North Carolina Newspapers

Thursday, February 16,1995
They Might Be Giants Returns to Ritz With New Album, Members
When They Might Be Giants hit the
Ritz Sunday they'll be jamming with a
btad rather than the drum machine of
tours past The group’s fifth full-length
release and full band debut, John Henry,has
a fuller sound and some of die best crafted
songs of TMBG’s history.
With John Linnefl cm accordion and
sax ami John Flansburgh on guitar, the
duo has built a solid repertoire of songs
with dever lyrics and original vocal style.
The new band consists ofboth Johns, plus
bassist Tony Maimone (Pere Übu, Bob
Mould), drummer Brian Doherty (die Si
loa, Freedy Johnston, XTC), Tim Newman
on trombone and Jim O’Connor on trum
pet We recently spoke with John Linnell.
How didyou select the musicians for the new
JL: We kind of went through a very
slow filtration process where we began
with the idea of just hiring Kurt Hofftnan
(Ordinaires) to join us on stage to play sax
and gradually we came around to the idea
of getting a band. We had guys come in
and we tried them out in lots of different
combinations. Eventually we settled on
Tony Maimone, who was somebody we
already knew. I think that was a big part of
it—Tony was a guy that we knew in our
neighborhood and was the guy that we felt
like we wanted to play with. And since
then we got a drummer, a friend of a friend.
We’ve really come to understand the im
portance of personality compatibility with
the band as we've gone along. The thing is,
we have enough money to hire people who
arcfood-the real difficulty is finding people
that we tike.
Haw you decided on a name Jbr the band
JL: Mmm... we’re just calling it They
Might Be Giants.
h Pm Übu lined that you "stole" Tony
JL: Well, that was Tony’s decision. I
think he felt like he had done his term with
Pere Übu. He played with them for some
thing like 17 years. They eventually got
another bass player, so I think the vibes are
still good. Last year we did a bunch of
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John Flansburgh, Brian Doherty, John Linnet and Tony Maimone make up
TMBGs new lineup. Call their DiaEA-Song (718-387-6962) to hear new stuff.
shows with Pere Übu, and for a couple of
shows we had David Thomas (Pete Übu’s
frontman) come up on stage, so it was
pretty friendly.
Who are those kids on the John Henry
album and "Back to Skull" mazi-single?
JL: Those are professional kids. We
hired them. Most of them are show-busi
ness lrids who have show-business parents
who are trying to make careers for their
kids. They’re trying to market their, you
know, cuteness or their kidness or some
thing. And then some of them are people
that we know. The youngest girl in the
picture is the daughter of Glerm Marrow,
who runs Bar-None Records.
Are fans wasting their time trying to figure
out if they should worry about the song "The
End of the Tour" on John Henry?
JL: Yeah, it’s not about us. We’re con
tinuing to tour, as is evidenced by the fact
that we’re still out there plugging away.
We don’t really write autobiographically.
Do you have any set plans jbr TMBG?
JL: We have the following plans, which
don’t really constitute a solid plan for the
future, but we want to put out a compila
tion album of all the B-sides we’ve done for
Intimate Views:
February 19 - May 14
An exhibition comprised of the
Ackland's collection of Indian
miniature paintings shown together
for the first time, featuring the gifts of
Clara T. and Gilbert J. Yager, along
with selected loans from public and
private collections.
Lecture and Opening Reception
2 PM Sunday, February 19
Dr. Joseph M. Dye, 111
Curator of Asiatic Art, Virginia
Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond
The Umvenity ef Neeth Cemhnaet Chqpd Hill
Miscellaneous U>
JL: Yeah, we don’t know what to call it.
72 or something. But that’ll be topped off
with some kind of single that we’ll crank
out for that. That’s the main prospect for
some kind of release this year. And by the
way, we have a ton of material from B
sides, because we put out three albums on
Are you sick of playing “Istanbul (Not
ConstantinopleX ” “ParadeMan, ’’ "Don’t Let’s
Start," the ones that everyone wants you to
JL: No, you know, it’s still fun to play
music, and it’s always different We’ve
actually done a lot of those songs in differ
ent ways. We came up with a different
version of “The Sun Is a Mass oflncandes
cent Gas” —it’s got a’6os rock feel the way
we’ve been playing it recently. And we’ve
also tried playing “Particle Man” in the
key of C-minor instead of C-major. That
woked surprisingly well. We’re still ca
pable of trying out different approaches.
What influence did producer Bill Kraus
hate on your early sound?
JL: The great thing about Bill was he
was really into the vibe of the band. He
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always had a great sense of humor and his
favorite material of ours was die most
oddball stuff. So 1 think he really contrib
uted his own spirit to the one that existed.
He was into experimentation. When we
first got into MIDI, we left Bill alone in the
studio mixing “Piece of Dirt.” When we
came back he had replaced every single
drum sound with a kind of different, com
pletely weird sounding drum. Little tri
angles and clicking sounds and stuff. It
turned but that when he really cut loose in
the studio, he came up with some of die
most interesting stuff.
A girl said she’d give mejive bucks flashed
you fyou like gladiator movies.
JL: Wow. Did she say I have to answer?
I don’t think so, but I’ll split it with you f
you d0...
JL: I land oflike “Ben Hur.” I sortcfhke
those movies; I happen to know that John
hates those movies. When he sees Victor
Machura wearing a toga he gets really de
Do you and John spend much time together
aside from music?
JL: Yeah, ocasionally. We’ve had only
a certain amount of free time recently, but,
uh, what was the last thing John and I did
together? We’ve mostly beenworking. John
came over recently and we looked at pic
What is the relationship between TMBG
and Frank Blade?
