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They Might Be Giants Answers Your Questions

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the This-was-the-vehicle-these-were-the-people dept.

Music 92

Earlier this month you got a chance to ask They Might Be Giants about DIY albums, nerd culture, and science songs. Below you'll find their responses. Thanks to the band for taking time to answer questions. I wish them another 30 years of making music and success!From Usenet in 1992 to Dial-a-Song to ... ?
by eldavojohn

In 1992 you guys were sending out news updates to your fans via Usenet Newsgroup, what are the next big things you want to try to do with the internet to connect with your fans? Are you working on anything crazy and innovative right now that you can talk about that sort of transcends the basic music to vendor to fan experience? Almost all bands send out updates now and allow samples of songs to be heard online, where do you see these methods heading in the future?

TMBG: We were just eager lay-people interested in the emerging technology. I recently was listening to a favorite podcast of mine--a radio show called "A Way with Words" and they discussed the difference between "use" and "utilize" which evenly comes down to this--you use a screwdriver to screw in screws, and you utilize a screwdriver to pry open a door. I guess we're curious about how to utilize things.

The future--we're working on it!

Fan reaction to "here comes the science"
by damn_registrars

Some of your fans felt that the album "here comes the science" was pushing a specific agenda that was never previously a part of your music. Do you feel that the (perceived) partisan tones on that album are real or imagined, and if they are real do they reflect a change in the attitudes of TMBG as a band or the individual members thereof?

TMBG: When you are making an album about science, it is difficult to avoid the culture clash that is created by fact-based systems of thinking with people who demand their personal spiritual beliefs be recognized as fact. The popular culture also enjoys projecting the idea that science itself "never really knows" onto a host of basic topics that are actually not in scientific dispute--often hiding behind a willful and simplistic misunderstanding of the scientific theory itself--to bolster systems based on faith rather than scientific inquiry. I could go on and on, but I would point you to the work of Richard Dawkins who has a far better explanation of this.

Rock Band?
by Aaron_Pike

I think I can safely say that there is a large demand for a TMBG edition of Rock Band. Is there anything preventing this from happening?

TMBG: Our general out-of-it-ness might be the real obstruction.

The Tiny Toons Influence
by Anonymous Coward

An entire generation knows who you are thanks to the episode of Tiny Toons that featured a few of your songs. I'd like to know, do you think this is something that not enough bands take advantage of to get their music out there, or did you guys capture lightning in a bottle?

TMBG: I'm sure if they were making more Tiny Toons somebody's manager would be demanding somebody be included in them. We were just in the right place in the culture at the right time.

How has recording technology changed your process?
by explosionhead

Given that you've been creating music from Portastudio days and through the rise (and rise) of digital recording, how much of an effect has the progression of tech (especially in affordable home recording) had on the way you each go about songwriting and ultimately putting together your albums?

I'd love to know where you balance what's done in home production set-ups with bigger studios, what sort of gear you work with where, and where along the line people like Pat Dillet get involved. Are you taking half-recorded tracks in to rework? Are you fiddling with mixes and such away from the studio? And are there any production techniques from the '80s that you still rely on, or recent techniques and effects that you avoid? Thanks!

(Also, please come back to Australia some time soon, we miss you!)


TMBG: We are actually such dinosaurs we are PRE-portastudio. Micro-Moog and TEAC four-track open reel was our weapon of choice back then. Everything has changed but nothing has changed: writing a good original song is still kind of hard and having fun making sounds is still a blast. We demo stuff at home--usually apart but sometimes together--and we cook up some stuff in the studio while other stuff is going on. We try very hard not to lose the demo spark while taking it to another level putting it together with the band.

Most underrated work?
by conspirator23

Artists don't always see eye-to-eye with their audience. I've heard anecdotes and stories from other artists where they expressed surprise that a piece that meant a tremendous amount to them was ignored by their audience, while a throwaway piece became immensely popular. Can you point to songs of albums that produced a reaction from your fans that was the opposite of what you expected?

TMBG: Hmm. Probably Factory Showroom.

Don't Let's Start was not perceived as a standout track to us or really anyone in our audience until many months after the album was out. A Pittsburgh radio station started playing it like it was a hit song, and that really turned it into something else. Now it seems like a hit song and all the hubbub around it seems quite obvious.

