The Tubes bass player Rick Anderson dies aged 75

The Tubes bassist Rick Anderson
(Image credit: Mark Horton / Getty)

San Francisco-based rock band The Tubes have announced the passing of the band’s bassist Rick Anderson, revealing the news in a short statement on their social media channels. 

“We lost our brother on 12/16/22,” reads the statement. “Rick brought a steady and kind presence to the band for 50 years. His love came through his bass.”

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Anderson was a founding member of the group, alongside Bill Spooner, Vince Welnick and Bob McIntosh, who had all performed with the pre-Tubes group The Beans. 

The band were known for their unwieldy, theatrical onstage productions, which marked them out as one of the ’70’s more outrageous acts. Our sister publication Classic Rock (opens in new tab) summarises it beautifully:

“They merged sex, satire and biting social commentary with virtuoso art rock,” wrote music journalist Mark Blake in 2020. “Their live shows featured bare flesh, dancing girls, roadies dressed as giant cigarettes and a prosthetic penis.” 

Against all the odds, The Tubes eventually rose to mainstream prominence in the early ‘80s, gaining a top 40 hit with Don’t Want To Wait Anymore. They were also one of the few bands to successfully cross the divide between the showmanship and onstage ambition of early ‘70s progressive rock and the grimy, utilitarian world of punk rock that followed – the punks clearly sensing a kindred anarchic spirit.

Anderson remained with the group throughout their five decade run and was lauded for his solid and punchy approach to rock bass, particularly on 1979’s initially underrated Remote Control, produced by Todd Rundgren. 

No cause of death has been provided at this point and Anderson’s family will announce funeral plans in due course.

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Matt Parker

Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk (opens in new tab), which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.