'80s band The Tubes elbow into Fairfield

Fairfield Daily Republic ©

FAIRFIELD - Lead singer Fee Waybill of The Tubes knows what he doesn't like.

"I hate it, I hate it," he says confidently about performing in small venues. "People say they like it but it's crap (not the word used). I'd much rather be playing the enormous domes, but we're in the rock world playing in little clubs."

Not that he's upset about performing for Pepper Belly's at the Fairfield Civic Center on Oct. 22 at 9 p.m., a place he's heard is a "nice venue." No, that's not it, he'd rather play than not, he says.

Small venues are just not what Waybill is used to, compared to his days from the disco '70s and new wave '80s when the band played their hits "She's a Beauty" and "Talk to You Later" worldwide in large arenas.

"We were huge. In Europe we played for giant crowds like 50,000 to 60,000 people," Waybill reminisces of a band who had a couple of gold records but failed to make millions.

But those proud days where men had hair-flinging, body swinging, tongue-thrashing, let's-put-some-makeup-on moments are gone, along with female groupies aching for, well, something. And so was the band, when it split in 1986 because Waybill just "got sick of it."

"Everyone was a drug addict and the only person who had a brain left the group at the point," he says.

Yet the forces of bizarre costumes and theatrical performances, along with a deal Waybill refused to pass up, led the group to collaborate once more in '93, adding to their repertoire of music a batch of "Best of's," "World Tours" and "Then and Now's."

More than a decade later they're still going strong, reinventing themselves year after year and still performing outrageous and satirical moves on-stage as they did more than 20 years ago. The only difference now is that it's a 50-something-year-old man dressed in western attire (Quay Lewd is here to stay) and at times, getting raunchy with some mysterious tubular object falling down his pants. Yes, with The Tubes, surprises should be expected.

"We opened up for Led Zeppelin and Quay Lewd came out with a 10-pound bag of flour. I shoveled it out to the audience and told them it was cocaine. The police thought it was real cocaine, surrounded the stage and wanted to arrest us," he recalls of when the group performed for Bill Graham.

"And there was Bill Graham on the side, thinking, ‘you idiots, you really think they're throwing out cocaine? Do you know how much that costs?' " he says sarcastically.

But do expect some sort of surprise or theme, maybe an overabundance of Wonder Bread, space cadets or burning clothes. Whatever it is, Waybill is really relishing the moment.

"We're not lamenting the situation, we still get to play," he pipes in. "We could all be selling shoes, but we're having fun."