The Tubes’ Co-founding Bassist Rick Anderson Dead at 75
The Tubes confirm that bassist Rick Anderson has died at age 75. No cause was revealed.
He co-founded the group in 1972, after work in a precursor band called the Beans with Tubes bandmates Bill Spooner, Vince Welnick and Bob McIntosh. Anderson played on all eight Tubes albums between 1975-96, as the band built a reputation for larger-than-life concerts. Welnick later went on to work with the Grateful Dead.
“We lost our brother on 12/16/22,” the Tubes said in brief social-media statement. “Rick brought a steady and kind presence to the band for 50 years. His love came through his bass.”
The Tubes rose to initial fame after securing a supporting slot with Led Zeppelin in 1973, then signing a record deal with the help of Yes’ Rick Wakeman. The band's self-titled debut featured the fan favorite “White Punks on Dope.”
Their live shows eventually expanded to include complex stage sets, costumes and the leather-clad Re Styles, who died in April. This shocked some crowds, while endearing the Tubes to others. Their commercial peak came with 1983’s Outside Inside and the single “She’s a Beauty,” though the Tubes continued to tour with Anderson as a fixture in varying lineups.
Listen to the Tubes Perform ‘White Punks on Dope’
“I think that because we started with such a dramatic flair, as time went on we realized that we were always going to be in the red,” Anderson's former bandmate Bill Spooner told MusoScribe in 2014. “We’d book tours – 150 dates of sold-out shows – and still lose money because of all the people we’d drag around, and all the props and extra trucks full of shit.”
Eventually, the Tubes “dumped the show, or at least pared it way down,” Spooner added. “We didn’t get the same reaction. We’re obviously the same musicians, so it was a combination of the two things that made it popular. You’ve got to remember: It was the ‘70s, and we were at the cutting edge of outrageous stage behavior – which would be nothing, today. It would be R-rated today.”
Watch the Tubes’ Video for ‘She’s a Beauty’