THE TUBES – Interview with Fee Waybill (transcript)

Watch or listen to the full interview at https://www.15minuteswithchuck.com/the-tubes-interview-with-fee-waybill

Chuck (host) (00:00):

Thanks so much for joining me today. Do you remember “She’s a beauty”? Who can forget that amazing number one hit way back from 1983. Well, I’m please introduce Fee Waybill the lead singer of The Tubes. Now The Tubes are currently on tour presenting their 1983 album outside, inside in its entirety, including the number one hit, She’s a Beauty, plus the Tip of my Tongue and the Monkey Time. Fee also recently released his solo album called Fee Waybill Rides Again. Fee joins me today to talk about their tour and their amazing music.

Chuck (host) (00:57):

Thank you so much for joining me. It’s a pleasure to have you on the show.

Fee Waybill (01:00):

Oh, thank you for having me.

Chuck (host) (01:02):

I don’t know if you remember this, cuz I know you have hundreds of interviews, but we actually spoke my gosh. It’s been two years ago. Oh you. But we didn’t speak for zoom. So the first time I’m seeing you, so thank you again for joining me. Really appreciate to have you

Fee Waybill (01:15):

Here. Okay. Well it’s my pleasure.

Chuck (host) (01:17):

Well, I tell you, one thing I’m really excited about is I was thinking today that, you know, you formed the tubes, you became lead singer of the tubes in 72 that’s 50 years ago.

Fee Waybill (01:28):

Sounds

Chuck (host) (01:29):

50 years ago. And here you are

Fee Waybill (01:31):

Years ago.

Chuck (host) (01:32):

Poor again, how’s it feel?

Fee Waybill (01:34):

Yeah. 50 years ago. God, it’s unbelievable. Isn’t it? Yeah. Yeah, it’s 50 years actually. We were gonna, we were gonna call this the 50 year anniversary tour, but our first record actually wasn’t until 75. Okay. So we’ll do it again in three years. <Laugh>

Chuck (host) (01:54):

That sounds awesome. Well, one thing I love about this tour in particular is it’s the outside inside tour. Yeah. And for, for our listeners out there that I’m sure they’re familiar with the outside inside album she’s a beauty one of your famous hits on there tip my tongue monkey time drums. I love that song Uhhuh <affirmative> that’s what the tour is about. You’re gonna perform that in its entirety. So can you tell us more about that? What can the audience expect?

Fee Waybill (02:19):

Well, we are, we’re gonna do it top to bottom in order. Nice. We, we, you know, we did it last tour. We did completion backward and it, we just went so well and it just, you know, it is such a, it is such a great thing to do a whole record. I mean, and, and I mean, we’ve been rehearsing. We haven’t, we haven’t played some of those songs. Like, like, no, not again or fantastic delusion. We haven’t played those for what, 2030 once 39 years. Wow. Yeah. Since since 83. So I mean yeah, 37 years. Oh

Chuck (host) (03:00):

It it’s such a good album. I actually listened to that today. Cuz I haven’t listened to the album in his entirety for a long time either. And I was like, man, these soldiers bring me back. And I was just wondering, yeah. Going back to 83, when the album came out I’m thinking, you know, she’s a beauty hit number one. And that was when you MTV was all the rave with videos and stuff and, and you had the awesome video. I still remember seeing that for the first time Uhhuh. What was it like when, when she’s a beauty hit, number one, what were you thinking?

Fee Waybill (03:26):

I, I mean, we were all stunned. We were stunned because you know, we had, we, we, we knew it was a great song. I mean I knew that it was a great song and, and with David Foster’s help and Steve Lucifer’s help and the band and we knew it was a great song and and after we had, you know, come really close on the album before with talk to you later and don’t wanna wait anymore. Talk to you later, went to number one in like 15 countries other than the United States. No, they awesome song. You know, we wanted them to release it here. And, and then when we, when we wrote sheet of beauty, we thought, well, this is the rock song. That’s gonna make it. This is gonna, we’re gonna go over the top with this rock song because you know, they wanted a ballad for in 81 with, with the completion backward and you know, ballads were a big, but we were never really a ball band. And we knew that this rock song we’d be playing it forever, you know, for sure. It, it, it just something about it, you know, something about it. It just, it just was like instant for us.

Chuck (host) (04:35):

Oh, well I, I tell you, I’ve been just impressed with, with all your, I wanna talk about your solo album in a bit, but first of I wanna still go back to the tubes. How, how did you guys get your name? How did you come up with the tubes? Where’d that come from?

