The Story Behind the Infamous ‘Tube Bar’ Prank Calls

November 7, 2007

Jim Davidson, the guy who made the infamous “Tube Bar” prank call recordings, called in to promote their new remastered release. Jim said he pranked the Tube Bar (which was in Jersey City) nearly every weekend for two years back in the 70’s, and he even visited the bar after making calls to meet “Red,” the bartender who frequently answered the phone. Jim then revealed that he never knew the prank calls were underground hits until he heard them mentioned on MTV in 1992 – 17 years after he recorded them.

Howard said he heard the Tube Bar tapes when he first started out in radio, noting that they circulated like “party tapes.” Howard added that a new one came out every once in a while, sometimes even on vinyl – with Red’s picture on the sleeve. Jim then told the crew that Red’s bar was so popular, Red would kick people out who weren’t drinking and set weird rules, like not allowing stools (or women) inside.

Howard asked Jim if, like the Beatles, he’d done his greatest work and moved on. Artie told Jim that even Kamal from the Jerky Boys was inspired by the “Tube Tapes,” noting that Kamal had no idea the tapes were made in 1975. Jim said Red was a “tough Jew,” and Artie confirmed it; Red would’ve had to know some “connected” people to have a successful bar (or even just a bar that wasn’t burnt to the ground) in that neighborhood.