Talk:John Flansburgh

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Lefty guitar[edit]

It's obvious that Flans holds his guitar like a typical lefty (upside down). Does anyone know if Flans has his strings reversed (low string on top), or play upside down like lefty-Hendrix did (low strings on bottom)? --SR 03-mar-2003

He definitely has the strings reversed. check out any of the videos (esp. 'the guitar') if you look closely (maybe slow it down) it's pretty easy to tell. Lee Benningfield


Isn't Flans calling AJ Schnack "Shnooky" in Flansy Stays In The Picture, not the other way around? 10-aug-2003


What's up with Flansy's pipe? He has one in his mouth in almost all the videos I've seen: Birdhouse, Don't Let's Start, (She was a) Hotel Detective, and it's even briefly in cartoon form for Istanbul. Yet I've never seen him in any appearance with a pipe. Does he smoke? 06-august-04

He's also got two cigars in his mouth on the Mono Puff "It's Fun To Steal" cover. I think i read 'somewhere' that he's a cigar dude, but I'm not sure... -- Rhinoceros Rex
I just assumed it was an 80's affectation. For some reason, I remember learning to smoke a pipe in the 80's. For no good reason. It was just what ya did. --Christina Miller 10-aug-04
He's flansy. Who knows why he does anything. - Fossilise Apostle 23-aug-04
He might just have an artist's sensibilities about eclectically grabbing bits of diverse things and rearranging them in an interesting manner, so they please him visually. Consider his comments in Direct from Brooklyn about how he had definite ideas about how some parts of videos should look, and how he made lots of the props. He seems to really enjoy having his fingers in the creation of the "look and feel" of TMBG. Maybe he uses the pipe because it looks a certain way that satisfies his artist's eye. 23-aug-04
I shouldn't be flip about the pipe, although that was a style some young men glommed onto during the Republican 80's. I had at first assumed that Mr. Flansburgh's Father Knows Best outfits, complete with reassuring pipe, were a Democrat's poke at that the 1980's resurgence of nostalgia for the 1950's (think Reagan and that whole Weltanschauung). But it could be he just liked the look and feel of himself in soft sweaters with a 50's haircut, and a pipe. I think he might also like to see himself as a 40's style man in a fedora with a big cigar, given that strange little "Flansy Stays in the Picture" bit in Gigantic. --Christina Miller
Really? I thought he was joking about making most of the props. --SweetAfton23 7-nov-04


Anyway, this is really off topic, but does anyone know if Flansy is nearsighted or farsighted? I know Linnell is farsighted because that just comes with age, but it's hard to tell with Flans. -SweetAfton23 7-nov-04

Nearsighted. Correction for myopia makes the sufferer's eyes behind the glasses look smaller to you than they actually are; check Mr. Flansburgh in three-quarter profile and you can see the outside edge of his face displaced inward under the lenses. A corrective lens for hyperopia (Mr. Linnell's eye affliction) causes the area behind it to look bigger to you than it is, as a magnifying glass would. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:47, August 18, 2005
I like the metal rimmed glasses Flansy wore circa 1998 -- i.e. the Dr Worm video spectacles. I wonder if that style is now considered "vintage eyewear" and where an interested observer might snag a pair? --UsernameDot 03:28, 3 July 2007 (UTC)


Is Flansburgh really as chubby as some people think he is? I've never noticed this, but I haven't like met him, or anything. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Desck (talkcontribs) 23:28, January 27, 2005

He isn't. I think if you havent met him its really just the view/angle at which you see him. Either way, it shouldn't matter. ~ fingertips 28-jan-05
Yes he is and he's still way too cute lalalaleukemiaaa 19:17, September 1, 2008

Professor P.F.[edit]

Anyone else think that 'Professor P.F.' could also stand for Flans' loving brother Paxus? - JasonT 06-mar-05

Well, isn't Paxus' last name now Calta? P.C. -Christina Miller 22-mar-06

George W. Bush[edit]

Why does he not like George W. Bush? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:28, April 29, 2006

Because he's a mentally stable human being. - Jess Piece Face 20:45, May 30, 2009


Heh. Yesterday I saw on some ebay auction some cd with Boss Of Me on it, and they called Flans "Flanders". This amused me.--Valerie 17:14, 19 May 2006 (CDT)

Star Wars[edit]

How can you not have seen Star Wars? - Doug the Aquacell Guy 23:12, 25 May 2006 (CDT)

I haven't, and we own it. I can't take more than five minutes. And to the Bush guy, go read the Main Page for... a little of the argument. Ecks