Hypothetical Copyright Question
by WagonWheelsRX8

I've noticed issues regarding copyright tend to have rather opinionated discussions here on Slashdot. My question is a hypothetical one. When copyright law was initially established waaaay back in 1790 it granted protection for 14 years with the option to renew for another 14 years after that time period expired. If this were the way the copyright still worked, and assuming you filed the extension, it wouldn't be long before some of your original works were in the public domain. Would it be unacceptable or would it be considered OK? How do you feel about the current law (life + 70 years)? Is this something artists typically even think of/consider/care about?

TMBG: I am not an expert on copyright and I am not sure how much the changes in copyright are going to effect us in the near term. I would like to make a living making music (which is really not getting easier for any musicians thank-you-very-much), but in the twenty first century, worrying about public domain seems kind of like worrying about the price of air mail postage.

Is nerd-rock a genre ghetto and do you live there?
by conspirator23

Seems like music fans, music critics, and the industry itself are obsessed with categorizing artists and drawing attention to the similarities between them, real or imagined. A music service like Pandora is completely founded on this premise, and its success suggests that for better or for worse, this is the way people relate to music. Does it bug you that your music is often lumped in with artists as stylistically diverse as Weird Al, the Barenaked Ladies, and Ween, or do you find that good company?

TMBG: The world is a ghetto, my friend. Hair metal bands feel weird about being called hair metal bands. 2 Step DJs are making music that is much more than 2 Step! Nobody wants to be put in a box. My sole concern, which has largely faded, had been that labeling might help sell an act or define an audience but it short-circuits a listener's ability to experience our ideas. Saying we're geeks or nerds is such a heavy frame and projects so much intention about what were doing. We write a lot of different kinds of music--and they are not meditations on nerd culture or expressions of our personal nerdiness. At its core we are experimenting with song forms and at its best it can be kind of ambitious. On a good day there is actual, kinda singular, kinda personal artistic stuff going on--so to slap some wikipedia/rock critic label across it just seems like bullshit. RIght?

I don't know if the robots are doing a good job putting together set lists for you, but GOOD LUCK TO ALL BANDS. I barely listen to contemporary music, and what I do listen to is on the radio, and NYC contemporary radio is hip hop--which I like a lot because of the awesome sonics.

Here is an exact and unedited list of records I just played and need to put back in their sleeves--Dianh Wahington, The Byrds, Chuck Willis, Harry Nillson, the original cast recording of Company, Janis Ian's first album, Emmylou Harris, The Music Machine, Anita O'Day, Joe Tex,The Stones Exile on Main Street, Mink Deville, Otis Redding and Carla Thomas, Noel Coward, The Residents, Carla Thomas, Lester Young, The Jive 5, The Songs of Pogo, The Residents, Ray Charles, Gladys Knight, Sly and the Family Stone, Television, The Who Sell Out, Gino Washington, Gene Krupa, Leroy Anderson.

That's what I like.

cancel ×

92 comments

Hurrah TMBG! (-1, Offtopic)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897404)

When you are making an album about science, it is difficult to avoid the culture clash that is created by fact-based systems of thinking with people who demand their personal spiritual beliefs be recognized as fact.

I have never heard such a stirring refutation of socialism as in this sentence. Long live fact-based economic systems! Hurrah TMBG!

Re:Hurrah TMBG! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37897666)

You have a rather odd definition of socialism.

Re:Hurrah TMBG! (1)

Homr Zodyssey (905161) | more than 2 years ago | (#37899836)

...and "Fact-based".

Re:Hurrah TMBG! (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 2 years ago | (#37899972)

Some people do approach secular concepts with quasi-religious fervor. Extreme socialists and extreme capitalists would both be an example, as well as various noneconomic concepts.

Interesting... (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897448)

Interesting- the list of recently listened to artists could just as easily be a list of artists I recently listened to.

Does that make me part nerd? Is that the correct label I should now apply to myself?

Re:Interesting... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37897528)

WOW you should start a best selling band, clearly you have what it takes

Nope. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37897576)

I think the word you were looking for was "hipster".

Re:Interesting... (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#37898142)

Interesting- the list of recently listened to artists could just as easily be a list of artists I recently listened to.

Warmed my heart to see the Stones' Exile on Main St. listed....

That was such a landmark album, so many influences, etc. I think time has really proven that album to be a true genius record of its time.

