SOO-12151 The Completion Backward Principle
Produced by David Foster
Released on 1981
Find it at GEMM
SOO-12151 cover  

I tuned out for The Tubes’ last few albums, picking them up again on The Completion Backward Principle in part because of the stir created by “Talk To Ya Later.” Clearly the band had mapped out a very different plan in the interim, emerging as a synthesizer/dance pop/novelty act (I know, that’s a lot of labels), which would seem to sell their artistic origins short. There was always a novelty component to their music -- nobody was supposed to take “Mondo Bondage” or “Pimp” seriously -- but the band had noticeably softened from confrontational sensation to soft peddlers of silliness. Perhaps taking their inspiration from watching television, The Completion Backward Principle reads like a bad day of programming: amnesia, fifty-foot women, relationships, stranded lovers. At this stage, placing the emphasis on electronic sounds, seven players is probably a few too many; Utopia achieved as much with four. There’s a temptation to view this as slick product but for the bumpy rides of “Mr. Hate,” “Power Tools” and the remarkably tasteless “Sushi Girl.” Somehow, The Tubes’ anger was much better directed before, each member seemingly invested up to the neck in the band’s comic outrage. The Completion Backward Principle, by contrast, is restrained pop music. Even when the whole band clicks (“Amnesia,” “A Matter of Pride”), the chemistry is no better than a competent cast of studio musicians could provide. If you’re drawn to this album because of the single “Talk To Ya Later” (and I’ll concede that it’s a terrific kiss-off song), you’d have more luck picking up The Best of The Tubes (either one). I’ll give The Tubes credit: even when they sell out, they do it with a sense of humor, treating the band as a consumer-driven corporation. But lampooning the business side of the music business doesn’t change the fact that The Completion Backward Principle is product.

SOO-12151 back cover SOO-12151 picture sleeve
SOO-12151 back cover SOO-12151 picture sleeve


  1. TALK TO YA LATER    (The Tubes/David Foster/Steve Lukather)    4:41
  2. SUSHI GIRL    (The Tubes)    3:28
  3. AMNESIA    (The Tubes/David Foster)    4:25
  4. MR. HATE    (The Tubes)    3:35
  5. ATTACK OF THE FIFTY FOOT WOMAN    (The Tubes/Michael Snyder)    4:30
  6. THINK ABOUT ME    (The Tubes)    3:16
  7. A MATTER OF PRIDE    (The Tubes)    3:13
  8. DON'T WANT TO WAIT ANYMORE    (The Tubes/David Foster)    4:16
  9. POWER TOOLS    (The Tubes)    4:04
  10. LET'S MAKE SOME NOISE    (The Tubes/David Foster)    3:24


RICK ANDERSON -- policy, bass
MICHAEL COTTEN -- trend, synthesizers, cover design, blue print design, logo concept
PRAIRIE PRINCE -- systems, drums, cover design
BILL SPOONER -- analysis, guitar, vocals
ROGER STEEN -- development, guitar, vocals
FEE WAYBILL -- motivation, lead vocals
VINCE WELNICK -- accounts, keyboards, vocals
Bobby Clomby, Bruce Garfield, Keith Olsen, Bill Champlin -- additional background vocals and arrangements
Steve Lukather -- guitar (1)
Stanley Paterson -- Completion backward principle
Humberto Gatica -- engineer, mixing
Paul Lani -- additional engineering
Don Smith -- additional engineering
Roy Kohara -- art direction
Jim McCrary -- back cover photos
Prince-Knotter-Exley-Leach-Leventhal-Cotten Productions -- front cover photo
Jonathan Exley -- sleeve photo
Hanns Kainz -- blue print design
? Leach -- logo concept

return to THE TUBES discography

US/CAN 1981 Capitol LP/CS SOO-12151 picture sleeve
UK 1981 Capitol LP EST 26285 picture sleeve
GER 1981 Capitol LP C064 400 009 picture sleeve
US   Capitol LP SN-16378  
US   Capitol CD/CS CDP 7 48454  
UK   Beat Goes On LP BGOLP 100  
US August 14, 2001 Beat Goes On CD BGOCD 100  



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