The Tubes - Genius Of America

The Tubes – Genius Of America

83 / 100

Effectively a comeback album for Fee Waybill and The Tubes troops, and probably not as immediate as their earlier material, particularly those safe sounding AOR efforts such as ‘The Completion Backward Principle’, or ‘Outside Inside’.

Written by: gdmonline

ARTIST: The Tubes
ALBUM: Genius Of America
LABEL: Popular Records
SERIAL: 01624-12007-2
YEAR: 1996
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Fee Waybill – vocals * Gary Cambra – guitars, keyboards * Roger Steen – guitars * Rick Anderson – bass * Prairie Prince – drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Genius Of America * 02 Arms Of The Enemy * 03 Say What You Want * 04 How Can You Live With Yourself * 05 Big Brothers Still Watching * 06 After All You Said * 07 Fishhouse * 08 Fastest Gun Alive * 09 I Never Saw It Comin’ * 10 Who Names The Hurricanes * 11 It’s Too Late * 12 Around The World



Effectively a comeback album for Fee Waybill and the Tubes troops. Pretty hard to stem the tide of a San Francisco legacy, and obviously a demand from the public to see this wacky mob back in action again. It’s not as if they were sitting around doing nothing. In between years everyone had been busy. No more so than Waybill who had kept busy with songwriting and session work, including working with good friend Richard Marx.

Never one to wax lyrical about his offbeat approach to music and public performance, you can easily see why Waybill befits the description of wayward genius, perhaps in the same way as the late Kevin Gilbert, though obviously, not with a similar sort of deathwish. A few familiar faces are gathered around the campfire again, plus new boy Gary Cambra, however we’re not out in the woods singing boy scouts songs, but back in the groove with a smattering of twisted humour and musical satire, as can be expected from this collective.

The Songs

Opening up with the title track ‘Genius Of America’, the band attempts to rock straight out like their younger pretenders and do so admirably. ‘Arms Of The Enemy’ has a darker but post modern edge to it. In the meantime, ‘Say What You Want’ is straight ahead melodic rock, while ‘How Can You Live With Yourself’ is a tender acoustic piece, as is the smooth Poco flavoured ‘After All You Said’.

Continuing with this theme is the track ‘Around The World’, quite ambient, and similar to Toto (circa ‘Tambu’). On the wacky side however, we get the power pop of ‘Big Brothers Still Watching’, the funked out zaniness of ‘Who Names The Hurricanes’ (listen to the voiceovers at the end of this one!) or stranger still – ‘Fishhouse’ with the rap styled chorus.

In Summary

Probably not as immediate as The Tubes earlier material, particularly those safe sounding AOR efforts such as ‘The Completion Backward Principle’, or ‘Outside Inside’. What it does do though is demonstrate that after all these years they have never lost their sense of humour or their sense of the bizarre. Good to have The Tubes back again, and even to this day, they are still out there doing the odd gig or two.


Entire Album (Select Tracks)

Playlist: Genius Of America
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