Shows/1987-03-04/Interviews

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The following are transcriptions of the interviews conducted on March 4, 1987 on the Frank O'Toole show.

Key:
FO = Frank O'Toole
JF = John Flansburgh
JL = John Linnell

Interview - Part #1[edit]

JF: La la la laaa!... [singing the ending of "Snowball in Hell"; loudly]

JL: La!

FO: Oh my god.

JL: Ow.

JF: Nice lady!

FO: Bring those levels down. Needles are pinned-ah! [pause] Hey! Hi!

JL: Frank!

FO: Ho!

JF: We're back!

FO: What were those dates?

JF: Oh, we don't— we're only doing one big show, but it's Saturday night and we are asking everyone in your listening audience to come because we need people to be at this place that holds 450 people, known as "The Village Gate." This Saturday night, 9 and midnight, and it's— it's a really good deal; we're really crossing over into a whole new jazz experience that everyone's going to enjoy.

FO: There was once a show there called "Let My People Come," by the way. I'm serious.

JF: Really?

JL: [background] I know.

FO: Earl Wilson Jr. wrote it.

JF: Really?

FO: That's as trivial as you can get.

JF: (laughs) [funny voice] You know your trivia, Frank!

FO: Welcome to the wacky world of WFMU, guys; John and John. And Bill, the silent partner. Bill is here, too. Without Bill, these guys wouldn't be here, am I correct?

JL: [quietly] We'd be the silent partners.

FO: A-ha; I'd be talking to dead mics. We were talking to Dead Mics earlier...um, that was a band, by the way, nevermind. What did we hear?

JF: Uh.

JL: The last thing was called "Avalanche or Roadblock"...

JF: Parenthesis.

JL: ..and that was the original phone version. If people are listening, it's probably a good time to, like—

FO: "Avalanche or Roadblock"?! I thought it was called "Snowball in Hell"!

JF: Actually, it is called "Snowball in Hell." __I Was__ a Snowball in Hell, but—

JL: But I like to call it—

JF: (laugh)

JL: Nevermind.

FO: Okay...

JL: Before that, we heard, uh, "It's Not My Birthday," also the original phone machine version. Not the version that.. doesn't exist on our album.

JF: And then before that we heard a song that I can't hardly remember. Oh!

JL: So long ago.

JF: Yeah, but, it was on the phone today. We have a Dial-A-Song service; actually, people probably don't even know what we're talking about, so we should clarify that we have a— we are They Might Be Giants, which is like a rock band, and we have a Dial-A-Song service—

FO: We love you like a rock band.

JF: Well, it, it feels like a rock band. Often. But, uh, the Dial-A-Song is 718-387-6962, and that has a new song every day. If you look in The Village Voice, you can find the number in the Club section, in an ad for the band They Might Be Giants.

FO: Ah, I wasn't paying attention, what was that, 718-what?

JF: 718-387-6962, is the number for Dial-A-Song.

FO: The first time you were on, we must've given the phone number about fifteen times. And somebody called up later and said that when he was listening we left off the last number.

JF: Every time.

FO: As if that was an "s" as in "savings".

JF: Right.

[laughter]

JF: Hey.

FO: Um, so you guys are playing—

JF: Aren't you Robert Merrill of the Daryl Hannah school?

[snickering and laughter]

FO: Um, you guys are playing at The Village Gate. Who are you playing with, Pharoah Sanders?

[laughter]

FO:  Yusef Lateef?

JF: Yeah, Phar— Pharaoh is gonna be sitting in... on... bass.

JL: He's gonna be sitting on the bass.

FO: On— on those 88's.

JF: No, uh, a performance group called Watchface who are actually exceptionally... interesting are going to be opening for us there, and, um, there's going to be a special appearance by Frieda, the Swedish—

FO: ABBA?

JF: Well, sort of like ABBA!

FO: No, but, is Frida from ABBA?

JF: It's not the exact same Frieda from ABBA, but it's a very similar Frida from ABBA.

FO: Okay, this is, uh—

JF: They're both from Sweden.

FO: What a coincidence!

JF: They are both from Sweden. And um, so, it's— it's a power-packed evening of entertainment, happening at The Village Gate.

FO: At 9 and midnight.

JF: 9 and midnight are two shows; two completely different shows. They're gonna push everyone out at 10:30 and make way for everyone; or at 11 or whatever.

FO: They— yeah, they have thugs? No, they don't have thugs. They're a club!

JF: No, actually, it's gonna be—

FO: Uh, we're gonna have you guys play live shortly and uh, in the meantime we'll go back to this tape here, is that—

JF: Ok, yeah, this—well, we could play some stuff off the record which is more of this slick rock show stuff, the tape is really more for alternative—

FO: You know what's really funny? What's really funny about that is that the record's not queued up.

