The Baggs (sometimes spelled The Bags) was a band in which John Linnell played saxophone and keyboards for a very brief period while he was in high school. Most people seem to overlook this stage in his musical career. The Early Years Handbook quotes Linnell as saying:
- There was a moment when I'd step out and do a solo. But I'd just bought the pick-up for my sax and when the time came all I could play was the highest note! I moved all my fingers around and nothing happened. The wire on my pick-up was holding open one of the valves on my sax. I had just played a one-note solo.
John Linnell recounts the type of music the group played:
- Well, this is really embarrassing, but I had this sort of like, lounge-y jazz group that did, like, John Coltrane. This wasn't the kind of 'sophisticated', tongue-in-cheek type...we were actually playing jazz out of the 'real' book.
One song by The Baggs, their theme song, "Boogie with The Baggs Tonight", was apparently reworked into early TMBG shows as "Giant Halloween Tonight".
- The Mundanes - Another group John Linnell played in prior to TMBG