Assistant producer Peter Dale, known to millions as ‘Tubes’, has seen his own segment on Sky Sports’ Saturday morning institution Soccer AM gain him countless fans over recent years and the quick-fire ‘one question and one question only’ interviewer and Cobham rapper gave a detailed glimpse into the man and the stories behind the rhymes!
His feature on the programme has become one of Soccer AM’s best-loved and most sustained pieces, seeing him rap live to one of the well-known guests as well as regularly going to talk to the likes of Hollywood A-listers in pre-recorded footage. He has performed his raps and sound effects (with occasional props) followed by a deadpan expression and a question to some of the biggest names, from Bruce Willis to 50 Cent, and he explains how it all began, with ex-presenter Tim Lovejoy the influence.
“I’ve been working on Soccer AM about ten years, I was working for free while I was at college in 1998 before I went full-time. What happened was I had a bit on the show as Peter the Test Tube Baby where I’d come out in a nappy with a beer and for the next season Tim (Lovejoy) said ‘you’ve got one question and one question only for one of the guests and you can ask whatever you want’.
“I didn’t really know what I was going to say so I thought about when I was at school in Epsom and I’d hear that thing where posh people try to speak gangster like ‘what you sayin’?’ to each other and it made me laugh so I thought I’d use that a bit. My first question was to Frank Worthington and it was ‘have you scored more on or off the pitch?’ but it came out wrong and Tim was fuming and said ‘you’ve got two more chances left with it’.
“The next one I thought couldn’t be as bad as the first so I rapped it and put ‘rough it up rudeboy’ in there and everyone loved it. It’s just carried on from there really and people seem to like it you know?”
His original role on the show was touched upon briefly and Tubes references that as the starting point when describing how his nickname first came about.
“There was an old punk band called Peter and the Test Tube Babies, well according to Tim (Lovejoy) anyway, and that led to me bringing the footballs out on the show as Peter the Test Tube Baby and it just became ‘Tubes’. That’s it really, sorry it’s not a more interesting story!”
Tubes’ time on the show has taken him to a plethora of high-profile events and allowed him to mix with so many in the music industry due to Soccer AM consistently booking bands and artists as guests and using music as one of the programme’s key sub-genres. In my interview with one of the show’s former protagonists and Sky Sports’ current Take It Like A Fan host Fenners he talked in part about the concerted effort that was made to profile musicians alongside the football features. In amongst Tubes’ favourite bands and artists is someone who has been a regular Soccer AM guest over the years and he also mentioned how a potentially tricky situation arose on a night out, involving The Jam and The Style Council’s famous ex-singer.
“I’m into all sorts, I’m a massive Oasis fan and I’ve been lucky enough to meet Noel Gallagher quite a few times and he’s actually been one of the best guests we’ve ever had on the show. I like the Stone Roses but also old school UK garage which is a bit of a random one, growing up it was what everyone seemed to be into.
“Blur are another I liked, as well as the music my Dad would listen to which would be 60s music like The Who. I’ve just been to Magaluf as well where Lethal Bizzle was having one of his Dench Parties.
“There used to be a few on the show like Fenners and Tim who liked Goldie Lookin’ Chain and at one point we’d listen to them before we went out to do the show. There was one gig where I’d had a couple of sherbets and was stumbling around and I spilled beer on Paul Weller.
“I realised who it was and thought ‘oh no it’s Paul Weller’, but he was nice about it thankfully.”
The music he would not class himself as a fan of reminded me about a feature on the programme last season in which Everton goalkeeper at the time Marcus Hahnemann went into a recording studio with Tubes and the band Malefice.
“Heavy metal is the only one I’d say I’m not into. In the sketch we did for the show those guys in the band were really nice people but I can’t really get into that kind of music where a guy’s screaming, it’s just not for me.”
It is little surprise then that the first record Tubes ever bought was something in stark contrast to the heavy sounds just described, with MC Hammer’s ‘U Can’t Touch This’ the song in question.
“Yeah absolute banger! I think I was about 10, it might have been a present actually, it makes sense that it was that one that was the first I ever had, with my lyrical flow and all!”
When Tubes mentioned his liking for UK garage music he described how he unfortunately did not get to go to the Cypriot resort of Ayia Napa which is synonymous with the genre at the time of its height in popularity, though he did go to Kavos and was unimpressed! He is however a regular festival attendee and has perhaps the most quintessential of the lot on these shores in his sights for the future.
“I went to Benicassim a couple of years back and Jamie T was there who I’m a big fan of. I go to Reading Festival most years with work with the array of bands there, and V Festival too.
“I’ve been to quite a few of the smaller ones as well but I’ve never been to Glastonbury so that’s one I still have to tick off the list.”
