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They Might Be Giants
The Decade in Pittsburgh, PA
June 21, 1987 at 10:00 PM
Fan Recaps and Comments:
Listed in an advertisement as "WXXP Night", presented by Jim's Records.
Preview of the show from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Jun. 19, 1987:
They Might Be Giants. The name sounds threatening, doesn't it? When Don Quixote said those words in Cervantes' book, they turned out to be windmills.
They Might Be Giants aren't windmills. They're just two guys named John (Flansburgh and Linnell) who play guitar and accordion respectively (and respectably) and sing happy two-minute songs like "Youth Culture Killed My Dog," "Nothing's Gonna Change My Clothes" and "Hope That I Get Old Before I Die."
In concert — like the one a few months ago at the Electric Banana — They Might Be Giants wriggle on the floor and engage the crowd to sing corny verses they thought they'd never be singing in public. Spin magazine was on target when it described the band as the Banana Splits going to college and reading lots of Kafka and Pynchon.
The story behind the group is that the two former Boston high school chums happened to move to New York on the same day to the same apartment building, by coincidence. They formed a band with another friend who decided they would never make it, and quit. Flansburgh says he and Linnell stuck with the guitar-accordion-taped drum track format, "cause it sounds better this way" and because "I play guitar and John is a keyboard player but likes the mighty, mighty sound of an accordion."
With their funny, animated shows the band became a part of the East Village club scene, more or less, by not fitting in. "We played at the Pyramid," says Flansburgh, "which had three things: Rock bands of the most generic variety, performance art people who moved on to more prestigious venues and drag queens who do the sort of Halloween show stuff. And of course, we fell in with the drag queens, ... no, no, no."
Promoting their debut album, They Might Be Giants currently are on the third leg of their "Bring Me the Head of Kenny Rogers World Tour '87." Flansburgh says of touring, "We used to take weekend trips and say, 'This is the life.' Now it's more twisted and surreal."
He claims they didn't set out to be a funny rock band, it just turned out that way. "It's our cross to bear. And if we have to be humorous all the time, so be it," Flansburgh says. "You know, some of these rock big bands make me laugh harder than anything I can think of."
If you have doubts about whether you would like Giant music, the band offers an alternative to buying the record. Just call their Dial-A-Hit [sic] service at 718-387-6962 and hear a new song every day.
If you're going, They Might Be Giants perform at the Decade Sunday at 10 p.m. 687-7655.