They Might Be Giants
© & (P) 1993 Elektra Entertainment/WEA International
While I was a music student in Los Angeles, I somehow got turned on to They's Flood, which had exclusive turntable rights for the next few weeks. I'm no lover of the drum machine, mind you, but John and John managed to arrange around the damned things in a musical way. And, of course, the songs were enlightening.
In late 1990 I drove my Volkswagen to NYC, where I shortly had my first direct encounter with the Giants, at one of their Village Gate New Year's Eve shows. John had just put down his accordion and picked up a baritone sax. From my vantage point in the second row or so, thinking I was cool, I cried out, "Tenor!" to which Linnell replied, with equal enthusiasm, "Wrong!" People laughed "with" me.
Some time later, Brian Woodbury asked me to play percussion at a Knitting Factory Led Zeppelin tribute; we did Whole Lotta Love in the style of Indian film music. (Little did I know that I'd later become seriously involved in that genre.) Also performing that night was a scrapped-together ensemble featuring John Linnell on sax, Kurt Hoffman on I don't remember what, and (if memory serves) J. Otto Seybold (the "Jim" of The Guitar) on drums. (Was it Jim? I don't know.) Brian introduced me to John. I neglected to remind him about the incident at the Village Gate.
We met a few more times, and one day I came home to an answering machine message from Flans asking me to audition. Once I got over my initial reaction ("of course, this is a cruel joke that someone is playing on me in my youthful enthusiasm and ambition"), I prepared for the audition by creating note-for-note transcriptions of the drum (machine) parts for about 35 songs, and by practicing continuously. The payoff came about a month later. I was very happy.
Well, after six months on the road promoting Apollo 18, the only recording that I have to show for my time with They is a novelty single that we threw together at a soundcheck. But I did get to do The Tonight Show, and, best of all, I got to play in front of 75,000 rabid fans in my home town of Chicago, on July 4th, with the skyline of my beloved city in a glorious panorama around the bandshell in Grant Park.
It was a pretty cool gig.
They Might Be Giants has a tremendous net presence. My HotBot search returned 2345 matches.
The newsgroup generates a huge amount of daily traffic.
Here's the official web site.
|©1997 Jonathan Feinberg||Last modified on Sep 3, 1997.|