Driving around the other day, listening to WFMU, there was a set that started with Nico singing in German, continued into a German version of Send in the Clowns, and then turned to Nina Hagen’s version of White Punks on Dope, which was called TV Glotzer. Also in German.
TV Glotzer was featured here back in February, when I couldn’t find a clip of the Tubes’ version of the song. But now I can.
I first heard the Tubes’ original version of the song while living in a dorm at Harvard with my friend Peter S. (he was going to summer school, I was freeloading) in the summer of 1975. It was mind-blowing, a melding of Bowie and Queen and Cooper with a wicked stupid sense of humor that seemed (I know, this is dum) mindblowing. Lest I build it up too much:
This is so great.
I was a huge Tubes fan, as they started to rescue me from the likes of “Dream Weaver” and Boney-M.
They pointed to 801, and 801 pointed me to punk. And that was so great.
I think I saw the Tubes nine times, including twice in one week when they played Bimbos365 for the last show of a sold out run on a Friday night. They had just released “The Young and the Rich, but were still playing most of the first album live.
But, they extended the show for another week, so I got tix for the final show a week later. Saw them at the Palace of Fine Arts (“Tubes Now” tour) once, and at the theatre in Japantown (“Remote Control” tour and a fantastic set), but the best was Winterland, headlining with The Ramones.
At one point Waybill came out wearing a plaid shirt and overalls with a haystraw dangling out of his lip and he started on about fucking cows back on the farm. It was very strange, but all of a sudden he stopped and the band kicked into a medley of “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” and “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” And, they knocked both of them so far out of the park it was ridiculous.
Then as the encore, Fee came on as Quay Lude and they did just perfect covers of “The Kids are Alright” and “Baba O’Reily,” before smashing into “White Punks.”
Such a kicking song.
But, in ’77, when I was in Amsterdam, I got turned onto both Hagen and her then paramour Hermann Brood who had the band, “Wild Romance.”
Have a disc from each of them.
Think she is still an artist. Think he is dead.
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