JF: Yeah, so we'd better go back to that—yeah, this is—this is uh, this is a little bit of the esoteric side of They Might Be Giants I believe this next song is called "Mr. Klaw" but I'm not sure so...you might...well, let the tape run and we'll see what it is.

FO: Might wanna give the ID, right before 11.

JF: This is, uh...

JL: The Frank O'Toole Show on WFMU. What are those numbers?

FO: 91.1

JL: 91.1

FO: That's good enough—East Orange.

JL: East Orange, New Jersey.

FO: Try not to yawn.

[foreign voice]

Interview - Part #2[edit]

FO: Now you're on

JF: We're back on the air with Frank O'Toole, this is John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants

JL: And this is John Linnell! Still out in the hall!

JF: Did you get that, Frank?

FO: Yes.

JF: Good. Ok, well, we are in separate places, and that's to remind you that we are performing live at the Village Gate on the seventh. We won't mention the price of seven-dollars-and-fifty-cents, because this is not a commercial radio, but we have a, we have a special tape, we're actually playing a lot of obscure stuff, usually we like to keep it kind of...main-stream, AOR...rock, with kind of a...heavy metal...beast bent—

JL: Raaaawk

JF: —to it. We were on SOU...last night, and uh—

FO: Wait a minute, wait a minute,

JF: -we had some serious head bangers, uh, calling up, going—

FO: You were on KROQ Sunday, SOU last night, Joe Franklin last night; where's the exclusivity of it all?

JF: But Frank, this is the only show that we do IDs for.

FO: Aw, all right, all right, as long as there is something different about this.

JF: And also, this is really the only show that we feel kind of...relaxed on. That's a very special feeling. For us. 

FO: Get moving!

JF: Ok, ok. All right, all right, sorry.

JL: Vin's show was really relaxed.

JF: What was that, John?

JL: I thought Vin's show was pretty relaxed, too.

JF: Yeah, Vin's show was pretty relaxed, too. KROQ. Vin is really, um, taking on the rock establishment there, in Manhattan....with his show. Pretty cool show.

FO: Before I forget, I guess I should mention, before you guys get into the music again, live music, um, we're gonna give away two pair—is it two pair? or two...  

JF: Three pairs.

FO: Three pairs.

JF: Three pairs.

JL: Three pairs. That's six!

FO: That's six people. Where is that other guy coming from? I thought we got rid of him!

JF: No, we didn't, we ditched him in the hallway, but he's stolen one of the mics.

FO: God. Whoa, you mean he's got a long long long long long wire? 

JF: Yup.

FO: Like a long long trailer?

JF: Yes, long enough to reach the ground.

FO: It's ten—ten minutes past 11 o'clock, by the way, 91.1 WFMU Frank O'Toole here with They Might Be Giants who are playing Saturday night at the Village Gate this Saturday and after they are done we will give away the...three pair, but you have to be able to identify what today is. Maybe, maybe you should be Catholic...I don't—it doesn't matter, but uh, we have to make you think. It's 11:11, back to live music.

Interview - Part #3[edit]

 
JL: [distant] What?

JF: We're back!

JL: [distant] We're back

JF: So I have to apologize for the quality of that tape there at the end I didn't realize that I was using such cheap...tape, but um, anyway—

FO: You guys are gonna get a reputation for that. Is—is John still...

JF: Yeah, John's still out there. You got...John on the mic.

FO: Is John still out there?

JL: We really enjoyed your sh—being on your show, Frank.

FO: I enjoyed having you, John. And John. And Bill.

JL: Bill too!

JF: So, are you gonna be going to the gate? and getting part of this, uh, big ticket giveaway?

FO: Uh...

JF: You're number one on our list.

FO: I might go late. I might go late.

JF: The late—the 3:00 show?

FO: I—I, I wanna know, I wanna know about the comparison with Germany in the 30's, but we don't really have time for that right now. So why don't you give the information on uh, Saturday night.

JF: Ok, one last time, we are playing at the Village Gate, which is a legendary jazz club in the heart of Greenwich Village on Bleaker and Thompson, we're doing two big shows, um, one at 9:00, and one at midnight, we're performing with a group called "Watchface" who are really really good, and uh, it costs money to get in, you have to be over 21, so be sure to bring...your fake ID.

JL: We really need people to come to this show, it's really important for our career.

JF: The what? Oh, yeah.

FO: What career?

JL: Our up—up-and-coming career in rock music.

FO: You guys won't make it. As far as I'm concerned, till I see you on Soul Train.

JF: Well, you know—

JL: We're depending on you to get us on, Frank.

JF: Yeah, Frank, we wanted to talk to you about the—the money involved in getting us on Soul Train.