I hope more and more new musicians take pause and give serious listen to some of the classics of rock like this....take some ideas and move them forward.

Now...if you'll excuse me, "I need a shot of salvation..."

Re:Interesting... (1)

Quince alPillan (677281) | more than 2 years ago | (#37898498)

You're on Slashdot. Slashdot's tagline is "News for Nerds. Stuff that Matters." I think you've already labeled yourself, simply by posting here.

Re:Interesting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37898522)

NO, because you didn't listen to them on vinyl like he did. Did you even read the responses from TMBG above? Golll.

Re:Interesting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37898656)

Hmm, I don't remember them in the movie [imdb.com]

Re:Interesting... (1)

Larryish (1215510) | more than 2 years ago | (#37898874)

Do they ever listen to Bad Religion?

What is the song... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37902980)

...they did for a news magazine show (20/20?) like in the 80-90s? The video was in black and white. I think the song dealt with time.

Re:What is the song... (1)

Harry Coin (691835) | more than 2 years ago | (#37912734)

Older. [youtube.com]

Why didn't anyone ask if they WERE GIANTS? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37897462)

I keep hearing that they MIGHT be giants...why didn't someone actually ask them if they were? Were people too scared? is it being kept quiet because of the Jack and the Beanstalk lawsuit?
Slashdotters want to know....

Re:Why didn't anyone ask if they WERE GIANTS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37897600)

It's got nothing to do with a "Jack"; they're afraid of that weird Spanish guy with the lance.

Re:Why didn't anyone ask if they WERE GIANTS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37898134)

Yeah, Jack Quixote.

Re:Why didn't anyone ask if they WERE GIANTS? (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#37898304)

That's the guy who invented the tilted windmill, right?

Re:Why didn't anyone ask if they WERE GIANTS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37898106)

And what are we gonna do unless they are?!

Re:Why didn't anyone ask if they WERE GIANTS? (1)

uigrad_2000 (398500) | more than 2 years ago | (#37898312)

Now that they've been interviewed on Slashdot, they can finally change their name to "They Who Are Giants".

I fully hope that a contract dispute with their label occurs that forces them to change their name to "The Artists Who Formally May Have Been Giants". At that point the most pedantic of their fans will ask if the former variableness of their Giant-status formally forbids their current Giant-status from still being variable.

Re:Why didn't anyone ask if they WERE GIANTS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37899218)

[pedantic]"The Artists Who Formerly May Have Been Giants" - also, I'll refrain from getting into a debate about "May" vs "Might" [/pedantic]

Re:Why didn't anyone ask if they WERE GIANTS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37901752)

I was going to but I wasn't sure what I was going to do unless they are.

Re:Why didn't anyone ask if they WERE GIANTS? (1)

Dr. Jest (10116) | more than 2 years ago | (#37903728)

I don't know about you, but I don't really want to collapse this particular waveform.

Re:Why didn't anyone ask if they WERE GIANTS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37931940)

At this point they REALLY ARE Giants, but they would then be TRAG, not TMBG. Doesn't sound as good.

Re:Why didn't anyone ask if they WERE GIANTS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38048718)

They prefer to be called "large persons" ... erm, "Brobdingnagan-Americans"

copyright copout (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37897490)

...in the twenty first century, worrying about public domain seems kind of like worrying about the price of air mail postage.

Did not expect this much ignorance and misdirection from people I respect.

Re:copyright copout (1)

TheDawgLives (546565) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897772)

I think his point was that it is what it is and he can't change it i.e. he doesn't deal in hypotheticals.

Re:copyright copout (1)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | more than 2 years ago | (#37903438)

I think his point was that it is what it is and he can't change it i.e. he doesn't deal in hypotheticals.

And would rather spend his time writing music than learning the intricacies of a system he cannot affect. Just pay the postage, or deposit the check, and get back to what's fun.

Re:copyright copout (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37897808)

He doesn't care. About copyright or your opinion.

Re:copyright copout (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37898138)

Copyright is a major source of income for him, but he doesn't care about it? That's hard to believe, like if you said you didn't care one way or the other about giving blowjobs in the men's room.

Re:copyright copout (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37901288)

so, they make a majority of their income from copyrighted material (read: record sales) and not touring? they are definitely in the tiny majority then.

