Original movie poster
Directed by Bill Fishman
Produced by Peter McCarthy
Michael Nesmith
Written by Bill Fishman
Peter McCarthy
Music by Fishbone
Cinematography Bojan Bazelli
Distributed by Avenue Pictures
Release dates
  • October 21, 1988 (1988-10-21)
Running time
93 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $10,000,000
Box office $343,786

Tapeheads is a 1988 comedy film directed by Bill Fishman. The film stars John Cusack, Tim Robbins, Sam Moore and Junior Walker. The movie was produced by Michael Nesmith, who is seen briefly in the film as a bottled water delivery man.


After losing their jobs as security guards, best friends Ivan (John Cusack) and Josh (Tim Robbins) start a music video production company called "Video Aces". When they meet their childhood heroes, 1970s soul duo The Swanky Modes (Sam Moore and Junior Walker), Ivan and Josh concoct a scheme to give them a new audience by hijacking a Menudo concert, getting them to perform in Menudo's place, and broadcasting it live across the country on a television satellite hook-up.

The movie also features a fake ad spot for a real Los Angeles restaurant, Roscoe's House of Chicken 'n Waffles. People who make appearances in the film include: Mary Crosby, of the nighttime soap opera Dallas; character actors Clu Gulager and Doug McClure; footballer Lyle Alzado; 1960s icon Connie Stevens; Soul Train host Don Cornelius; singer Courtney Love; original "Human Beat-Box" Doug E. Fresh; ska-punk band Fishbone (who also performs the incidental score) as "Ranchbone"; The Dead Boys and The Lords of the New Church singer Stiv Bators; Ted Nugent; "Weird Al" Yankovic; and Dead Kennedys singer Jello Biafra, in a cameo as an FBI agent.



The music supervisor for the film was Nigel Harrison. The soundtrack album was released on Island Records.

1."Ordinary Man"  Swanky Modes (Sam Moore and Junior Walker)2:53
2."Roscoe's Rap"  King Cotton4:26
3."Surfer's Love Chant"  Bo Diddley4:56
4."You Hooked Me Baby"  Swanky Modes3:32
5."Betcher Bottom Dollar"  Swanky Modes2:20
6."Baby Doll (Sung in Swedish)"  Devo3:36
7."Slow Bus A-Movin' (Howard's Beach Party)"  Fishbone ("Ranchbone")2:39
8."Audience for My Pain"  Swanky Modes4:22
9."Language of Love"  Swanky Modes3:00
10."Ordinary Man (Can't Keep a Good Man Down Mix)"  Swanky Modes4:19

The film's soundtrack (but not the soundtrack album) includes the song "Repave America" written and performed by Tim Robbins, credited as Bob Roberts four years before that movie was released. "Repave America" also appeared in the Bob Roberts soundtrack with the lyrics slightly altered to become "Retake America".

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