Rock Rarities Due From The Tubes, More

Four albums consisting of previously unreleased material from The Tubes, Derringer, Spirit, and Omar & The Howlers mark the first of twelve albums scheduled to be released this year by Phoenix Gems, a label which has acquired the rights to over 400 previously unreleased and rare "classic rock" recordings.

The first four discs, all due out on March 21, include "Dawn of the Tubes," a collection of live and rare studio tracks recorded by The Tubes during their outrageously theatrical '70s heyday. Long before they donned skinny ties and recorded "She's A Beauty," Fee Waybill and company delivered cult favorites such as "Mondo Bondage" and "White Punks On Dope," both of which are included here in demo form. (One member of The Tubes, Vince Welnick, may be best known to some as the keyboardist for the Grateful Dead in their last incarnation.)

Classic-rock radio fave Derringer weighs in with "Live At The Paradise Theater," a concert recorded July 7, 1978 in Boston. Led

by guitarist-vocalist Rick Derringer, the band (featuring future Pat Benatar guitarist/husband Neil Geraldo and drummer Myron Grombacher) hit it big with its classic tune "Rock And Roll, Hoochie Koo," which appears here in all its '70s glory.

Perhaps best known for "I've Got A Line On You," Spirit was the creation of frontman/guitar whiz Randy California (nee Wolfe), so nicknamed by none other than Jimi Hendrix, with whom he played in The Blue Flames. The band's "Cosmic Smile" includes all original tracks recorded in the studio before California's passing in 1997. The fourth disc, "Live At The Opera House," comes from cult favorites Omar & The Howlers and was recorded on August 30, 1987 in the band's hometown of Austin, TX.

Phoenix Gems claims to have acquired rarities from everyone "from Aerosmith to Zappa," according to its Web site, and is dedicated entirely to making the recordings available to the public. The company previously contributed seven tracks to The Clash's

live album "From Here to Eternity," which came out earlier this year (see "Joe Strummer Recalls Intensity Of Clash's Riotous Concerts").