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Jen chats to John Flansburgh from They Might Be Giants touring here next week!

It was a pleasure to interview such a quirky artist as John Flansburgh from  and have a few laughs along the way. This Australian tour is imminent and we are ready for the  engaging and entertaining shows that everyone has to experience! John told me how much Australian crowds are “a couple of notches rowdier and that is fine by us! “

There is not much time for them in Australia this time John said “ Last time we came through we were on a very leisurely festival schedule and we had side shows and multiple days in each city this is much more Wham Bham Thankyou Ma’am. I think we will be sleeping in airports and generally complaining. Classical musician stuff.

I asked John how did he think that touring has changed for him since in 1982.

“When we started we did not suffer from stage fright but we were a little more afraid of what we were doing, we wanted to be very bold and over the years we have had a good response, it has evolved in us as performers.  It is hard to sum up. It is very nice not to be nervous on stage. We have a very free wheeling show and it really feels different from night to night. It is hard for other performers to get to because their own person insecurities and the limitation of their repertoire, we have a tremendous advantage as a band and we have such a vast repertoire of songs to draw on and it is really not a problem keeping it lively for ourselves. I can’t sum up how great it is to have a band that has so much material to draw on. We are not in love with ourselves we are riddled with self doubt.”

50,000,000 They Might Be Giants Songs Can’t Be Wrong is an Australian only compilation and is the only full career retrospective by They Might Be Giants, commencing with the first single and continuing all the way through until 2015 with brand new songs never previously available on CD. Some of the songs are quite rare.

I asked John if it was hard to narrow it down to 60 songs.

“To be honest we tried to pick out the best songs. It is a subjective thing but sometimes it does not feel that subjective you know. We go for a type of variety, if two songs are kind of similar to one another, we just compare them in terms of rhythm or topic and we figure we just go with the one the flows better. We are super old and we have very fond memories having a kind of scope with them that might actually be enterquated by modern standards. Having grown up with the Beatles and other pop bands having an album with a range of songs that is part of it too.”

If that was hard to do how on earth did you put them in order on the album?

“Half of it was from a box we put together with Rhino and was done the good old fashion way by the record company. The Australian record company just ran it by us for approval. They did a fine job. That is an Australian only, it does not exist in the other part of the world.”

We then had a great conversation about collectables and how much they were worth to some people, even floppy disks that were promos for them early on that sold for $150 US not long ago.

You guys have been working together for over half your lives, don’t you ever get sick of each other ?

Well not really, I think the one thing that is strange about our set up is when we started we had already been friends for a long time and when this project took of it was a huge creative energy and personal time and I think the great thing about it we were not up for that commitment but i think that we spent so much time traveling and time together in this creative endeavor we don’t really have a social life. We not like walking off separate sides of the stage, I say in rock band status we are like in the 99 percentile in getting along, I mean we totally get along. However there is no necessity to socialize in our outside time and that makes me a little sad as we really were great friends and had a lot of laughs before the band existed. Considering the amount of time we have to spend together it would actually be kind of weird to spend our spare time together. Our casual friendship has been put on hold for the last 25 years.

Your music has been used in Movies, tv shows, children’s music and have been in the charts, won many awards including two Grammies, is there one in particular that you look back on and are the most proud of?giants3

Well the funny thing about winning a grammy is before we won it we did not have that much respect. Then when we won one it was really meaningful! So maybe that is the nature of pride. I was surprised after winning a grammy how much it changed our professional status. We did a bunch of work with Disney and we were working with a lifelong They Might Be Giants booster, he had worked in other record companies. He was a cool guy but he expressed to us because we had won a grammy it was much easier topnotch us to other people. I guess it means that you are not from outer space. A band like us is permanently left of centre and a place like Disney is quite grounded in the main stream organization for sure. It just makes including us in something much easier, we can do a city festival or we can do bigger projects or get you into places that you otherwise would not get into. It has not just been about the bragging rights it has been good for business. Also parents love it! if you are the parent of a musician, the whole time when their friends ask them about what their kids do, they kind of just say oh he is doing music……..that is better than saying oh he is an heroine addict and to be able to say oh he is a musician and he just won a Grammy, that is really good. (both laughing)

Do you have some funny fans stories of how they got to know you with all your different outlets of your music?

Yes, I have one that I have never said in a public forum before. We were playing in Bonnaroo which is in rural Tennessee and it was like playing on Mars. It was like 1000 degrees and it was extremely uncomfortable and the crowd ends up half naked and they are all like 20 years old and by the end of the four days half of them were completely naked. It is a very festively feeling place. Personally as an older person all I was trying do was find an air conditioned lounge. I was opening the door after our set and a woman came up to me and told me that John FLANSBURGH From They Might be Giants I must tell you that your music has got me through my entire life and I need you to know that I love you guys and what you are doing is really important to people like me, and said God Bless you, and I was being gracious and kind and I did not know where it was going to go from there and then she said “I love 500 miles” (both laughing) It was clear that she thought we were the Proclaimers.  But you know I did not bother correcting her.

She would of gone away happy.

Yes she went away happy knowing that she had met the guy from that band. (both laughing)

Thanks so much for your time John, I better let you go as my time is up.

Already? you are my second, I have many more to go.

See you when you come down here.

Thanks Jen.

Links to their social media here


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