That’s the tagline you will find at the official They Might Be Giants website. And it’s true too. Their songs are always about the melody. Although they now have a backing band They Might Be Giants are primarily built around the core duo of John Flansburgh and John Linnell. The pair began writing and recording together in their New York apartment in 1982. After a wrist injury to Linnell and the burglary of Flansburgh’s gear they began a service called Dial-A-Machine in 1983, which would later become Dial-A-Song, to try and continue the momentum they had been building through their live performances.
In essence people called their answering machine to hear an exclusive song, provided the machine was working, and callers were able to provide feedback on what they thought of the material. This service ran for many years. In the period since they have had a very diverse career and have never been able to shake the tag “alternative”. Their 1990 album Flood has been certified platinum and in more recent years they have made a foray into recording children’s albums releasing No (2002), Here Come The ABCs (2005), Here Come The 123s (2008) and Here Comes Science (2009).
Not to be outdone in the children’s album department, Danny Weinkauf, the bass player in the band, also released his own children’s album in 2014 called No School Today. He funded the album through a crowd-sourcing funding campaign through Kickstarter. Happily my wife decided to contribute to this campaign so my son’s image appears in the music video for one of the songs from the album, Marsupial.
It was my wife who actually got me into the band and although I had heard them before I am grateful she got me to listen to them. We first saw them live in Canberra at the ANU Bar on 20th March 1997 and then again in Hobart at Wrest Point Casino on 14th May 2013. A long time between drinks.
But back to Dial-A-Song. They Might Be Giants decided to resurrect the Dial-A-Song concept late last year and asked radio stations to express interest in participating. By signing up to become part of their Dial-A-Song Radio Network stations are digitally provided a new track to play each week on their radio programs. I was only too eager to sign up my program, The Sunday Smorgasbord, so my local 100% volunteer-run community station, TYGA FM, could be one of those participating. I thank my fellow presenter at TYGA, Martin Bennett, for making me aware of the opportunity via social media. This week’s show will be the 11th to feature one of the songs and I was absolutely tickled pink to receive a personalised ID for my show this week made by none other than John Flansburgh himself! Roll on Sunday night so I can play both it and the new song.