Tuesday, June 17, 2003

What do you want from life?
An Indian guru
to show you the inner light?
What do you want from life?
A meaningless love affair
with a girl that you met tonight?

It's still (sporadically) 25th college reunion theme week/month/year, and I have to admit it; I still love The Tubes. Not all of their stuff, and not all the time. But someone had to cheer me up and make me laugh after a hard day during those years before the B-52s were around. And -- c'mon, if you're my age -- admit it. Could you keep a straight face through "Don't Touch Me There?" Didn't you play air guitar to "Mondo Bondage"?

How can you tell when you're doin' alright?
Does your bank account swell
While you're dreaming at night?

Migawd, this was in 1975. And a few years later, when the band recorded "The Completion Backward Principle", they were photographed for the album sleeve in business suits, with captions like "Guitar and public relations." Can you say "prescience"?

What do you want from life?
Someone to love
And somebody you can trust?
What do you want from life?
To try and be happy
While you do the nasty things you must?

I also remember hanging out in an apartment with some friends in Los Angeles -- make this the summer of 1978 -- and watching them engage in a favorite ritual. They'd tune the TV to a random channel, turn the sound off, and put a random album on the turntable. That night, one network or another was showing a comic Western movie. The guys turned the sound off just before a classic bar-fight scene. You know the drill. Tables and chairs flying, bottles getting smashed over people's heads, actors in cowboy drag getting tossed out of everything from swinging doors to closed windows. The song playing in the background: None other but the classic anthem "White Punks On Dope".

(In that same year some other friends, on the opposite coast, named their D-league college intramural basketball team "White Popes On Dunk".)

Anyway, I still love The Tubes, and although I haven't followed them in the intervening years, I'm thrilled to find out that an incarnation of the band is still out there playing. When I programmed several cuts off a greatest-hits CD into my player this evening, I had to take off my glasses and squint at the jewel case to read the notes and find the numbers of the songs I wanted. It doesn't matter. I can't imagine a better band to ward off the bifocal blues. If Fee Waybill and Prairie Prince are still out there jammin', I can spare a little effort to keep the rock and roll alive. The song quoted here today is one of my desert-island tunes, and I can't imagine how anyone can ever top their answer to the title question: "What Do You Want From Life?"

Well, you can't have that, but if you're an American citizen you are entitled to:
a heated kidney shaped pool,
a microwave oven--don't watch the food cook,
a Dyna-Gym--I'll personally demonstrate it in the privacy of your own home,
a kingsize Titanic unsinkable Molly Brown waterbed with polybendum,
a foolproof plan and an airtight alibi,
real simulated Indian jewelry,
a Gucci shoetree,
a year's supply of antibiotics,
a personally autographed picture of Randy Mantooth
and Bob Dylan's new unlisted phone number,
a beautifully restored 3rd Reich swizzle stick,
Rosemary's baby,
a dream date in kneepads with Paul Williams,
a new Matador,
a new mastodon,
a Maverick,
a Mustang,
a Montego,
a Merc Montclair,
a Mark IV,
a meteor,
a Mercedes,
an MG,
or a Malibu,
a Mort Moriarty,
a Maserati,
a Mac truck,
a Mazda,
a new Monza,
or a moped,
a Winnebago--Hell, a herd of Winnebago's we're giving 'em away,
or how about a McCulloch chainsaw,
a Las Vegas wedding,
a Mexican divorce,
a solid gold Kama Sutra coffee pot,
or a baby's arm holding an apple?

Lyrics (abridged on this page): Spooner/Evans
Copyright 1975 Pseudo Songs and Swiveltone Music


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