says:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    A quote from Jamez:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    Just got this youtube link from The Tubes Project, it’s a video of the early Tubes, circa 1974, with Roger Steen singing “Crazy About Your Daisy.”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iF2DebKVRlQ

    Cool! Only other Steen lead vocal I’ve heard (correct me if I’m wrong) is ‘Brighter Day’ on ‘Young and Rich’.

    Jamez, I figured you might get a kick from this medley of Tubes tracks from their 1977 London engagement (I tracked this down for my son who has never seen a live Tubes show):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcRWjB6pJ10&feature=related

    Yeah!! It’s even got them performing my fave Tubes track ‘Haloes’!

  27. Juan Fkng Iota says:

    I am beyond stoked to see so many huge Tubes fans.
    I’ve been to around twenty shows (minimum) and been following them since the early seventies.
    I can’t believe someone here is blaming Rundgren for “allowing” anyone to do drugs. Give me a break.
    Thank GOD for “Remote Control and thankfully T. Rundgren was in on it since the result was just so damn perfect. Remote control is deep and comical, on so many levels and way ahead of its time. Shit, the TUBES were way ahead of their time in several ways. (As was Zappa, Oingo Boingo, Steely, Grateful Dead, Zep, T. Heads) sheesh I am ranting now aren’t I?
    Every one of the Tubes- Santa Barbara shows in the late seventies and eighties were phenomenal.
    To answer the one question asked about the bands connection.
    Yes there is a connection to “The residents”.
    The Tubes grew out of the merger between two of the bands the boys bought with them when they moved from Arizona.
    I can understand the mental link between FZ and the Tubes even if I had never thought of this issue. I love them both just about equally and always thought of them as growing independently.
    Note:
    Rest in Peace Vince Welnick, you will ALWAYS be a integral part of the TUBES. I wish you were still around and healthy.

  28. RobertS says:

    A quote from RobertS:

    Someone once told me there was a link between the Tubes and the Residents

    Tubes guitarist/singer/composer Bill Spooner released his first solo record “First Chud” on The Residents’ own Ralph Records label, and upon the death of Philip “Snakefinger” Lithman (a heart attack at age 38) played guitar on live performances by The Residents – though he, like Snakefinger, was never a member proper of the group.

  29. FrenkZeppe says:

    Zappanale ;)