Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pre-Halloween Shows

Paul and I saw two great TMBG shows the day before Halloween, and we dressed up as Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo from one of our favorite films, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The shows were at the Quick Center for the Arts in Fairfield, CT and were joined by Curt Ramm and Stan Harrison, but Dan Miller was absent from the late show. During the early show, the Johns commented on the crushing weight of their latest Grammy Award (above). Nobody in the band dressed up, except for Marty Beller who went as a Drum Cymbal. There were also a few other costumed audience members, including a Freddy Krueger.

A Song For You:

 Per request, here's a "cover" of a classic tune that John Linnell busts out with while John Flansburgh conducts the standard improvised cacophony of musical noise that occupies the final section of "Spy". This happened at a show in Bielefeld, Germany on 4/22/92.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

My TMBG Tattoos

For many years I'd wanted a They Might Be Giants tattoo, something original. I came across photos of some tats sported by a "Weird" Al Yankovic fanatic named Dave Rossi who had the entire band sign his ankles, and then added color portraits. I thought it was a neat, original idea for a TMBG tattoo, especially considering that Flansburgh's autograph includes a stunning self-portrait but I didn't want to go through with it if I couldn't get my ankle signed directly.
I initially asked John Flansburgh during a short unplanned, unmoderated text chat that happened in 2000 after a planned, moderated voice chat hosted by Here's an excerpt:

tdk says: John Flansburgh, I got to see TMBG in concert for the 50th time last month at MIT. You guys are better and better every time I see you! I have a personal request to make, I hope it doesn't sound too crazy to you: Would you autograph my left ankle, so I can have it inked in as a tattoo? I'm completely serious about this.
John Flansburgh - They Might Be Giants says: I suppose, although it does sound crazy
foodmage says: Now THAT is hardcore.
John Flansburgh - They Might Be Giants says: I'm not really into body modification
John Flansburgh - They Might Be Giants says: I can't even figure out how to shave


So, he (grudgingly) agreed but I didn't get to ask him to do it in person until over a year later, at the infamous Mink Car in-store and I'm sure that he had forgotten about the exchange by then. He turned me down, and I was disappointed but not surprised. Hours later, the Trade Center came down and my autograph problem seemed a bit inconsequential.
After about four years, I decided to go ahead and get the Flansy tattoo using the autograph he signed for me on paper mere seconds after declining to sign my ankle. I had it done as a birthday present to myself, and have since gone back for a new tattoo annually during my birth month. (July)
Needless to say, I didn't bother asking Mr. Linnell, and ended up using an autograph he gave me at an in-store signing. In '07 and '08 I got my logos, and have since had an opportunity to flash my ankles at the Johns, who seemed impressed.

Last year I got my first non-TMBG tattoo. It's the Robot Chicken from my favorite television show of the same name. It went over well at the Robot Chicken Skate Party. This year I added Drinky Crow opposite the Chicken, which works out well since Crow is an Adult Swim character as well as a long-time TMBG icon. 
In 2011, I intend to fill the two remaining ankle spaces (fronts) with the cartoon Johns from Here Comes Science in a grand double-finale'. It will resolve perfectly with each John gesturing towards his respective autograph. I have pasted these guys into the above college as a kind of simulation to give you an idea of what it will look like.

UPDATE: July 6, 2011
The time has come. As promised, my 2011 TMBG Tattoo Twofer!
Ladies and people, here is my offering for TMBG’s Can’t Keep Johnny Down Video Contest. No cats, as per request. It’s a time lapse of my annual trip to the tattoo parlor. This year, it’s the cartoony Johns by David Cowles from Here Comes Science (above) as They appear on the album's official sticker sheet. Chooch at Bayside Ink Tattoo in Beachwood, NJ did the honors on July 6, 2011. You don't see it in the video, but I wore my tie-dye HFStival shirt (#28) while being jabbed repeatedly. Actual time under the needle: 25 minutes. No blood, I promise.

UPDATE: March 3, 2012
Here's the plan for my 2012 TMBG Tattoo, which is four months away. I'm getting their newest logo above tattoo #1 of John Flansburgh's autograph. This really may be the final leg area available that could be considered "ankle space".

MP3 of the Week:
I Hope That I Get Old Before I Die

John and John attempt to convince the audience to sing along on the chorus, again and again and again. They even provide cue cards! Performed at Tipitina's in New Orleans, LA on 6/20/88.
Buy Join Us Now!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Three Down, One Missed and Five to Go

We saw a nice family show at Town Hall, then headed downtown for the customary pastrami sandwich at my favorite NYC eatery, Katz's delicatessen. We spent longer there then anticipated, and rather then hurry back uptown we decided to skip the second show, which we suspected would have an identical setlist.

Anyway, Here are some more photos that I took in Providence:

 Above, John Flansburgh checks to see if the show is running long.
Below, he counts off something or other while Dan Miller feigns interest.
 Above, John Linnell prepares to execute an "I Dream of Jeannie" maneuver.
Below, he gets underneath things.
 Above, Danny Weinkauf has a seat while The Avatars of They do their thing.
Below, John Flansburgh does likewise while banging on the drum for Whistling in the Dark.
 Above, Danny looks on in amazement as both Johns simultaneously go narcoleptic on our asses.
Below, Marty averts his eyes from the devastating confetti storm.
 Above, Linnell steps away from his apparently broken mic and gazes amusedly at Flansburgh as he is forced to tackle the opening verse of Alphabet of Nations single-mouthedly.
Below, Linnell then attempts to steal Flansburgh's mic, who slaps his hand away in feigned annoyance.
 Above, John's mic is reactivated and he decides to swallow it whole in order to avoid further difficulties.
Below, Dan "Solder" Miller backs that shit up!

Originally recorded by Willie Nelson & Julio Iglesias, this song was covered at Tramps in New York City on New Years Eve 1998. (My 31st TMBG show) The ceiling was too low for normal utilization of The Stick, so Lie Still Little Bottle was not performed. Instead, John Flansburgh sings into The Stick's attached distorted microphone while John Linnell pipes his own voice through the vocoder.