The subject of teammates’ music tastes is usually guaranteed to inspire some interesting responses on here, although this time of course it is the Soccer AM crew members in question rather than fellow players.
“Big Trev gets sent something like a thousand CDs a day and he’s always playing music, he gets to book the music guests as well so he’s probably the best. James Kirtland’s into grime and knows all the dance moves which is probably a bit far I reckon!
“Max has some rascal taste, he listens to some stuff in his Renault Clio that’s also seen better days, like Mike and the Mechanics! Helen’s a massive fan of an old band whose name I can’t think of, there’s a guy in it called Mike though (confirmed post-interview as Level 42)!”
It seems that there is barely a world-famous actor or a top-level footballer Tubes hasn’t spoken to on the programme and we got talking about the most surreal and latterly uncomfortable interviews he has done. I mentioned last season’s one with Eric Cantona but a slightly more established actor than King Eric was the one Tubes picked out.
“The most bizarre was Denzel Washington. When I do these gigs I go to these posh hotels and I see the reporters waiting to go in to speak to them, they’re all dressed smartly and then there’s me in my jeans and black shirt from Marks & Spencer!
“They were asking ‘Tubes are you doing one with Denzel? He’s not gonna like you!’, and I was bricking it. I rapped to him ‘you’re a top man, you are Den, I’ve been rapping since I was ten, rapping’s for life not just for Christmas!’ and he just stared at me.
“Afterwards he started shouting at me and I thought ‘he’s gonna kill me’, he ended up getting me in a headlock and walking me out of the hotel room! He was shouting ‘Tubes come back here again!’.”
Last season saw him interview actor Steve Coogan who it is fair to say did not quite get on board with the concept behind Tubes’ unique approach! After asking him ‘what’s the funniest thing you’ve seen?’, Coogan replied ‘not you’, and Tubes confirmed he did not seem too impressed after the interview either. Another that went disastrously was the meeting with Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash with neither he nor his entourage taking too kindly to Tubes covering himself in mash potato! However, he reveals that the situation took a turn for the better soon afterwards.
“In Slash’s defence he actually phoned me up three days later and apologised, I thought for five minutes it was a wind-up but it was him. He told me that he’d been jetlagged and his people had put him there with me straight after doing something else for TV but he said ‘I’ve checked you out on YouTube and I really like it’.
“Another one was Jessica Alba, I think she thought I was a bit weird and I was staring at her and she didn’t like it. She was looking at her people and probably thinking ‘get this weirdo out of here!’.”
As a Chelsea fan Tubes has for a long time been in the privileged position of being able to speak to the players and attend some of the big games along the way. The club of course lifted the FA Cup and Champions League this year but Tubes had a less-preferred vantage point to see Didier Drogba sink the winning penalty in the Munich showpiece.
“I couldn’t go so I was gutted, we had the last show on the day and I couldn’t get a flight out. I went to the FA Cup final and I was there in Moscow (the 2008 Champions League final in which Chelsea were beaten by Manchester United on penalties), it’s not being big-headed but I’m usually at those games so it was gutting.
“I watched it at home with a few drinks and I was running around the garden when we won. My girlfriend didn’t really know what was going on!
“I wouldn’t say I know the players personally, I’ve got a few numbers and see them around sometimes. I live in Cobham and they’re always around on the high street, I saw Lampard the other week, they’ve always been good as gold when I’ve met any of them though.
“JT (John Terry) gets some bad press but my Dad died last year and he was the first person to get married at Stamford Bridge, so JT text me to say ‘all the Chelsea boys are feeling for you and we really hope it gets better for you soon’.”
Tubes has been a mainstay on Soccer AM and has undoubtedly been a firm favourite with viewers, even seeing a life-size cut-out of himself doing the rounds in fans’ photos at various places in a regular feature on the programme a few seasons ago. We had one in the study centre at sixth form at the time but with no cardboard to back it up and questionable school printer-quality images it didn’t last long! This year has also seen him star in UK artist Sway’s music video for his single ‘Level Up’, with Tubes playing a lottery winner. Next month will see the start of the new football season and of course the return of Soccer AM, until then I’ll leave you with the line-up of special guests Tubes would choose to have on the show in his dream scenario.
“Wow… Gianfranco Zola definitely, my favourite ever Chelsea player. All the lovely ladies have already been on the show I think… Mila Kunis actually, I’d like to talk to her.
“Sly Stallone, I’ve met him before but I’d have him on, because well he’s Rocky isn’t he? Lee Evans, he’s my favourite comedian and I’ve never really seen him on TV so it would be great to get him on there.”