What is an "argonaut" (in reference to "Birdhouse in your Soul" from "Flood")?

JF: "ARGONAUTS, in Greek legend a band of heroes who took part in the Argonautic expedition under the command of Jason, to fetch the golden fleece." Encyclopedia Britannica. The story of the exploits of the crew of the fifty-oared Argo is engagingly retold in a novel by Robert Graves: Hercules, My Shipmate (check it out).

Where is the picture on the "Flood" album from?

JL: That photograph was found by Flansburgh in the basement archives of Life magazine. It existed as only a contact print on a roll of film shot by famous photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White. It was in a series of photographs of Kentucky flood victims from around 1930. Another photograph from that very same shoot has become quite well known. It is of people standing in a bread line in front of a billboard poster of a happy family in a car with the words "America: Highest Standard of Living." It is featured in the "Best of Life" and has become synonymous with the Great Depression, even though the events surrounding the photograph are unrelated to it.

Do you have any sheet music out? Where on this planet can I get it?

JL: There was sheet music printed for "Birdhouse" in the U.K. when that song charted over there. It's probably not available anywhere anymore. We've been trying to figure out a good way to put together some kind of song book, with at least the words, melody and chord symbols, and maybe some other things written out. Horn parts. The bass lines. An essay by Brian Doherty explaining his philosophy of music. Whatever. The idea would be to make the kind of book we would want to get by a band we like.

Recently, while sitting in my room listening to the ever-popular album "Flood" on my CD player and mindlessly going through the CD booklet, I noticed something on "Road Movie to Berlin," half the song is not sung.The middle of the song has words written that are not used in the song. Why?

JF: There were a bunch of alternate lyrics written, but it didn't seem like the song should be that long.

I called your infamous Dial-a-Song and heard what sounded like a classroom of kids singing "Particle Man." What's the story?

JL: A music teacher sent us that recording of his students performing the song. It's my favorite version.

Why is the ep "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" unavailable?

JL: The CD5 is usually sold just as a vehicle for singles, so it is hard to keep them in print. We hope to compile the Elektra CD5 material soon.

The drums on some songs on "Flood" are credited to Alan Bezozi. Did he use a drum machine or a drum kit?

JF: He actually did a bit of both. On the song "Hot Cha" Alan 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. He played the sequence on "Lucky Ball and Chain," and helped with the programming on "Birdhouse" and "Twisting." He played live snare and percussion on "Particle Man."