Publicity photo[edit]

How old is that publicity photo of Flans labeled "Flansburgh - Now"? I've never seen it before but it looks current. -Cronny 27-May-06

Oh, "now" meaning within the last five or so years, though I can't pinpoint the exact year. Unfortunately, there haven't been many super-recent publicity photographs. -CapitalQtalk ♪ 15:01, 27 May 2006 (CDT)
Yeah not since the ABCs anyway...-Cronny


Does anyone else feel that the start of this article is a bit off, and really unencyclopedic, referring to him as TMBG's "strategist and businessman" before anything else? I think the same could be said about Linnell's article, which starts off by referring to him as the "keyboard wizard" of TMBG. It's not like this is what each John is solely known for. :\

Anyone want to fix these up? You shall receive bonus points in return for a job well done. -CapitalQtalk ♪ 13:54, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

Earl, Sr.[edit]

A Question: It looks from this page as if Earl, Sr. went to MIT for his undergrad - I was under the impression that he and Polly went to undergrad together elsewhere, and that "Paxus" went to their undergrad alma mater - does anyone know the whole story. Earl probably has a masters, being the head of an architecture firm, so he might have an MA from MIT? ~Christina Miller, January 2007


Why does this article say Flansy is "also known as" Cecil? We have no proof. I still have my suspicions about Linnell.--tehbagel ( o ) 08:22, 5 February 2007 (UTC)


According to a pop-up during this video Flans has a habit of buying a new pair of socks and only keeping them for two days. Kinda weird. — User:ACupOfCoffee@ 23:11, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Look a like[edit]

Found an image that looks kind of like the Flans. check out the left side of the face here. This is not of much importance, just reminded me of him. Krueger 00:54, 17 December 2007 (UTC)


  • Do you pronounce his last name "Flansburg" or "Flansburh" or, least likely, "Flans-burough"? --Chiaro 15:02, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
your first guess is correct --ant 17:58, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

Flansburgh quote[edit]

For if we ever have a 'Guitar' page (like the 'Keyboard' one).

"I started playing the guitar when I was seventeen years old in 1977. And it was the year of punk rock. When I was 16, the idea of playing the guitar – it was already too late for me to learn how to play the guitar. Because to play the guitar meant you had to be very, very good at playing the guitar and so you had best learned how to play when you were eleven and studied real hard or you weren’t going to make the cut. The arrival of New Wave was kind of like this enormous amnesty day for the lesser talented, more artistically minded wannabe guitarists, and I was definitely in that group of people who rushed out and learned how to play for the fun of it."[1]
-Wout 16:40, July 11, 2009


Poor Flansy... According to the Special:Ratings, the best song he made is Put Your Hand Inside The Puppet Head and it's number 10!! And Linnell wrote the chorus!!! So, the best song completely by John Flansburgh is Twisting and it's 26!!!!!!!!! (Unless Brain Problem Situation was written by Flansy at some small chance. Then it would be 18!!!) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Buzzmusic100 (talkcontribs) 13:40, July 13, 2010

But, he still won them their first Grammy. --Duke33 18:08, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
"grumble grumble eighty dolls yelling small girl after all grumble" -John Linnell, obviously 18:22, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
THIS. THIS THIS THIS. --Self Called Nowhere 09:33, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
As a side note, those rankings can fairly be moved up 1 spot because the BBC performance of Where Your Eyes Don't Go is only up that high because it only has 11 votes. When more people rate it it'll probably go down. -Apollo 18:26, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
Well yes. But still. :-U —Preceding unsigned comment added by Buzzmusic100 (talkcontribs) 14:30, July 13, 2010
THAT'S WHAT HE GETS FOR STARTING A BAND WITH A GENIUS, GEEZ. No, I love Flans, I DO. I LOVE LOVE LOVE FLANS, and in any other band he would be cleaning up on this stuff. But. THESE THINGS HAPPEN. --Self Called Nowhere 09:33, 20 September 2010 (UTC)


i think we need a new "now" picture of Flans to reflect his newly sprouted facial follicles (plus the current one is getting old, anyway). i'm not sure which we would use, none of the new promo pictures seem appropriate, but it's worth keeping in mind. john linnell probably needs a new photo, too. - Apollo (colloquia!) 13:57, 24 July 2011 (EDT)

