Hot Cha

From This Might Be A Wiki
An old flyer containing lyrics for the band's often requested songs, including slightly different lyrics for this song, 1985.

song name Hot Cha
artist They Might Be Giants
releases Flood, Birdhouse In Your Soul (EP), Flood + Apollo 18
year 1990
first played July 10, 1983 (120 known performances)
run time 1:34
sung by John Flansburgh


'Hot Cha!' is actually the name of one of the wooden horses in a lesser celebrated Parker Bros. game called Derby Day made back in the '20s, and the title is really a reference to the rhythm of the song, although we weren't really trying to make a traditional jazzy song by any means. While the feel of the song is pretty swinging, it's also a bit damaged sounding, in part due to the stiff programming, and amplified by the herky-jerky nature of the homemade samples being triggers. This song contains the actual sounds of mallets and drumsticks on my kitchen sink, the base plate of my refrigerator, oven and door buzzer. The horn samples are recorded through a guitar fuzz box, and all the drums are programmed.
  • Other drum samples for the song were constructed out of a cardboard box, as Flansburgh would explain in a 1990 interview:
I cut up the box that the Macintosh computer came in, and sampled it... There was a kick, and a snare, and I used a piece of metal from my refrigerator to be the crash. It's really satisfying to hear a wholly different set of sounds.
  • Flansburgh would also explain the programming of the samples in the FAQ archive:
Alan [Bezozi] and I constructed the drum track by making samples of individual sounds of sticks or brushes on the box my Macintosh computer came in. He then triggers those sounds by playing an electronic drum pad.
  • Flansburgh's brother Paxus adamantly believes that this song is about him, calling it "the most clearly-about-me song my brother has written". John has denied this, even introducing the song at a 2010 show as "a song that's not about my brother". Paxus in 2013:
My brother and I often played the game Derby Day when we were little and Hot Cha was horse number two and my favorite. Despite his claims otherwise, I am clear that this song on the Flood album is about me. [...] The song refers to the first time Hot Cha went away, a float[ing] island was his home. A pretty clear reference to the time I spent hitching on sailboats across the Pacific. [...] My brother certainly feels some affinity for the prodigal son story in light of my disappearance, and we did eat fondue together when we were growing up, which is a bit of an odd food choice.
  • A flyer released by the band in the 1980's listed some lyrics to their "oft requested songs", including some slightly different lyrics to Hot Cha. The verses were largely the same, but notably the early lyrics for the chorus were different: "Hot Cha, where you be? / Everybodies eyes is closed / I can't see why I miss you so / Hot Cha, where you be?".

Song Themes

Body Parts, Doors, Eyes, Food, Islands, Problems With Liner Notes, Questions, Real Estate, Religion, Supernatural, The Senses, Swing Feel, Tableware, Telecommunication, Temperature, Two Chord Songs


Current Rating

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Hot Cha is currently ranked #815 out of 1010. (113 wikians have given it an average rating of 7.42)