Bill Spooner and Roger Steen of The Tubes wrote this song with Mike Evans. Spooner said of the song: "It's about a bunch of rich kids we knew. You see all those ads on TV about drugs in the ghetto, and they say, 'It's not their fault. They were born poor, and all they had to turn to was drugs. Well, in San Francisco, we know a whole bunch of these kids that are so rich, and they're all strung out, and they're total derelicts. So you don't have to be poor to be a derelict."
The Tubes was the band's self-titled debut album. They were first produced by rock mogul Al Kooper, and the album was recorded at the legendary Record Plant Studios on 24-track tape. As given in the memoir Backstage Passes and Backstabbing Bastards, Kooper's first inspiration, upon being assigned to The Tubes by A&M Records, was to produce their first album with the approach of making a soundtrack for a hypothetical Broadway show.
The Tubes started out in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona, originally as two separate bands: The Beans and The Red, White, and Blues. They both relocated to San Francisco in 1969 and merged together. Original lineup: Fee Waybill on vocals, Bill "Sputnik" Spooner on guitar and vocals, Roger Steen on guitar, Prairie Prince on drums, Michael Cotten on synthesizer, Vince Welnick on piano, and Rick Anderson on bass. At times they also had James "Mingo" Lewis on percussion, better known as one of Santana's 13 percussionists.
In "White Punks on Dope," the line "hang myself when I get enough rope" later inspired the album title Give 'Em Enough Rope by The Clash.
The Tubes hired an arranger to come in and write the arrangements, since Kooper was intent on adding strings, horns, and choirs to it. Their choice was Dominic Frontiere, who also scored the TV series The Outer Limits and Sergio Leone's film Hang 'Em High.
Bruce from Hudson Valley, Ny'Give 'Em Enough Rope' wasn't a song title. It was the name of The Clash's 2nd album recorded in large part in The Tubes home base, San Francisco. Punk is not a specific sound per se. It's an attitude. When The Tubes recorded "WPOD" in 1975, "punk" i.e. The Ramones, The Sex Pistols et al were completely unknown. In the context of the times this is "punk."
Jon from Midland, MiMike- The phrase at the end of the song is from a Japanese commercial. "Aki no Tetoron wa Teijin desu", which loosely translates to "This autumn, it has to be Teijin's Tetoron". Teijin is a Japanese chemical company and Tetoron is the brand name of their high-performance polyester fibres. (source: Yahoo Answers, Teijin Group website)
Zab- Don't believe anyone has claimed this is a punk song.
Mike from San Diego, CaCan anyone translate the Japanese phrase spoken at the end of the song?
Zabadak from London, EnglandOf course, although the word is in the title, this is not a "Punk" song!