FO: Yeah, well me and Don Cornelius, you know? We're like that!

JF: The sound—

FO: That!

JF: The sound that made it happen, Frank O'Toole and Don Cornelius.

FO: That's right, they get us confused all the time. Uh, right, uh, we're gonna give away three pair of tickets and you have to identify what today means.

JF: Oh, the date on that show...

FO: Saturday.

JF: Is Saturday, okay, I didn't know.

FO: What is it, the date on Saturday?

JF: The seventh.

JL: Seventh. 

JF: March seventh.

FO: You guys are thinking about that, I noticed. Not too sure, with your time, are you?

Bill Krauss: His mind is a calculating machine.

JL: How can you see him think?

FO: I smelled wood burning. WFMU, 91.1—

JL: Good answer!

FO: Thank you—good answer! Good answer!

FO: Thank you They Might Be Giants, for stopping down here, and we'll see you Saturday night.

JF: Thank you, Frank.

JL: Thanks a lot.

JF: It's always a pleasure to be on this show.

FO: Same here.

Interview - Part #4[edit]

(ending instrumental to Where Your Eyes Don't Go)

FO: ...fade out here? Here?

JL: [distant] Yeah, fade out.

FO: There?

JF: Yeah--quick! Quick! Fade out!

FO: I'm faded!

JF: Oh, okay. Stop the tape now.

FO: Okay, yeah, okay. That wasn't live? That was They Might Be Giants, and, uh, both of you are here, John and John.

JF: Well, FMU. House of Rock.

FO: Second house of--second home--second house.

JF: The other house of rock.

FO: The other house is where your parents live.

JF (pause): So, it's great to be back, Frank. The magic is back, here at WFMU.

JL: And we're bad.

FO: I was thinking of you guys the other night as I watched the, uh, the Giants play football, the superbowl champs.

JF: Really?

FO: Yeah, they got their asses whipped. And I kept thinking, 'they might be, they should be'...

JF: But somehow...

FO: 'They aren't'.

JF: No...

FO: They were pretenders! You guys are the real thing. 

JL: Right on.

JF: Got that right, Frank. [heh]

FO: I'm raising my fists in the air, it's too bad you can't see it. You can't even smell it.

JF: The magic--the magic of radio.

FO: Alright. What was the name of that last song we just heard? 

JL: That was called 'Where Your Eyes Don't Go'. Unreleased, anywhere, only available on the radio.

FO: Where your--'Where Your Eyes Don't Go'. I'm sure that's gonna turn up somehow, it's pretty good.

JL: Yeah, actually.

FO: It's kind of, uh, that noir sound.

JL: That whole, like--yeah [doo weeoooo]

FO: Kind of, uh, 'The Fourth Man' thing.

JL: Yeah, right.

FO: Um, you guys are playing...you're always playing, but this is very special.

JL: Yes.

FO: A couple of weeks in a row.

JF: We're doing four Fridays in a row at The Village Gate, starting this Friday. We're doing it with The Ordinaires, performing with us. And, um, yeah, we're doing shows at The Village Gate at nine and midnight, and--

FO: Two shows each Friday night.

JF: Two shows each Friday night. Date night. Bring your friends. It's a big, big thing.

FO: That's right, you guys don't care about gender, or cross-section, or--cross DRESSING for that matter, I heard. 

JF: You like EVERYONE.

JL: No, that's--that's not true--

FO: You guys played The Pyramid! [chuckle]

JF: There's nothing wrong...with The Pyramid, Frank.

FO: I didn't say there was! I'm not making a judgement here, I'm just sort of--I'm using that as a, uh...as a point of reference. So, you know, people who ordinarily wouldn't go out to shows might want to go out to see you guys play.

JF: Yes!

FO: Speaking of playing, this is a catchy way to, uh, slip into this. You guys have ANOTHER thing happening here, a live thing. We have a microphone up here.

JL: Sure do!

FO: And--don't be distracted by what I'm doing here, I'm constantly flipping through paperwork. 

[laughter]

JF: I'm just trying to figure out--what exactly ARE you doing, Frank.

[laughter]

FO: I had some catchy, uh, clever questions that I was gonna ask you, but, it's history now.

JF: Oh, this is like flashbacks to the old Franklin show, here.

FO: We have, uh, 'Izzy Dedyet, what do you think of They Might Be Giants?' No, [laughter]. So you guys wanna do a song?

JF: Sure!

JL: Sure!

FO: Go ahead!

JF: Let's close this door, 'cause there's all this noise coming in from, like the, alternative radio station out here.

JL: From the [grumble mumble]! All this noise coming from [grumble]!

FO: The Rude Boys! 

JF: Hi, we're on the radio! We are They Might Be Giants, we'd like to thank you all for listening to the radio. Um, what song are we gonna do?