Fee Waybill (04:49):

Well we, we, before we were the tubes, we were the beans,

Chuck (host) (04:56):

The beans,

Fee Waybill (04:57):

The beans, it was bill Spooner’s band was called the beans and Roger and Prairie. And I joined Bill’s band and we were the beans, but then shortly thereafter, a band from New Jersey came out with an album and their name was the beans. And so, and we had, we didn’t have a record. This was, you know, 72, 73, we didn’t have a record. And so we couldn’t, we had no right to the name and we decided everyone would, you know, we, we had a lot, everybody had, we had the gas men and I mean, we had a whole list of possibilities. And so we couldn’t decide on what to do. And so we said, okay, well let every let’s everybody come up with 10 names, your favorite 10 names, we’ll cut. ’em Up into little strips of paper with a name on ’em and we’ll put him in a hat and we’ll let our dog pick out the winner.

Chuck (host) (05:49):

The dog

Fee Waybill (05:50):

<Laugh> the dog sandwich. His name was sandwich. He was a, he was a Ridgeback. Oh, nice. And we lived in San Francisco and so I think it was Mike who came up with the name and he put a piece, he put mayonnaise on his strip of paper and sandwich went right for the mayonnaise, picked it out. And we went, okay, well, he picked it. And, and then, and what the name he had was tubes rods and bulbs, tubes, rods, and bulbs. And we were going, what tubes rods and what, I mean, first of all, it’s a tongue twister, second of all, they’ll end up shortening it to TRB. And he said, well, tubes, ROS, and bulbs, there are different kinds of cells of the eyeball.

Chuck (host) (06:42):

Wow.

Fee Waybill (06:43):

We went, oh, well, that’s good that that’s visual because we’re so visual. So let’s just make it the tubes let’s cut out ROS and bulbs and just make it the tubes. And you know, it could be boob tubes or fallopian tubes or patho raid tubes or anything having to do with TV and televisions. And I mean, we were, we all, we grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. Okay. And Phoenix is really, really hot mm-hmm <affirmative> and most of the year. And so what do you do? You stay inside and you watch TV all day long and you watch game shows and you watch cowboy shows and you watch, you know, soap operas. And so we just, we were all TV junkies, you know? And we, oh, this is so perfect. You know, this is the, this is what it’s all about. Our, our childhood watching tubes watching, but tube when it’s, and we couldn’t, we wanted it to be boob tube, but they, no, you can’t be. Yeah. You can’t <laugh>, that’s not,

Chuck (host) (07:47):

I like the tubes. I think, you know, it obviously stuck and, and it made history. Now I tell you, I I’m still trying to get over. So a dog named sandwich picked the name with the mayonnaise on it. That makes so much sense even more

Fee Waybill (07:59):

<Laugh> that’s right. That’s perfect. That’s the true story

Chuck (host) (08:03):

Fe, I tell you, I wanna talk real quick about your solo album that you came out with their third one fee RA Wabo rides again.

Fee Waybill (08:09):

Right.

Chuck (host) (08:10):

I personally love that album. It debuted on in the top 10 on Amazon’s new release chart. Yeah, it doesn’t surprise me again. The songs are amazing. I understand Richard Marks as a friend of yours and he encouraged you to write the album. Tell me more about that,

Fee Waybill (08:23):

Richard and I have been best friends pretty much since 1983. He, he showed up in the studio actually, when we were doing sheets of beauty, he showed up, he was a young kid from Chicago and he had placed a song in LA with Lionel Richie. And he told Lionel I wanna meet David Foster. I think he’s a great producer. So Lionel set it up for him to show up at a tube session with David Foster. And he did, and he sat in the back of the room while we were trying to do, you know, recording sheets of beauty. And at the end of the session he came up to me and he said, you know, I really, I really like your lyrics. I’ve been following you guys. And would you write a song with me? And I, I went and I, who were you or where’d you come from?

Fee Waybill (09:15):

You know, he said, well, and he told me his story. And I said, okay, well, okay, fine. So we wrote a song together and and then we wrote another song together. And then, you know, I, I did my first solo album read my lips and, and the song we wrote was on, it was called, who loves your baby, which is remember from Kojack. Yeah. <Laugh> and and so we just, you know, he ended up moving out to LA and we just became friends. We started writing songs for other people and placing songs and we we wrote that number one song for Vixen. Yeah. Living on the edge of a broken heart. Remember, oh my gosh. Yeah. I didn’t know you wrote that. That’s awesome. Yeah. And we, and we just started placing songs all over the place.