Best comment I ever heard about TMBG (2)

edremy (36408) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897510)

was on a guitar forum when someone posted the question about bands with mediocre guitarists. One responder (not me) commented something along the lines of "John Flansburgh of TMBG qualifies... and I'd still rather listen to them than anything by Yngwie Malmsteen." I wish there were more folks like them around- quirky, bizarre, nerdy and fun: waaay too many musicians take themselves too seriously.

My kids love the "Here Comes Science" album- we end up listening to it in the car constantly. I even use a song or too off of it in my classes.

Re:Best comment I ever heard about TMBG (1)

Psmylie (169236) | more than 2 years ago | (#37900632)

Yeah, they are a fun band to listen to, that's for sure. I saw them live just a couple nights ago (First Avenue, Minneapolis) and they were incredible. I've maybe seen technically better musicians, but these guys have a joy for playing that really comes across, and their songs are fun and interesting.

Plus it's mildly amusing to me when a fairly mellow song like "Birdhouse in your soul" causes the audience to just go WILD.

Re:Best comment I ever heard about TMBG (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 2 years ago | (#37901638)

My kids love the "Here Comes Science" album- we end up listening to it in the car constantly. I even use a song or too off of it in my classes.

Hopefully Science and not English. :)

Re:Best comment I ever heard about TMBG (1)

TexVex (669445) | more than 2 years ago | (#37903722)

was on a guitar forum when someone posted the question about bands with mediocre guitarists. One responder (not me) commented something along the lines of "John Flansburgh of TMBG qualifies... and I'd still rather listen to them than anything by Yngwie Malmsteen."

Hmm. I don't quite get that. I've always considered him to be a very underrated guitarist. He's incredibly versatile and amazingly subtle. But what he's really got is the gift of finding a great hook. There are plenty of amazingly skilled guitarists out there. But most of them aren't part of my mind's internal soundtrack. John Flansburgh's stuff is. So is Peter Buck's. And Ed Robertson.

Most people don't know who any of those guys are, but those are some of the best guitarists in the business today.

on copyright? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897512)

Was it just me, or was their response basically "it isn't in my interest to say this, but copyright is obsolete in the 21st century"?

Re:on copyright? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897530)

On second thought... it is public domain that is obsolete by their wording... And that is truly disheartening.

Re:on copyright? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37897606)

i interpreted it as "everybody already downloads anything they want, so the whole idea of copyright/public domain is pretty useless at this point."

Re:on copyright? (2)

loshwomp (468955) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897634)

On second thought... it is public domain that is obsolete by their wording

Given that they probably don't have the "slashdot culture" context, I think they didn't understand (nor respond to) the question that was being asked--and interesting revelation in itself.

Re:on copyright? (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 2 years ago | (#37898538)

Bands don't make a lot of monry from record sales and those that do don't make much from 14 or whatever year old ones, and everyone ignores the law anyway. So why do you think he gives a shit about it one way or the other? He answered the question perfectly.

Re:on copyright? (2)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#37898358)

On second thought... it is public domain that is obsolete by their wording... And that is truly disheartening.

Actually I think their practical take on the issue is quite heartening. I'm worried about the continued existence of the Public Domain. But on the other hand, much like the cost of airmail doesn't affect me much in terms of sending correspondence, because I use email instead, what is or isn't in the Public Domain doesn't affect me much on a daily basis because all the stuff that is still copyright protected is nevertheless a couple keystrokes away. Like just yesterday I was looking at all the different versions of "I Put a Spell on You" from Screamin Jay Hawkins to Marilyn Manson. No idea which are copyrighted, but they were right there on the YouTubes anyway.

Which makes me feel better about the continued expansion of copyright and the decline of the public domain -- because these issues seem nigh insurmountable, but on the other hand, may not end up mattering much practically.

*shrug*

Re:on copyright? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37898718)

If you've interpreted this annoying evasive answer correctly, I find it rather disheartening. Traditional ./ bad analogies:

"Selling off our national parkland doesn't affect me much because there are plenty of photos of Yellowstone on Flickr."
"Why should I care about farms? There's plenty of low cost food in the supermarket!"
"Global warming won't be much of problem for me; I'm tired of being cold all winter anyway."

