Factory Showroom

What's the story behind the puppets on poles you use during "Exquisite Dead Guy" at shows?

JF: It's just an interesting way to put a song across, and it seemed to fit the lyric.

Sent in by: Heather G

Where did you get the idea for the hidden track on Factory Showroom?

JF: Well, actually I read a review of a Willie Nelson album where an advance cassette sent to a reviewer included his "secret message" to his fans at the top of the tape. I had heard of the "endless song" secret message at the end of CDs but that never seemed too secret, but this sounded like something else. We inquired with some mastering engineers (the people who put the tape into a form that can be manufactured), and after a bit of discussion figured out that there is a number 0 track before track one that is automatically skipped over by your machine, but can hold about a song's worth of information. This is also where CD-rom format information is held, so we advise against slipping our CDs into your computer.

Sent in by: CyburDog

In "James K. Polk," what does "Napoleon of the Stump" mean?

JL: Polk earned this odd nickname after many impressive performances on the "stump." These fiery campaign speeches, which according to legend struck terror into the hearts of his opponents, were partly responsible for his political success.

I was wondering who wrote "New York City?"

JF: It was written by a trio called Cub from Vancouver, who a lot of TMBG folks saw on the first leg of the Factory Showroom tour in the U.S. They have a new CD out on Mint Records called "Box of Hair" that I heartily recommend.

The sounds on "Your Own Worst Enemy" are so small and synthetic. Is it an old drum machine or samples?

JL: Most of the sounds come from a small, inexpensive box made by Yamaha called the MU5. It's something I carry around with me. The MIDI stuff on my "House of Mayors" recording was recorded with the MU5 and a laptop computer in a summer house in upstate New York.

The songs on "Factory Showroom" seem more mainstream than past efforts. Was that a conscious decision or is it just difficult to write a song like "Minimum Wage" with a full band?

JF: Well, as for "Factory Showroom" being mainstream, I would site "Exquisite Dead Guy" as probably as radio-unfriendly as anything we've done, and it's prominently featured in the sequence. I don't think there is anything about "Minimum Wage" that we wouldn't be interested in doing now. If we did it with a live rhythm section it would just sound different, but probably just as interesting.

Will there be a tour to support the recently released "Then" compilation? If so, will it just be the two Johns and backing tapes like the old days?

JF: By the time this is online we'll have done our special Then show in NYC, Boston and Chicago. We hope to do it in more markets in the future. Basically TMBG '89 opens for TMBG '97. John and I perform about 15 songs from the early years, and then break for a few minutes and come back and do a variety of material, some old (like "Rhythm Section Want Ad" and "We're The Replacements") and all the regular favorites from the more recent albums.

Will TMBG be hosting 120 Minutes again? Is there a new video?

JF: We don't have any immediate plans on making any videos for "Factory Showroom" although we would very much like to. I'm positive we'll be doing something for the next album, and hopefully it will be spectacular enough to break us back into MTV's uber-rotation.