Mailing List Archive/2012-06-26

From This Might Be A Wiki
1: The Announcement of the No! Deluxe Edition

2: The Alphabet of Nations crowd-sourced video project NEEDS YOU!
3: John and John explain No! song by song

It was ten years ago this month that TMBG released No!, our first album for kids. Of course it would end up being a critical and commercial success, but it was also a creative enterprise that really was the beginning of a new reenergized musical era for TMBG. Recorded during "down time" while working on incidental music for Malcolm in the Middle, the album contains many of the same impulses that we began the project with.

Now on its tenth anniversary, we are happy to announce that the album is now being rereleased in deluxe form on iTunes, at Amazon and at There are also six blazingly awesome live recordings of live No! material from the now out-of-print "Almanac" set and there is a brand new recording of Alphabet of Nations--finally including the full length arrangement we have been performing for so many years.

The iTunes link is live now at
You can order on Amazon at

Or get it direct from the band on mp3 or FLAC at

For everyone outside of the U.S. & Canada, download on iTunes here:

And the first 144 customers who purchase a No! t-shirt and a No! download at get a brand new TOOTHBRUSH with the words THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS beautifully etched into the handle. A must for the hygenically-minded TMBG fan.

Did you know today is the BIRTHDAY of the TOOTHBRUSH? Well it is!

It's They Might Be Giants' International Twitter/Tumblr Challenge!

This is the video that explains this project

TMBG NEEDS YOU! They Might Be Giants and director Emily Oberman of Pentagram NY are creating a brand new video for the new extended version of ALPHABET OF NATIONS coming out on TMBG's deluxe edition of No! We are crowd sourcing images from around the world to be included in it! Post your photos on TWITTER with the hashtag #TMBGnation or submit on TUMBLR at Please include the name of your country! The deadline is July 10!

We are requesting THREE PHOTOS be posted from people from, or hailing from, these specific countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Belgium, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Chad, China, Denmark, Dominica, Egypt, Ecuador, Fiji, France, the Gambia, Guatemala, Hungary, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Libya, Mongolia, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Suriname, Turkey, Uruguay, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

It's all about your face (or your child's or friend's face) with a BIG SMILE. Native garb always welcome!

A small (or big) FLAG of your nation squarely in front of you (or your child or friend)!

A pic of traditional clothing, craft or crop, maybe with someone pointing to your country on a map. It should celebrate your culture!

An action photo! A photo of you (or your child or friend) jumping, in a karate pose, piggyback riding, making a peace symbol, or somehow celebrating YOURSELF!

IF YOU ARE FROM A COUNTRY NOT ON THE LIST but still want to participate please post a photo with the NAME of your country clearly in it! And make a note in the Twitter or Tumblr post so we get it right!

John Linnell and John Flansburgh explain the No! album song by song....


Fibber Island is a traditional song written as a national anthem during the Island's tumultuous drive for independence from the US in the 1960s. Located directly to the east of Nantucket, Massachusetts, Fibber Island has been a vacation destination for CIA and retiring black ops agents for years, but when they moved to become their own nation-state, the Island was "disappeared" by Lyndon Johnson and the FBI.


There really was a clock frozen at 1:56 at that address, just south of the Flatiron Building in New York. You can find it in old photos. Or are they old? Maybe the photos don't age when time itself has stopped.


Robot Parade is based on a traditional melody sung by robots before robot uprisings and unicorn battles, but because a lot of the lyrics of the original songs are actually explicitly anti-unicorn it seemed inappropriate for kids--especially girls going through a unicorn/princess phase.


How amusing it is, amidst the comforts of middle age, for us to look back on this raw expression of our youthful negativity. All the world was ripe for negating, every "yea" an irresistible challenge for us to countermand with a blunt "nay"! Never content with merely begging to differ, or agreeing to disagree, we charged headlong against the positivists.


Where Do They Make Balloons? was written by They Might Be Giants' beloved bass player Danny Weinkauf, who has contributed songs to most of our kids projects. He is a huge pop music fan, and his Paul McCartneymania fuses with his Brian Wilsonogomy nicely in this track.


Not to be confused with TMBG's "Boss of Me" theme from Malcolm in the Middle, this song was originally written by the late, great Vic Mizzy (The Addams Family theme, Green Acres theme) and recorded for a public service announcement in New York state in the 1960s. Here it is sung by New York state citizen Robin "Goldie" Goldwasser.


This started out as a Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, and then it went seriously off the rails. We were subsequently very impressed when a kid showed us a T-shirt he had made that illustrated the "George Washington's head" verse with quarters gradually adding up to a dollar. Everything started making sense after that.


A supertaster is a person who experiences the sense of taste with far greater intensity than average. The cause of this heightened response is currently unknown, although it is thought to be, at least in part, due to an increased number of fungiform papillae. John Lee is a real person and a real live supertaster. John Lee is a writer and producer of many illustrious television programs including MTV's Wonder Showzen, Adult Swim's Xavier: Renegade Angel and Snoop Dogg's Doggie FizzleTelevizzle.


Nick Hill plays an instrument called the vibraband on this track. It's a piece of rubber that is stretched across the lips and blown through. You can hear it underneath his singing on the second verse. It sounds kind of like the voice on the other end of the telephone in an old time radio show. The Edison Museum in West Orange, New Jersey is sometimes open to the public and has lots of cool stuff in it, including the wax cylinder recording equipment on which we recorded a scratchier version of this song.


We were once attacked by a house cat that was driven insane by the crinkling sound of our potato chip bag. The bag was made of some kind of super strong plastic foil and the top was so well glued together that no amount of effort could get it open. After many minutes of trying to tear it open with our bare hands we looked up to see the cat entering the room with its fur standing on end and its pupils wildly dilated. It looked so weird we didn't know it was our cat at first. We were still trying to process what was going on when the cat jumped into the air and slashed open the bag, spilling out all the chips. Then it started coming after Flansburgh, who defended himself with a rolled up bamboo curtain. That cat wanted us dead. However, we survived and were inspired to write this song. For poetic reasons the cat was changed to a mouse.


We hate to be so bossy, but this is for your own good.


This is why we hate being bossy. We would rather not be on the wrong side of the revolution when the brooms finally decide to revolt.


This track was originally heard on Malcolm in the Middle, and has occasionally been walk on music for TMBG live show. The vocals are actually self-sampled single notes and replayed on a keyboard.


Juices, muffins, pasta, cheese, milk, biscuits, cocktail sauce, salsa, pickles, organic grains, fresh coffee, bagels, pudding, soap, baby formula and ham.


Inspired by the relaxed grooves of The Band, we lay all the way back on the couch to capture this '70's folk-rock vibe. Dan Miller had his eyes almost completely closed as he delivered some highly mellow slide guitar, while Dan Hickey created a thick drum and percussion bed in which to crash.


When you get old enough it's fun to stay up late. Then when you're a teenager it's fun to stay up the whole night, and everything you and your friends talk about sounds more and more profound until you finally fall asleep in the bathtub or with your head in a wastebasket. Eventually you reach the age when going to bed at bedtime and falling asleep is one of the most exalted and prized activities imaginable.


Somewhere, someone once said that you shouldn't wake someone up when they're sleepwalking. The shock could kill them! It sounds a little fishy now, like maybe it was just a pretext for some bad sitcom writing. In Buenos Aires there is a nice pastry shop called "The Sleepwalker" with a logo of a woman walking slowly down a staircase with her eyes closed and her arms extended in front of her, presumably heading towards some delicious eclairs. If you ever see us doing that BY NO MEANS should you attempt to wake us until we have eaten all the eclairs.