Re:on copyright? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#37899166)

I take it more like "Selling off our national parkland doesn't affect me because despite the wishes of the purchasers it will remain undeveloped and open to the public regardless; Yellowstone will still be Yellowstone"

There's a practical public domain much larger than the real one, thanks to the Internet. While I still value the public domain, and am frightened of the continued attempts to prevent anything from ever going in it again, I am heartened by the notion that there is a mostly functional equivalent.

Re:on copyright? (1)

Fast Thick Pants (1081517) | more than 2 years ago | (#37899776)

For the purpose you describe -- casually browsing through a lot of versions of a song -- Youtube works pretty well. (They've gone back and forth over the years as far as hyper-vigiliance against possible copyright violations, and at the moment Google's pretty much looking the other way, but that could change.) But if it's truly public domain, you should be able use it however you want -- including performing it in public, sharing it, hosting it yourself -- without fear of legal reprisal. Availability on Youtube is a sorry substitute. It should be here [loc.gov] .

And as far as the National Park analogy goes, visiting places like Yellowstone and Crater Lake is a lot less pleasant since Xanterra took over all the lodging and concessions, filling them with low-quality food and miserable, underpaid workers.

Re:on copyright? (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 2 years ago | (#37900152)

Can you find me a video of the Constantinople or Particle Man Animaniacs clip? They get continued take down notices whenever I find the clip. Either that or the audio has been purposefully muted or changed.

Re:on copyright? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#37900446)

I have trouble with flash-based video at work so I don't know if it has altered audio or anything, but a quick google for "TMBG Tiny Toons" (not animaniacs) gave me this:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1dscb_they-might-be-giants-istanbul-tiny_shortfilms [dailymotion.com]

But yeah. Obviously the copyright holders can do a lot of damage to the "virtual public domain". It's not a replacement. But as a 'what happens if the public domain as a legal concept is destroyed" it's not the worst practical result. It's not "The Right to Read". Thus, heartening.

Re:on copyright? (1)

cream wobbly (1102689) | more than 2 years ago | (#37898380)

No, they just didn't put an awful lot of thought into the answer, evidenced by "effect". If any though was put into it, it was a politician's answer: noncomittal while trying to appeal to the perceived sympathies of the questioner. Kind of a let down. Ah well.

Re:on copyright? (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 2 years ago | (#37898968)

I read it as "there's already so much piracy that I really wouldn't be worried about my works becoming public domain". Which you could take either way.

Re:on copyright? (1)

Jonner (189691) | more than 2 years ago | (#37899274)

On second thought... it is public domain that is obsolete by their wording... And that is truly disheartening.

I interpreted TMBG's response to mean that it's pointless for them to worry about their work falling into the public domain, which supports the idea that copyright is obsolete. I think they're implying that the fact that their works are under copyright has little to do with how much money they make from them.

Re:on copyright? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37914420)

I read it this way. "Piracy has made copyright obsolete." rather than "Piracy has made the public domain obsolete." Kind of like "piracy is the public domain / everything is in the public domain." Obviously that skims over challenges like the DMCA and DRM but like they said, they are not passionate or knowledgeable about copyright issues.

Holy Crap, They Answered My Question! (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897642)

I really figured it would have been passed on! To be extra verbose now that the dust has settled, I am myself in science but I wanted to try to post the question in as neutral of a tone as possible to avoid making the question itself look biased.

Thanks guys!

Re:Holy Crap, They Answered My Question! (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897850)

I liked their answer too. By my reading they said that the partisan tones are there and are intended.

Re:Holy Crap, They Answered My Question! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37902118)

I liked their answer too. By my reading they said that the partisan tones are there and are intended.

No, that's not what they said at all. "Partisan" suggests that they are taking sides between differences in opinion. I believe their point was that this is not a partisan split, that any cultural opposition to science is a case of the willfully ignorant beating their foreheads against reality... and that by extension, a failure to coddle fools shouldn't be construed as "taking sides."

Re:Holy Crap, They Answered My Question! (-1, Troll)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37898176)

As in...the question was actually biased, but you successfully cloaked it in sciencism so as to hide in the crowd. Congratulations!

How does you spot a sciencist in the wild? They are very hostile if one shows any creative ideas that don't have 'evidence' attached. Always, no matter what you may be talking about...human relations, sex, politics, you name it ...they suggest a person cannot have ideas and explore as long as you are not a scientist, and have no 'evidence'.

