In addition to Linnell, the band included Marsha Armitage, John Andrews, Kevin Tooley, Dean Lozow, and Jonathan Gregg. The Mundanes self-released a three-song 7" single in 1980 before relocating to New York in 1981, but ultimately broke up in 1983.
During his time with The Mundanes, John Linnell wrote and rehearsed "Now That I Have Everything", but was not comfortable enough performing it. Other members of the band later went on to collaborate with They Might Be Giants: Jonathan Gregg played guitar on the 1983 demo of "Hell Hotel", and Jim Gillson, who replaced Linnell on keyboards, wrote the song "Kings Of The Cave" for TMBG.
They were the big band out of Brown University and they played a lot, they were very professional. I think from the very beginning, we sort of set our sights kind of low as a band because The Mundanes had been such a powerful live outfit, they really had a great sound as a band, and they were successful – but they weren’t super successful. They definitely hit some roadblocks professionally. Considering what a competent band they were, it seemed strange that in an era where every new wave band was getting signed, they didn’t get signed. And I think people didn’t understand, you know, they had a great guitar player, they had great songs, they had a female singer who was very charismatic. It just seemed strange that a band that sort of had it all wouldn’t get a major label deal. So when we started the band, I think our sort of natural thought was like: well, if they can’t break into something more professional, let’s just do this for fun. It just seemed like, how far can you get in a band if a band like The Mundanes can’t get a deal?
In a 2012 interview for Design Matters, Flansburgh said that the experience of playing in The Mundanes also influenced John's decision to start They Might Be Giants with him. The Mundanes were trying to get signed to a major record label, but Linnell was sort of the "side-man" in the band, and found himself under pressure and unable to explore his ambition. Flansburgh speculates that They Might Be Giants was initially, for Linnell a band "just for fun", to avoid his frustrations with his more serious musical pursuits.
The Mundanes briefly reunited for a private concert in 2008, and possibly again in 2013 .
- After You
- All Expenses Paid
- Anyone Can Fill My Shoes
- Big News
- Date At The Dimestore
- Down In The Boondocks
- Downtown Girls
- Empty Boulevards
- Fascinating Friends
- Finishing Touches
- Friday Night I Want To Go To The Disco
- Funnier Than Love
- Girls We Used To Know
- I Can't Be Sure
- Make It The Same
- One Of A Billion Boys
- Portable Trouble Spot
- Rave On
- Reckless Mind
- Small Town Suburban Boy
- This Boy's In Pieces
- MP3s and pictures at Museum of Idiots
- Live performance videos of The Mundanes playing "Make It The Same" and "Empty Boulevards"
- John Linnell playing Asteroids to "Loose Talk of the Barroom Boys"
- Interview with Marsha Armitage-Bristow and John Andrews for Rhode Island's Motif Magazine in 2020