Perhaps we can use the TMBG twitter profile picture. There is some major Flansbeard going on there. With some cropping we could use it for both pages.Entropy
The photo that's currently the twitter profile picture is what I would recommend if we had to use one of the current promo pictures (that or the grey one I don't feel like finding/describing further), but 1) Flans' hair is a mess 1b) I think he's going to keep the beard a bit more neat than displayed there, 2) they're both making weird faces/gestures, and 3) the lighting is sort of funky, so I'm not sure that that one would work, which is really unfortunate, as that is a great photo. - Apollo (colloquia!) 10:42, 11 August 2011 (EDT)
Interestingly, his beard officially has 38 fans... —Preceding unsigned comment added by Suziessoliloquy (talkcontribs) 15:22, August 11, 2011


I saw TMBG last night at The Vogue in Indy, which has been the first time I've seen them live since the first show of the Beardo 2006 tour. Flans is about twice as big now as he was then, and I thought he looked kinda pallid. Does anyone know if he's got some health issues going on? Johnny Baby 18:57, 23 September 2011 (EDT)

I was under the impression that Flans had lost quite a bit of weight, I think he is/was even dieting. He mentioned "cutting out carbs" on twitter a while ago. -Apollo (colloquia!) 19:01, 23 September 2011 (EDT)
I have had similar concerns about him, although not necessarily having to do with his health, per se. I have felt like maybe something is going on with him. He seems to be in more of a casual mood these days and I think his songs on Join Us show an artistic rebirth of sorts. Add to that the beard and his more disheveled look in general. At the Anaheim show, he seemed a little slower than usual. Still funny and a great musician, but a little slower. Maybe it's just age. --The Vanishing Dot 02:02, 19 November 2011 (EST)
Take a look at this. It pays to look at vimeo.--Oldpinebox 14:31, 12 April 2012 (EDT)
That video was actually briefly on Youtube back in late January or so, before it got taken back down again. Mr. Flansburgh is really a fan of posting stuff late at night and then deleting it several hours later. -J-Gatz 14:55, 12 April 2012 (EDT)


John Roderick: Did I ever tell you about the time I was staying at the brand-new Hilton in Austin?
Merlin Mann: No.
JR: John Flansburgh shows up in my room, and he's got the guy who made that documentary, The Cruise. Have you seen that?
MM: No.
JR: It's about the guy who gives tours of New York City, and he's on a double-decker bus, talking about the architecture and the history of New York, but he's making it all up.
MM: [laughs]
JR: It's all just a lie. So, John Flansburgh and this guy show up in my hotel room, and Flansburgh proceeds to open up my minibar. And then, you know, all of the sudden there are 35 people in my room. There's like a guy, like, cutting calluses off his feet. And there's somebody with a top hat, and there's a guy with a cockatiel,
MM: It's like the Marx Brothers, it's like Room Service.
JR: And I'm like "What the fuck? I was about to call it the night." And anyway, Flansburgh opens up the Minibar, and out it all goes, into the room. And this is one of those Hilton Hotel minibars with full bottles of red wine...
MM: Oh, dear.
JR: ...and, you know, who knows what else, like shrimp chips. I don't know what's in there.
MM: Sewing kits.
JR: It all goes out into the room, and the party rages until the wee hours. And then, after I finally kick out everybody else, and I make the guy clean up his calluses and take them out, the guy with the bird, and I'm kicking everybody out. Flansburgh is the last to go. And he turns around, and he slaps a 20 down on the desk, and he's like, "Good party, kid. Good job. See you next time."
MM: Was he kidding?
JR: No, no.
MM: He actually though that would cover even a fraction of that? I think he was screwing with you. There is no way.
JR: It was a beautiful move. The cheapest bottle of wine there was like 85 dollars.
MM: Maybe he only eats out of other people's minibars.
JR: You know, I've known him a long time, but I think he may travel with that group of people. I think there's 35 people waiting for him to boop them, and he just goes "boop," And then [*explosion noise*], any hotel room can become its a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.

From Roderick on the Line, episode 70. —OldpineboxTalk 15:37, 20 April 2013 (EDT)

This is hilarious -- also, the guy from The Cruise is likely Speed Levitch, who was also in the Adult Swim cartoon Stroker and Hoop! ...I know too much about damned pop culture stuff. - Rev. Syung Myung Me (talk) 16:44, 20 April 2013 (EDT)


I was listening to Flood the other day, and Letterbox came on, and there was this one bit that stuck out to me. In the "If I had a pair of eyes in the back of my head for each time" part, is that Flansy singing the melody with Linnell singing the harmony, because it sounds like a mixture of both Flansy and Linnell. Or is it just Linnell harmonizing with himself? Somebody help me out because I am very confused. - HotelDetectiveInTheFuture🪗 talk 🎸