This is similar to religion. I.e., the Church condemning ANY experience unless sanctioned by the Church! This is the impression I get from seeing sciencism in the wild.

I agree with Feminist critics of sciencism, that you who promote science in the way you do - as sciencism - are yourselves seemingly unaware of the patriarchal assumptions you share. Your 'mind/body problem' for example...Your neanderthal views of females, and so on. Your belief that you can be wholly objective with your scientific method and how it must therefore be 'truth'. But I see you as a Kafkaesque iron door ready to slam shut in front on anyone wanting to explore beyond consensual boundaries. You use various forms of attack to defend your sciencist worldview (*cough* Slashdot moderation *cough*) and allow none other to pollute your small-minded viewpoint, which is based not on science, but on sciencism. Einstein and Turing would be ashamed.

Re:Holy Crap, They Answered My Question! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37898386)

Seriously, dude.

I think I speak for everyone when I say "Get back on your meds."

Re:Holy Crap, They Answered My Question! (1)

crow_t_robot (528562) | more than 2 years ago | (#37900140)

WTF am I reading?

Re:Holy Crap, They Answered My Question! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37900676)

wat

Re:Holy Crap, They Answered My Question! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37901128)

There's no such thing as 'sciencism'. There is such a thing as science, which is both a body of knowledge and a method of inquiry. As the latter, it demands a particular structure, which is to say that ideas without evidence to back those ideas aren't worth a great deal to science. It's not enough to say 'I believe the moon is a marmot egg', you have to demonstrate that marmots lay eggs and that there are marmots of sufficient dimension to lay an egg the size of the moon, and also explain why the moon is an egg, despite the evidence being against that claim. And really, for any one of those points I wish you the best of luck.

It's like the saying goes-- everyone's entitled to their own opinions, but not to their own facts. You can believe whatever you'd like, have whatever ideas you'd like to have, but if you want people to take the same seriously you have to provide a reason to do so. You need evidence.

Really, science is predicated on the idea that people aren't objective. In order to be 'wholly' objective we'd have to be omniscient. Scientists, instead, works with the best available information and the understanding that while our knowledge of the world is incomplete, we can make rational observations about the same based on what we do know. You're using some kind of computer right now. That computer works because of science. You've probably flown in an airplane or driven a car. Those devices work because of science. We (as a species) created a rocket capable of sending human beings to the Moon, sent human beings to the Moon and brought them back alive because of science. We've landed robot spacecraft on other planets, we've looked back in time to the beginning of the universe, all because science works. Whatever your creative ideas may be, they have their work cut out for them.

Also, what did neanderthals ever do to you?

Re:Holy Crap, They Answered My Question! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37902256)

I agree with Feminist critics of sciencism,

Mangina.

Re:Holy Crap, They Answered My Question! (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 2 years ago | (#37900072)

I can't say I am surprised about their science answer... they write their songs with purpose and meaning. I don't necessarily disagree with them, either. But to say that religion and science are at odds is to deny that God created this world based on the science. We just keep playing catch-up in our understanding of His laws. (Obviously not all religionists or scientists agree with my viewpoint. Still there are plenty of well respected scientists who are also devout religionists. I'm just putting this out there in the hope that some will see there are not two extremes to the topic.)

Wow (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897792)

Am I the only person who noticed they evaded pretty much every single question? Maybe they took the Jim Morrison approach and took a truckload of LSD before responding... At least their music is better than their responses, on the other hand they'd probably make great politicians.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37897974)

Am I the only person who noticed they evaded pretty much every single question?

You're either the only one, or the only one with poor reading comprehension skills.

Re:Wow (2)

cream wobbly (1102689) | more than 2 years ago | (#37898610)

No, they were evasive. They only firmly answered one question, and almost hit the mark with the last one. They squirmed a bit with the "science agenda" one, but couldn't help answering in the affirmative. The rest of the answers were noncommital.

1. What's the next big thing? A. Something.
2. Did you mean to be anti-religion? A. Richard Dawkins.
3. TMBG version of Rock Band? A. Shrug.
4. Should bands be using things like Tiny Toons? A. There is no more Tiny Toons.
5. Does the medium influence the material? A. We haven't changed our methods.
6. Underrated, overrated songs? A. Factory Showroom and Don't Let's Start.
7. What about copyright, huh? A. It's hard to make a living as a musician and PD is like the price of air mail.
8. Are you nerds? Don't pigeonhole me.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37898216)

Am I the only person who noticed they evaded pretty much every single question? Maybe they took the Jim Morrison approach and took a truckload of LSD before responding...

