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Articles Home » 1979 Articles » Tubes, The - 1979 Remote Control
Tubes, The - 1979 Remote Control

ARTIST: Tubes, The
ALBUM: Remote Control
YEAR: 1979
CD REISSUE: 2007, American Beat, 24572


LINEUP: Fee Waybill - vocals * Bill Spooner - guitars * Roger Steen - guitars * Prairie Prince - drums * Rick Anderson - bass * Vince Welnick - keyboards * Michael Cotten - keyboards * Re Styles - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Turn Me On * 02 TV Is King * 03 Prime Time * 04 I Want It All Now * 05 No Way Out * 06 Getoverture * 07 No Mercy * 08 Only The Strong Survive * 09 Be Mine Tonight * 10 Love's A Mystery (I Don't Understand) * 11 Telecide


'Remote Control' was the start of The Tubes gradual descent into AOR territory, but was perhaps their heaviest album also. It saw the band losing much of the shock value of earlier albums, toning down the visual imagery and concentrating more on the music. The album was a concept about the danger of TV and its life wasting possibilities. The Tubes made it work, using every styling of rock to make it effective. AOR, hard rock, punk, funk, it's all present, proving for many the genius of Fee Waybill and his cohorts.

The Songs
The Tubes were extensive practitioners of the keyboard and 'Turn Me On' is a fine showcase of Cotten and Welnick's prowess. T.V. Is King' has huge AOR type backing harmonies, short and sweet at just over three minutes. Re Styles joins Waybill for a duet on the hit single 'Prime Time' which ventures into offbeat MOR circles, but the bridge is glorious melodically and Spooner adds a nice solo. 'I Want It All Now' concerns someone trapped in his living room watching TV, unaware of the world outside. Sounds like the people I work with. However this songs chorus is impossible to disregard. It never becomes tiresome, its melody of the supreme AOR variety. Delightful reggae breakdown mid song also. 'No Way Out' shows how hard The Tubes could play, a total beast of a rocker. Spooner and Steen deliver with savage intent. 'No Mercy' is very close in practice to 10cc, a quirky little ditty, with the sax breaking out. 'Only The Strong Survive' has a funk tinged chorus with deliciously crafted background chants. Love the lyrics about losing your life to TV! 'Loves A Mystery (I Don't Understand)' is an early example of a Tubes AOR ballad, a very underrated song. Waybill gives it all and Spooner adds the necessary solo needed, short and melodic. Very nice! It ends on a heavy note with 'Telecide' which has punk overtones, notably Waybill's demented bellowing vocals. The keys and guitar solo's midway through are very similar to Supertramp's 'Child Of Vision' that same year, only more heavier and fulfilling.

In Summary
This album is quite an adventure. Not too many acts could pull off such a diverse recording, but The Tubes were different from the start. The success they obtained in the 80's was well earned, and if there was a band who have never gotten their due as one of rock's best, then it is they. The AOR aspect was creeping up on them; those harmonies are quite superb. I even considered adding this to my all time top twenty the other week, if any more proof is needed to is quality. A crucial acquisition to any rock fans collection.

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#1 | gdazegod on February 24 2011 07:05:44
I've read reports that the sound quality on this American Beat reissue of this album is absolutely appalling..
#2 | Eric on February 24 2011 12:19:34
Great album cover. Those old TV's go for huge bucks right now- wish I still had one...
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