Red is ... from a time gone by, when men settled their differences the honorable way--face to face with their fists.
Purchase Tube Bar CD from Detonator Records
Tube Bar Recordings on the web at Repmart.
Tube bar mix of I Saw Red by Warrent featuring you-know-who. By Rob Lunceford.
Mortal Combat Tube Bar Mix (395kb). Requires RealPlayer.
Secret Garden (Tube Bar Mix), an MP3 by Phil Malkowski
© Mike Walsh
Part 1: Introduction
by Mike Walsh
Made in the mid 70s, The Tube Bar is a bizarre, enthralling, and wonderfully chaotic recording of a series of prank phone calls made by a group of callers (who were unknown until recently) to the small Jersey City taproom of the title. Originally passed around as an in-joke by the bar's patrons, the tape became an underground favorite with everyone from the New York Mets to the staff at Caroline records, an alternative label. The appeal of the tape is both basic and bizarre: what starts out as a dumb but harmless game explodes into a violent, hateful, yet hysterically funny verbal jousting match.
The premise of the phone pranks on The Tube Bar is simple. The prankster calls up the Tube Bar and asks to speak with someone like Pepe Roni, Hal Ja-Like-a-Kick, Phil My-Pockets, or Al Coholic. When the bartender unwittingly shouts to his patrons, Ja-Like-a-Kick! Call for Ja-Like-a-Kick! Hal Ja-Like-a-Kick, the prankster giggles and hangs up. Whats fascinating about The Tube Bar isnt the phone prank but what happens when our merry prankster tangles with Red, owner of the Tube Bar.
Red is a cantankerous, foul-mouthed, gravel-voiced old coot who doesnt think much of phone pranks. Hes from a time gone by, when men settled their differences the honorable way--face to face with their fists.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about Red is his voice. So raspy is hurts, this marvelous instrument immediately conjures images of jumping freight trains, hard times on skid row, the Great Depression, and WWII. Reds voice is so far gone its actually got the kind of resonance and distortion that noise bands spend years honing.
Once Red catches onto the silly prank, the aging taproom owner uses each call as an opportunity to blast the prankster with every ounce of strength in his ravaged vocal chords, bandying about multisyllabic profanities like confetti. Here's a typical sample:
Red: Why you yellow rat bastard, you motherfucker, cocksucker. Your mothers been sucking my prick for many years Why dont you come over and meet me face to face, you motherfucker Ill meet you wherever you want.
Prankster: Thats what I want.
Red: Where are you? Ill come right over.
Prankster: You sonovabitch.
Red: You sonovabitch, you motherfucker.
Prankster: Ill come down there.
Red: You sonovabitch, Ill cut your belly open.
Prankster: You yellow bastard.
Red: Why you lousy
Youll fuck your own mother, you
sonovabitch. Youre a motherfucker
The caller soon becomes more interested in Reds feverishly obscene performance and drops all pretense of the prank. Instead, he begins calls with rather direct statements like, Ive had it with you, you sonovabitch. Where do you want to meet me and have it out?
You can almost hear the veins popping out of Red temples when he screams, Why you lousy sonovabitch, Ill give you $500 to come down here.
Red repeatedly dares the caller to come to the Tube Bar because he has some nasty plans for the prankster. When I catch up with you, Red tells the yellow rat bastard Ill cut Zs in each of your cheeks. On another occasion he threatens to cut the callers stomach open to show you all the black stuff you got in there.
Of course, the caller has no intention of meeting Red. His only intention is to bait Red into even more, crazed ranting, what the record sleeve refers to as cranking.
While not challenging each others courage, much of this friendly repartee involves graphic descriptions of sex acts supposedly performed by the others mother. Red is particularly adept on this subject, but the prankster gets in a brilliant zinger when he boasts of being intimate with Reds mothers corpse, which he claims to have dug up from the grave.
Of course, Red could hang up on his tormentors at any time, but he seems to feed off the calls, cherishing this outlet for his mighty ream of anger and frustration. Collaborators rather than adversaries, a weird symbiotic relationship develops. They seem to need each other.