JL: Uh....uh....I wanna...first of all, dedicate this one to Glen's wife, Elizabeth, who is at home, bummin' out.

FO: Ah.

JL: Is this mic loud enough from this...?

FO: She on psychedelics? No? Oh! Oh, not THAT kind of bummin' out. 

JF: No no...

JL: No, she's just a little sad, and we thought we'd cheer her up with a little Giants Magic. 

JF: Elizabeth, Elizabeth, feel better, about everything.

FO: New Jersey!

JF: I didn't know that. Why is she bummin' out?

JL: I dunno.

JF: So, uh, what song are we--let's do--

FO: [laughing] It's not anybody's business, actually.

JF: Let's do this song.

JL: Birds Fly?

JF: Oh, you wanna do Birds Fly?

JL: Yeeah!

JF: Okay.

JL: Alright. This is how it goes.

Interview - Part #5[edit]

JL: Frank O'Toole...is back.

FO: [sigh] I was holding my breath there, as you were holding that note!

JF: Eee!

FO: How are you able to do that in a smoke-filled room?

JL: Circular breathing. 

JF: [something french-sounding] Rasonne(???)

JL: Rasonne.

FO: Rasonne-and-on. They don't call me a disc-jockey for nothin' you know!

JF: So, um, shall we give away these tickets to the first three hundred callers? 

FO: You wanna give away to the first three hundred callers? Say goodbye to your career!

[laughter]

JF: We're giving away tickets to, uh, to The Village Gate, this Friday night. They Might Be Giants, nine o'clock, and midnight. 

FO: With The Ordinaires!

JF: With The Ordinaires, performing first at nine and midnight. We're going on around ten and one. So, we're gonna be giving away free tickets to the first three hundred callers, here.

FO: And who's going to introduce you Friday night? 

JF: Mr. Joe Franklin! 

[JL starts playing accordion]

FO: Very impressive.

JF: The King of Men.

[laughing]

JF: So, uh...[laughs]

FO: Isn't there some kind of, like, laughter in the background or something?

JL: No, no. That's only your experience.

FO: I'm a white boy, I can't get into the rhythms, what can I say.

JF: So, uh, what is the number here to call for the first...

FO: Well...

JF: After--after we start the next song, I think we'll start taking calls. Is that the way we should do it?

FO: That was a bad move, right there.

JL: Yeah.

FO: Somebody's gonna be extremely angry.

JF: We are gonna give tickets to the person who's calling right now, and the next two hundred and ninety nine--

FO: No, you keep saying that, you're gonna be held to it.

JL: I swear. 

JF: We are, we are. So, um...

FO: No, I don't wanna encourage three hundred people to call up. We are giving away three pair. 

JL: Three pair.

FO: Three pair. Three, times two, equal six.

JL: So if you are the three hundredth caller here on WFMU, you will be the lucky recipient of those three pairs of tickets.

FO: I've already counted about two hundred and ninety eight calls in the last two--in the last minute and a half.

JF: So what is the number here, on the air? 

FO: Uh, 201--actually, we should just say that if you know the number, then you deserve the tickets. So let's just see how that works. 'Cause there are enough people out there that call in all the time for these kinds of things. 

JF: Huh. But that's not really democratic.

FO: Oh I think it's fair.

JL: If this doesn't work, then everyone will know, 'cause we'll be giving out the number. 

[laughter]

FO: No, no, no, no, no. You have to--you know, it's a calculated risk, here. And I think, uh, I don't think we're in for a let-down on this. WFMU is a radio station, They Might Be Giants are the two guys, the band, and they will be playing four successive Fridays, starting this Friday, at The Village Gate. The area code is 201. 

JF: The station is WFMU.

FO: The call letters are 91.1, uh, we're gonna go back to some tapes, and then we'll start picking up the phones, and we will take the first three--what do we want do go? The first, third, and fifth?

JF: Fifth?

JL: You figure it out.

JF: Where's the fifth? 

FO: The fifth is under the table.

JL: Alright! 

FO: But I can't deal with him until we're done here. FCC rules here, you know. Alright, we have a tape here queued up. What do we have on this tape, John?

JF: Uh, this the new remix of Don't Let's Start, which we're releasing as a 12" Maxi Single, along with three other alternative songs on the B-Side, which we will be debuting here as their second live airing, anywhere. 

FO: Are they on the same tape, here?

JF: They're all on that tape, right. They all have, like, five seconds in between them, or ten seconds in between. We can come back and go...no more callers.

[laughter]

FO: We have the answer, thank you.

JL: We have a winner!

FO: Okay, 10:43, 17 before 11:00, WFMU, They Might Be Giants, and Don't Let's Start.