At least their music is better than their responses, on the other hand they'd probably make great politicians.

You're not familiar with their body of work and their personalities, are you?

They clearly drank a truckload of coffee beforehand.

Out of seriousness, though, their music is quite well known for requiring interpretation skills and reading between the lines to make any sense out of it whatsoever. They're not well-known for being direct.

Well.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37897900)

Look, I agree with a lot of their messages, but I just cannot stand the music itself. Whenever I hear a TMBG song, I think of those kiddy-themed CDs that were advertised on TV a while back. I prefer to listen to music for the music, not the message.

Re:Well.... (1)

cream wobbly (1102689) | more than 2 years ago | (#37898662)

That's about the exact opposite of most fans' reactions to TMBG.

As for actual kiddy-themed CDs, TMBG make about the most grown-up of any artist.

Re:Well.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37899056)

I took it to mean that the GP just doesn't like TMBG. We all have our preferences, I don't care much them either.

Aww (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#37897934)

They didn't answer my question about if they realized they were even older. :(

TMBG answers to no one (1)

notgm (1069012) | more than 2 years ago | (#37898090)

Say what they mean, mean what they say.

One thing I've always noted about TMBG is that they don't appear to ever sell out or take direction from anyone. Even when they have commercial tie-ins (malcom, mickey mouse clubhouse) it's still obviously TMBG-originated material.

This interview was no different.

Factory Showroom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37898204)

I'm curious to know what their expectations were regarding Factory Showroom vs. how it was received. At first, I interpreted their answer to be that they expected the album to be well-received and it wasn't, but now I wonder if they weren't pleased with the final product and found it to be surprisingly well-received. I can't imagine that TMBG would release an album that they didn't believe was worth releasing. I remember when FS came out, I fell in love with it right away. I also remember reading alt.music.tmbg in those days and reading reviews that declared that TMBG had "sold out". I didn't take those claims very seriously, though, because fans had been declaring that ever since they ditched the all-drum-machine sound for a full band.

So I'm curious, did they think it would do well and it didn't, or did they think it would do poorly and it did well?

Re:Factory Showroom (1)

The Night Watchman (170430) | more than 2 years ago | (#37898226)

(BTW, this was my post - I forgot to log in first)

Re:Factory Showroom (1)

TexVex (669445) | more than 2 years ago | (#37903484)

According to Wikipedia, Flans once stated Factory Showroom was his favorite TMBG album. Clearly they thought it was some of their best work. However, they parted with their label afterwards, and one of the reasons was a feeling that the label failed to adequately promote the album.

I think Factory Showroom is their best work to date. There are parts of every single album before and since that I love, but for Factory Showroom I know every lyric of every song by heart.

I bought the CD when it was released. It wasn't long before I recorded a WAV of the line "HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO LET YOU KNOW THEY WAY I FEEL ABOUT YOU" from Exquisite Dead Guy, and made it my Windows startup sound. :) That was back before XP.

Re:Factory Showroom (1)

makisupa (118663) | more than 2 years ago | (#37904540)

I once drove from (somewhere) to (somewhere 6 hours away) listening to nothing but Factory Showroom - coming from a person who loves whole albums, that was one fantastic album.

Wish i would've known... (2)

broginator (1955750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37898306)

...I would've asked them, "Why is triangle man such a dick?"

Re:Wish i would've known... (1)

Scarletdown (886459) | more than 2 years ago | (#37903314)

...I would've asked them, "Why is triangle man such a dick?"

And I would have asked, "Why did Constantinople get the works?"

Re:Wish i would've known... (1)

broginator (1955750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37906134)

Well that's nobody's business but the Turks.

Whatever happened to my Double X bumper sticker? (2)

Keith Russell (4440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37898588)

Don't Let's Start was not perceived as a standout track to us or really anyone in our audience until many months after the album was out. A Pittsburgh radio station started playing it like it was a hit song, and that really turned it into something else.

