Tommy Dunbar and Jon Rubin formed The Rubinoos while still in junior high school. By age fourteen, after playing a few school dances, they graduated to the club circuit. In 1975 the band was signed as one of the original acts on the newly formed Beserkley label. The Rubinoos made their recording debut that year with the song “Gorilla” on the Beserkley Chartbusters LP.
By 1977 the boys had finished recording their first LP, The Rubinoos. Gene Sculatti of The New York Rocker called it "the best pop album of the decade." The first single, a cover of the Tommy James classic "I Think Were Alone Now," reached the top 40 nationwide and the top 10 in many major U.S. cities. Appearances on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, The Rolling Stone 10th Anniversary TV Special, and features in numerous Teen Magazines helped put The Rubinoos into the U.S. pop consciousness.
At the same time, the group was receiving a lot of attention overseas: critical acclaim and airplay in Europe, and top tens in Japan and Australia. In the spring of 1978 the group left for their first European tour. The first show was an appearance on German TV's Rockpalast. The rest of the tour took them through northern Europe performing concert dates and appearing on assorted TV shows such as Top Pop (The Netherlands), Old Grey Whistle Test, and Rock Goes to College.
As there was no photo on the first LP the British press assumed the group was a contrivance but were startled to find The Rubinoos were the real thing. During that summer the seminal Power Pop song “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” was recorded and released as a single in England, ending up as the number 4 airplay song of the year. It was also chosen as Music Week Magazine’s record of the year.
The Rubinoos finished recording their second LP, Back to the Drawing Board, in late 1978 for release in early 1979. Due to their success in the UK, The Rubinoos were chosen to open the US portion of Elvis Costello's Armed Forces Tour, playing fifty-six sold out shows to screaming encores and rave reviews. Meanwhile, Back to the Drawing Board was a breakout all over U.S. radio, selling over 100,000 copies and making a run for the gold which was unfortunately cut short by the bankruptcy of its distributor GRT/Janus.
In 1983 The Rubinoos were signed by Warner Bros. Records and made the Mini LP Party of Two produced by Todd Rundgren. The video for the single “If I Had You Back” achieved heavy rotation on the fledgling MTV.
In 1985 the band members chose to pursue other interests, leaving behind a reputation as one of the best pop groups of that era. By the mid 90s rekindled interest in Power Pop combined with The Rubinoos stature in the field earned the group major releases of two compilations containing previously unavailable material, Basement Tapes and Garage Sale. In 1995 Basement Tapes was picked by Billboard magazine as one of the years ten best CDs.
In the fall of 1999 The Rubinoos re-formed to play at the I.P.O. (International Pop Overthrow) festival in Los Angeles. Their appearance was the hit of the event. Along with the rare live performance, Rubinoos fans were treated to the debut of material from the May 2000 release Paleophonic. This stellar album was produced by the late, great Kevin Gilbert.
The next couple of years were spent playing occasional Pop festivals in the US and working on their individual musical projects. In 2002, the band, getting a little nervous and not wanting to spoil their streak of one CD every 10 years or so, headed back into the studio to record a new CD of all pop covers, Crimes Against Music. When the recording was finished they hit the road for smash tours of Japan and Spain.
The Rubinoos released an all new, all original CD, Twist Pop Sin, in 2006. Produced by the late Gary Phillips, original producer of The Rubinoos and Back to the Drawing Board, Twist Pop Sin is chock full of great pop songs and the kind of hooks and vocals Rubinoos fans have come to expect.
In 2007, the band was honored with a career spanning 3-CD anthology, Everything You Always Wanted To Know About The Rubinoos, released on Sanctuary/Castle Music. They then hit the road for a tour of Japan and the release of the Japan only double CD set One Two That's It. In 2009 the group returned to Spain to support the release of their album HodgePodge.
2010, The Rubinoos 40th Anniversary year, saw the group release two new albums, Automatic Toaster and the children’s disk Biff Boff Boing. They also toured Spain and Italy, headlined the Felipop Festival in Galicia and on October 23rd celebrated their 40th Anniversary in spectacular style at the Great American Music Hall in SF.
In 2011 The Rubinoos toured Japan and headlined the Cultura Pop festival in Madrid. 2012 saw new recordings and more European tour dates.
Cut to 2014, the boys are back for more USA dates including a show with Tommy James and the Shondells for an “I Think We’re Alone Now” off and a triumphant return to The Great American Music Hall. As the group approaches its 45th anniversary look for a tour of Spain and Italy and a new CD - The Rubinoos 45.
January 2016 The Rubes headed to Spain, Italy, Sweden and Norway for the
January 2017 tour: The Rubinoos sold out their London show after a conspicuous 36 year absence then headed off to warmer climes in Spain for two weeks. Along with the tour, the 3 LP vinyl set The Rubinoos LP Collection Volume 2 (the second 3 albums) and a 3 CD set of The Rubinoos LP Collection Volume 1 were released and are available.