Fee Waybill (10:07):

And and so then in about 88, 89, 5 or six years later, he decided I wanna, I wanna be a singer. I wanna do gigs. And so he got a deal and, and at Manhattan records of division of capital and and you know, I started writing and I wrote a bunch of songs on that. I think I wrote first four songs lyrically on that first record. Wow. And he just, it took off, I mean, he sold 3 million records on the first release. Wow. Incredible. And, and then, you know, so I kept writing with him and hanging out and writing and actually the way this record came about, we used to, we, he had three sons and he married this girl, Cynthia Rhode, who used to be a tubes dancer, which is kind of weird. Yeah. He didn’t meet her through us. He made her completely separately, but he lived, he moved back to Chicago because he wanted to raise his sons in Chicago and not LA.

Fee Waybill (11:12):

And so I used to go out to Chicago every summer and we would do a boys only vacation. And we did this for years and years when the boys were young and we, they had a cabin, his dad had a cabin in Minocqua, Wisconsin, which is way up in the north woods, way up to the top of Wisconsin. That’s great. And we would get the boys in the car and we’d drive to Minocqua and we’d hang out in the cabin for a week and we’d, you know, go fishing and go-kart riding and horseback and just do a bunch of boys stuff. And we did this year after year after year. And then it was what, 2013. And I, I went out for the summer and, and we graduated to more exciting boys’ trips, like whitewater rafting and Cody, Wyoming. And there you go, all, we did all kinds of stuff.

Fee Waybill (12:09):

And so that year I came, I got out there and, and the boys said, we, you know, we actually don’t want to go on the vacation. We wanna hang out with our girlfriends. And so, yeah. What do you talk? What do you mean? I, I came all the way. And so Richard said, let’s, you know, let’s let’s go write a song. He had a studio in his house and in he lived in lake forest up, up in north, north Chicago, above Chicago and like Highland park kind of area. And so we went out to the studio and we wrote the first song on the record. We wrote faker

Chuck (host) (12:50):

Faker is awesome.

Fee Waybill (12:52):

And he said, gosh, and it was kind of a guitar centric, kind of an eighties kind of sounding, I love it. Guitar, rock, song, love. He said, let’s, let’s make a record. He said, you haven’t done a record. My previous solo record was 7 98. So that time ago, 15 years ago take record. And so I said, okay. And so we wrote a couple more songs and, and then, you know, and then I went back to LA and a year or so passed and, or maybe two, and then we finally got together again and wrote another one. And then, and finally in 2000, what was it? 18, I believe, or, yeah, I think 2018, he moved to LA mm-hmm <affirmative> and he said, let’s, let’s finish this. I mean, we, we started this six years ago. Let’s, let’s finish it. And so we started booking time and writing songs and doing overdubs and and we spent the rest of that year, 2018 working on the rest of the record. And or maybe it was 2019. But anyway, what we, we got ready. It, we mixed and mastered and we got ready, you know, and we’re looking for a deal. And then what happened? Pandemic?

Chuck (host) (14:12):

Yeah. <Laugh> little thing called COVID.

Fee Waybill (14:14):

Oh yeah. A pandemic. And okay. So we thought, well, this is screwed. We’re gonna, let’s just forget about, and then we let no, let’s just release it ourselves. And people are sitting around quarantined with no nothing to listen to. That’s new and let’s just do it anyway. And so we did, so we released it in, I think it was April or may of, of 2020. And

Chuck (host) (14:44):

Yeah. And it it’s phenomenal again, audience out there fee WEBO rides again, highly recommend. Yeah. And check it

Fee Waybill (14:50):

Out. I’m really proud of it.

Chuck (host) (14:52):

Oh, you should be. Cause I, I tell you, your creativity shines through. I love how you, you know, your first thought of, oh, we can’t do the boys trip. Let’s get creative. Let’s write a song because I wanted to talk real quick. Kinda lastly, talk about your creativity. I mean, cuz not only do you sing phenomenally, but you also dance and act, you’ve been on the big screen bill and Ted’s excellent adventure. You’ve been on the theatrical stage where you played the role of Franken fur from of course rock your picture show. Yeah. And king author and spam a lot. Tell me more about that. That’s interesting.

