The Mundanes was a Rhode Island-based new wave band in which John Linnell played keyboards and saxophones prior to the formation of They Might Be Giants. They released a 7" single, which is now very rare, in 1980. The band also included Marsha Armitage, John Andrews, Kevin Tooley, Dean Lozow, and Jonathan Gregg, who played guitar on the 1983 demo of "Hell Hotel". John Linnell reportedly wrote "Now That I Have Everything" during his time with The Mundanes. Jim Gillson, who replaced Linnell on keyboards, wrote the song "Kings Of The Cave" for TMBG. The band broke up in 1983.
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.
In a later interview with the Design Matters podcast, Flans 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.