1985 Promotional Demo Tape

From This Might Be A Wiki

They Might Be Giants released several demo tapes in 1985, one of which (commonly referred to as the "1985 Demo Tape") functioned as a prototype album, sold by the Johns. The rest seem to have been intended strictly as promotional tools and demo tapes sent out to club owners in order to get shows and record deals, often with handwritten labels. These tapes were mentioned by Bill Krauss in a 1994 interview with Myke Weiskopf:

We did a lot of demo recording so we could send demos out to get shows. The other reason we put demos together was to try and get a record deal. No one showed any interest at all for a really long time; I really have nothing but praise and thanks for Glenn and Tom at Bar/None.

Bill Krauss elaborated more on the demo tapes in a 2019 interview with the Don't Let's Start fan podcast:

[...] that's why there are all these different versions of—demo collections. There was never a 'this is this demo' and 'this is that demo', it's 'We need to send something out, what have we got?' And so this might have three songs and this might have five songs and it wasn't a [...] there were never clear cut divisions of 'this is this thing' and 'this is that thing', a lot of it is 'We need to send some things out to club owners and this is what we're sending out this week.' [...] at the time, the intention was 'We wanna get shows and how do we do that?' It wasn't that [...] these things weren't artifacts in and of themselves, they were things that had utility to try and get us work. [...] and so, there was no preciousness and there was no archival intent really, it was that we're just doing this because we need to send something to a club owner to try and get a job.

The demo tapes are listed below in order of their discovery by fans.

Tape 1[edit]

1985 Promotional Demo Tape #1 demo tape cover

1985 Promotional Demo Tape #1 back cover
1985 Promotional Demo Tape #1
Demo tape by They Might Be Giants
First released 1985
Release details / collectors: Show | Hide
Tracks 3 (intentional) / 8 (total) Last demo tape Wiggle Diskette
Label TMBG Music Length 15:01 Next demo tape 1985 Demo Tape

Description[edit]

This is a tape that was discovered in 2001 by a curator for the Warhol Museum. It was possibly archived by Andy Warhol himself, but, according to Linnell, "we had friends who worked at the Warhol Institute before he died, so it may be something that came from someone other than him." It seems to be a tape of demos which has been partially recorded over, presumably by John or John, with some recordings that were used to back them as a duo in their early live performances.

Track listing[edit]

# Title Length  Lyrics Guitar Tab
1 Put Your Hand Inside The Puppet Head (Demo 2) 2:05

 

N/A
2 Youth Culture Killed My Dog (1985 Demo) 2:58

 

N/A
3 Nothing's Gonna Change My Clothes (Promotional Demo) 1:55

 

N/A
4 Boat Of Car (Rhythm Section Instrumental) 0:25

 

N/A
5 Alienation's For The Rich (Rhythm Section Instrumental) 2:25

 

N/A
6 You'll Miss Me (Rhythm Section Instrumental) 1:47

 

N/A
7 Nothing's Gonna Change My Clothes (Rhythm Section Instrumental) 1:55

 

N/A
8 The Famous Polka (Rhythm Section Instrumental) 1:31

 

N/A

  • Note: These are the tracks actually on the cassette. However, included on a business card-sized card that came with the tape was the tracklisting for the 1984 Promotional Demo Tape.

Tape 2[edit]

1985 Promotional Demo Tape #2 demo cover
1985 Promotional Demo Tape #2
Demo by They Might Be Giants
First released 1985
Release details / collectors: Show | Hide
Tracks 4 Last demo Wiggle Diskette
Label TMBG Music Length 8:19 Next demo 1985 Demo Tape
Insert

Description[edit]

Called a "They Might Be Giants Album Sampler" in the liner notes, this cassette features a unique recording of Youth Culture Killed My Dog.

Track listing[edit]

# Title Length  Lyrics Guitar Tab
1 Put Your Hand Inside The Puppet Head (Demo 3) 2:10

 

N/A
2 Rabid Child 1:31

 

3 Number Three (1985 Demo) 1:41

 

N/A
4 Youth Culture Killed My Dog (1985 Promotional Demo) 2:57

 

N/A

Gallery[edit]

Tape 3[edit]

1985 Promotional Demo Tape #3 demo cover
1985 Promotional Demo Tape #3
Demo by They Might Be Giants
First released 1985
Release details / collectors: Show | Hide
Tracks 4 Last demo Wiggle Diskette
Label TMBG Music Length 9:30 Next demo 1985 Demo Tape
Cassette

Track listing[edit]

# Title Length  Lyrics Guitar Tab
1 Everything Right Is Wrong 2:25

 

N/A
2 You Kill Me 1:57

 

N/A
3 Cowtown 2:23

 

N/A
4 Rhythm Section Want Ad 2:45

 

N/A

Tape 4[edit]

1985 Promotional Demo Tape #4 demo cover
1985 Promotional Demo Tape #4
Demo by They Might Be Giants
First released 1985
Release details / collectors: Show | Hide
Tracks 3 Last demo Wiggle Diskette
Label TMBG Music Length 5:39 Next demo 1985 Demo Tape
Cassette

Description[edit]

This tape is unique to the the Darinka Archive at the Fales Library at NYU. It contains Nothing's Going to Change My Clothes, a unique version of She Was A Hotel Detective based off of the 1985 demo tape version but without the “ooh” vocals at the beginning and a noise solo in the bridge, and I'm Deaf which is nearly identical to the 1985 demo tape version except for the last 20 seconds of the song, where the drum machine level is lowered and continues through to the end of the vocals. The drums then return to full volume and continue with the pattern for an additional 4 seconds beyond the demo tape version. A footnote provided on the J-card reads "(features a real response of one Dial-A-Song caller)".

Track listing[edit]

# Title Length  Lyrics Guitar Tab
1 Nothing's Going to Change My Clothes 1:55

 

N/A
2 She Was A Hotel Detective 2:19

 

N/A
3 I'm Deaf 1:29  N/A

Tape 5[edit]

1985 Promotional Demo Tape #5 demo cover
1985 Promotional Demo Tape #5
Demo by They Might Be Giants
First released 1985
Release details / collectors: Show | Hide
Tracks 3 Last demo Wiggle Diskette
Label TMBG Music Length 6:49 Next demo 1985 Demo Tape


Cassette

Description[edit]

This tape was sold in an eBay auction sometime during July 1999.


Track listing[edit]

# Title Length  Lyrics Guitar Tab
1 Youth Culture Killed My Dog (1985 Demo) 2:58

 

N/A
2 Put Your Hand Inside The Puppet Head (Demo 3) 2:10

 

N/A
3 Number Three (1985 Demo) 1:41

 

N/A


Tape 6[edit]

1985 Promotional Demo Tape #6 demo cover
1985 Promotional Demo Tape #6
Demo by They Might Be Giants
First released 1985
Release details / collectors: Show | Hide
Tracks 6 Last demo Wiggle Diskette
Label TMBG Music Length 12:47 Next demo 1985 Demo Tape


Cassette

Description[edit]

A copy of this tape is held in Yale University's archives. This tape's first four tracks appear to be identical to the third tape.

Track listing[edit]

# Title Length  Lyrics Guitar Tab
1 Everything Right Is Wrong 2:25

 

N/A
2 You Kill Me 1:57

 

N/A
3 Cowtown 2:23

 

N/A
4 Rhythm Section Want Ad 2:45

 

N/A
5 Hell Hotel 1:54

 

N/A
6 The Biggest One 1:23

 

N/A

Gallery[edit]

Trivia/Info[edit]