We keep hearing echoes of WXXP in Pittsburgh, even after all these years. That was the most daring rock playlist in the city in the late '80s, but without all the WTF-ishness of WRCT. We'll never see its like again, though, especially with Clear Channel and CBS dominating the market.

Istanbul not Constantinople (1)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 2 years ago | (#37898590)

Why did Constantinople get the works? Why is it nobody's business but the Turks?

New York was once New Amsterdam, why they changed it I don't know maybe they just liked it better that way?

Because.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37899744)

...they made a little birdhouse in their soul.

Re:Istanbul not Constantinople (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 2 years ago | (#37901670)

You might not know, but you really can't say. It rhymes better that way.

The question that wasn't asked... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37899372)

Why do you suck so much? I think They Might Be a Bunch of Pig Fucking Cock Gobblers would be a better name for this trash "band."

Re:The question that wasn't asked... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37899522)

Agreed! If I only had mod points....

Re:The question that wasn't asked... (1)

Iniamyen (2440798) | more than 2 years ago | (#37900834)

Wow, this would almost be funny if it wasn't so angry, unnecessary, wrong, and inappropriate.

Animaniacs and other stuff (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 2 years ago | (#37900062)

The Animaniacs clip with Constantinople and Particle Man always get take down notices when posted on Youtube. I can't find them. It really is a loss to entertainment's posterity - what with all these protection of creations. Let the stuff ride, if not for free, then charge us something reasonable!

It is interesting, there may be a whole new generation that listens to TMBG and not even realize it. I instantly recognized the sound of the Johns in Coraline (Other Father Song), and they do the intro for Malcolm in the Middle and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Re:Animaniacs and other stuff (2)

Scarletdown (886459) | more than 2 years ago | (#37903462)

The Animaniacs clip with Constantinople and Particle Man always get take down notices when posted on Youtube. I can't find them. It really is a loss to entertainment's posterity - what with all these protection of creations. Let the stuff ride, if not for free, then charge us something reasonable!

It is interesting, there may be a whole new generation that listens to TMBG and not even realize it. I instantly recognized the sound of the Johns in Coraline (Other Father Song), and they do the intro for Malcolm in the Middle and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Well, here's Istanbul [youtube.com] (not Constantinople).

For Particle Man, just remember, there are other video sites that are not YouTube.

Voila! [in.com]

And so you don't have to try to hunt them down yet again the next time these vanish from the Web, I highly recommend installing Unplug [mozilla.org] , so you can download video files from YouTube and other sites and save them locally to play back in the media player of your choosing.

Re:Animaniacs and other stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37906252)

They are out there, and you can easily buy them: on an actual physcial DVD (I know, only weirdos like me still like those). TMBG's Direct from Brooklyn [tmbw.net] features both Tiny Toons (not Animaniacs) videos, as well as a dozen other music videos.

Cool! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37900312)

That's my radio show John mentions, "A Way with Words." John and John, come meet Martha and me for dinner when you play the Belly Up near San Diego month. Our treat. :)

Cool! (1)

MoNickels (1700) | more than 2 years ago | (#37900350)

(Didn't meant to post anonymously...)

John and John, I'm a longtime Slashdot user and cohost of A Way with Words. Come and have dinner with Martha and me when you play the Belly Up near San Diego next month.

Re:Cool! (1)

CaseCrash (1120869) | more than 2 years ago | (#37901088)

Wow, I love A Way with Words! It's always weird when you find out that someone you consider famous is also wasting their life doing similar things to you like slashdot. Keep up the fantastic job with your show, it's always fascinating.

( P.S. I, too, would be excited if TMBG ever talked about me :) )

Re:Cool! (1)

MoNickels (1700) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908414)

Glad you like it! Where do you listen?

Off course there are Giants (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | more than 2 years ago | (#37904616)

Off course there are Giants, they are very real and have killed millions of lives without even knowing they did. Oh wait this isnt a nerd article.

My personal experience (1)

Jon Abbott (723) | more than 2 years ago | (#37907772)

I went to see them about a decade ago in Tallahassee, FL, and OK Go [tmbw.net] was the opener (before they became big!). The thing that amazed me (more than the show itself) was that John Flansburgh came out to talk to the audience before the show started, and was courteous enough to warn a mother in front of us that the show would be loud and could hurt her child's ears. IIRC, I think he even had earplugs to give away for just that scenario. How many other bands would do that?

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