Early Years

If you could go back to the beginning of your career, would you change anything?

JF: I wouldn't worry so much about every single tiny thing related to the band.

Sent in by: Mikewyz

Looking back at your earlier records, what recordings are you least and most satisfied with?

JF: Well, just on a sonic level some of the limitations of the process of Lincoln were a bit of a drag. It was a big transitional moment in electronic/MIDI/drum machine technology. But I like the songs.

Sent in by: Randy L

Before you guys got into show business, what were your favorite bands?

JF: We grew up in the 70's and before the punk rock/new wave explosion were interested in Frank Zappa and glitter rock bands. I was especially into a band called Sparks (who in retrospect had this really insane theatrical aspect to them because the keyboard player had a Charlie Chaplin/Hitler mustache) who appeared on In Concert and other late night rock shows (one of the cooler things about a very uncool time) When punk rock/new wave came in we were into a lot of the NYC and Boston bands (Ramones, Television, Talking Heads, Blondie, Human Sexual Response, the Real Kids, Willie Alexander)

Sent in by: Drohend6

Do you guys ever think about making an album with just a drum machine again?

JL: Now that we've had the very pleasant experience of recording live drums it would be perverse of us to rule them out altogether, but by the same token we haven't thrown the old machines into the dumpster yet.

What was the name of the first song you ever recorded?

JL: We're not sure, but it might be a version of Yoko Ono's song "Don't Worry Kyoko, Mummy's Only Looking For A Hand In The Snow" that we recorded on Flansburgh's reel-to-reel when we were around 15. We sang with faux Rod Serling voices.

What did you guys do before you started your band?

JL: Among other things, Linnell worked for an audio visual company and Flansburgh did paste up and design work for publishing companies.

Why "TMB Productions" and not "TMBG Productions?"

JF: Our first enterprise was They Might Be Incorporated which seemed clever at the time. When the second business entity was started we just stuck with it.

Will the rare TMBG 1985 demo tape be offered for purchase again?

JF: We don't want to flood the market with material, and the '85 demo overlaps the first album on many tracks. In fact, the only difference with half of them is that the mixes are less refined, so its appeal is probably limited to our more hard-core audience. Ultimately it probably will get some proper release, but right now it would seem too redundant with the first lp.

Linnell, before you began playing accordion, did you listen to any accordion players' music? If so, whose?

JL: I was completely ignorant of the vast repertoire of accordion music when I first picked up the instrument about a year into the life of TMBG. I think I formed a few positive associations (Tex-mex, Cajun, various European varieties of music) but mainly I liked the fact that it was a keyboard instrument that didn't seem played out or ungainly.Currently I like the schooled sound of William Schimmel's playing and that of his student Anne DeMarinis (Band of Weeds).

In what year was TMBG formed?

JF: John and I did our first show as TMBG in January of 1983.

What and where was your very first public appearance? Was it a success?

JF: Under a different name John and I performed in the summer of 1983 in Central Park for a FSLN rally that a friend of ours was organizing. We figured their would be a diverse audience of lefties. We felt a bit out of place when the actual audience was primarily Spanish speaking, with many people directly from Central America. We performed "Alienation's for the Rich," "Cowtown," and "Space Suit" among other songs I can't recall. Linnell played a clarinet and his Farfisa organ (which was difficult to lug into the park without a car). The crowd was very generous with us, and made us feel appreciated. We didn't perform in public for about six months.

Are y'all "boyhood friends" or did it start as a music relationship?

JL: We met in high school before either one of us thought of music as a potential career.