JL: We’ve known him for a long time;
we played with the Pixies before either of
our bands had gotten any sort of notoriety.
It’s one of those things where you end up
playing with a lot of bands that are at a
similar level. Since then we’ve toured a
whole bunch with Frank Black. We did a
tour opening for his band in France last
year and then we had him opening up for
us solo in the United States in the frill. And
I played on his first record and John has
directed some ofhis videos, so we’ve done
a lot of work together.
How about the Meat Puppets?
JL: We had Kurt Kirkwood design one
of our shirts for us and we also sang on a
Meat Puppets recording last year. They
did a cover version of a song called “A
White Sport Shirt and a Pink Carnation,”
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and John and I sang backup vocals. But
that seems to have been a promotional
record for radio and I don’t know what’s
happened to that recording.
Witt there be more songs about the Hotel
JL: I don’t know —we got such a muted
response from the second song (on the
“Bad: to Skull” CD single, 1994)—most
people seemed to think it was a cover of the
first song (on They Might Be Giants, 1986).
Sometimes I think die only person who
Kked that song was Flansburgh. I basically
made a demo at home and I played it for
him and he was really excited about it
Then we recorded it and even some of our
friends were not particularly... interested
in it (Laughing) So, I don’t know if I
should get discouraged or not
I Weed it
JL: Thanks.
b she someone you know?
JL: No, no, just an imaginary, fictitious
How do you and Flansburgh write songs?
Together? Alone?
JL: We each write individually, gener
ally , but we’ve had a couple of occasions to
collaborate. On this record, one of the
things we did was that John wrote sets of
lyrics. I actually asked him to give me ten
song tides and instead he wrote ten sets of
lyrics and handed them off. So I worked on
a couple of them; I came up widi “Sublimi
nal” that was his lyric and I wrote die
music, and I wrote another song called
“Dark and Metric” which hasn’t been re
leased yet but will come out eventually.
We’ve also collaborated in the past I wrote
music for a song with no words pretty
much musk without even a melody on
top, and I gave that to John who wrote
“My Evil Twin” based on that. “Put Your
Hand Inside the Puppet Head” was the
first example of that. I basically wrote the
musk and the chorus and he wrote the rest
of it
Are you available?
JL: Nope. I have a significant other.
And Flansburgh?
JL: Same answer. Sony.
You can’t touch, but you can still watch
They Might Be Giants this Sunday at the
Ritz in Durham. Tickets are available at
CD Exchange and School Kids in Chapel
Hill. The Cat’s Cradle show is canceled.
Tickets are $12.50 m advance.
Planned N annual physicals for
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Monday thru Saturday 10:00 to 9:00
University Mall Chapel Hill North Carolina 27514
(Eljr Daily ®ar Brri
TLC CrazySaxyCool (LaFaca
Records) Be
coming off of their double platinum
debut LP, Ooooooohhh... On die TLC Tip, T-
Boz, Left Eye and Chilli, true women of
the ’9os, are blowing up the R&B charts
with the first release from their new album,
CrazySexyCool, entitled “Creep”, about
what you guys force us women to do when
you don’t act right Although they have
shed their hardcore, B-boy, condom-wear
ing image, TLC’s “I ain’t one to be ques
tioned... Don’t take no mess from no
body” attitude is still intact as relayed on
the track “Switch”, produced by one of
hip-hop’s finest young talents, Jermaine
Dupri (also known for his success with Da
Brat and Kriss Kross). CrazySexyCool, a
combination of the group’s personalities,
is much more mature and balanced than
their first effort, giving more of a laid-back
“I’m in control” feel from T-Boz and Chilli
without losing any of Left Eye’s energy,
thanks to executive producers Dallas Aus
tin, Antonio “L_A.” Reid and Kenneth
“Babyface” Edmonds.
The trio produces a nice mixture of
styles ranging from giving props to “His
Purple Badness”, now the artist formerly
known as Prince, on the remake cut “If I
Was Your Girlfriend,” to getting a little
hip-hop back-up from rap artists Phife of A
Tribe Called Quest on “Intro-hide” and
Die of foe group Outkast on “Sumthin’
Wicked This Way Comes”. On the flip
side, though enough worrying about
backstabbing “friends”. The track “Case
of die Fake People” could have definitely
been kicked to the curb with no tears shed.
It sounds like a bad attempt to recreate
their success on “What About Your
Besides “Creep”, one of my personal
favorites on the LP is “Red Light Special,”
where there is an even Wend between T-
Boz’sbrassy vocals and ChiDi’sß&B style,
backed by synthesizers and dectric guitar
riffr. The confident ladies let the fellas in on
the mottoof the ’9o’s: “I’m a woman, a real
woman/1 know just what I want/1 know
just who I am, "which goes along with the
territory when you’re CrazySexyCool.
Actor-turned boxer Mickey Rourke
and starlet Julia Roberts were
recently spotted at the popular
Henry’s Bistro in Chapel Hill, NC.
According to a reliable source,
Roberts started her meal with duck
confit served with fried onions and
watercress and then chose the
shellfish saute with wild rice and
tasso ham. Rourke reportedly began
with a house salad with gorganzola
cheese followed by grilled tuna
topped with a sweet ginger sauce
and wilted winter greens. The
couple shared a bottle of 1989 La
Loggia Chianti Classico and a slice
of caramel apple pie before being !
whisked to an exclusive Carrboro i
nightclub for an evening of dancing, j

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