Fee Waybill (15:21):

I, well, I love the stage. I love, you know, I, I, I, when I was a kid, I always wanted to be an actor and I wanted to be movies, you know? And then I got kind of hooked on the stage when I was in high school. I, we did, we had a great theater director at my high school, Scottsdale high in Arizona. And we would do three or four musicals. I mean, I did music man and sound to music and Camelot and I mean just one AP little Abner and all these musicals. And I love, I said, you know, I love the stages. That’s where I should be. I, I don’t wanna stand around for 30 minutes waiting for take 50 of some TV series or something. I wanna do the stage. And so I, I just continue to stay with the stage.

Fee Waybill (16:10):

And, and I work at this theater this summer stock theater in Augusta, Michigan, which is outside of Kalamazoo it’s called the barn theater and they do about eight plays every summer. And that’s where I’ve done Rocky horror for, you know, a hundred times I did spa lot there, which is the greatest play I’ve ever done. Spamalot is classic. Eric. I got to meet Eric idol once at a party here in LA and I just gushed. I was so embarrassing and I, oh my God, Eric idol is you’re the greatest I, I did, you know, I did. I played king Arthur and I he’s fun. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Okay. Just relax. Just relax. And so I, I just, you know, I just, I found my world on the stage and I can lose myself and I can do these characters. I can do Quaalude. I can do the game show guy. I can do. I can do Johnny bugger. I can do all these other people that are inside me. And I just, I, I lose it. I sometimes I completely lose it and get really whacked and carried away. But it’s just like a fantasy world for me. And I, I’m lucky I get to do this. I get to freak out and be some other psycho person, you know, it’s great.

Chuck (host) (17:38):

Oh, fee. You were so talented. I mean, it comes through in your music, it comes through in just your life and your passion for, you know, just everything, even poetry. I still working on that second book. I think of poetry. Right.

Fee Waybill (17:48):

I am actually, I am working on the second book. Yeah. and you know, I, I don’t know. I just, I’m so lucky. And my voice is really held up over the years and I’m looking so forward to getting out on this outside, inside tour. And it’s been so long, I’ve been a real pain in the for my wife. I have to say, you know, I’ve been,

Chuck (host) (18:09):

She’s like, go on the road for you. Come on, get out there. You

Fee Waybill (18:11):

Need to be the state, just call. Yeah. Oh, and I, you know, when it first happened, I was, oh my God. My world is over that. It’ll never come back and I was depressed and I was, you know, and she said, honey, it’s gonna come back. It, it, it is, it’ll, we’ll get over this, we’ll get through it. Something will happen. And it’ll, you’ll get back out there on the stage. You’ll be okay. Just have faith, you know, have faith. Absolutely. So I, okay. Okay. I, I guess so. Okay. And so I, I still have faith and I still, you know, when I was a hippie years ago in the seventies we used to read the eing, you know, the eing, the Chinese book of changes. And I, you ask it a question and you throw the coins and then the book tells you the answer, you look it up and you find the answer.

Fee Waybill (19:04):

And so I did it, I still remembered this and I did it. I threw the coins. And my question was, what is my purpose on this planet? And it came up and I, and I threw the coins and it came up and I looked it up. And I, and the answer was taming of the small bringing joy to the small one by one. And I thought, yeah, that, that’s what I do. I bring joy to these people one at a time when I, you know, and they’re in the front row, looking at me with their, you know, googly eyes going, oh my God. And I, and I can feel the joy pouring out of them. And the joy is pouring out of me to them. And it’s just a, it’s a, you know, it’s a wonderful thing. It’s a wonderful, oh,

Chuck (host) (19:56):

It’s incredible. Thank you so much for sharing that. Cuz that’s, that’s who you are. I mean, you you’ve, you’ve made such an impact on so many people, including me and stuff. I just wanna thank you for your awesome music for your awesome career. I wanna thank you so much for joining me today. Really appreciate it.

Fee Waybill (20:09):

Well, it’s my pleasure, Chuck.

Chuck (host) (20:16):

Why I really enjoy my conversation with Fee today and I hope you did too. I’m so excited about their tour and about their presentation of outside inside. I think it’s gonna be phenomenal if you’d like to check out their tour, learn more about them. Just go to their website at thetubes.com. I wanna thank Fee for joining me today. I wanna thank you for joining us as well. If you can do us a small favor and share this episode with a friend or like it, we’d certainly appreciate it. Thank you so much for joining us. We’ll see you next time. God bless.

 

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