John Flansburgh and John Linnell a.k.a. They Might Be Giants have been creating music together for more than 30 years. Formed in Brooklyn in the early '80s, TMBG released their 15th studio album, "Join Us," (Idlewild/Rounder) in July 2011.
The Platinum-selling, Grammy Award-winning band continues to churn out energetic and inventive pop-alt tunes. Together with drummer Marty Beller, guitarist Dan Miller and bassist Danny Weinkauf, The Johns make a stop Thursday night at Ponte Vedra Concert Hall.
Compass caught up with Linnell as the band was enjoying a day off in Albuquerque, N.M.
How's the tour been going so far?
It's been going surprisingly well. There's always this sort of expectation -- we try and book rooms that are in the range of the size of our audience. And we're in this period now around the country where people are not going out to concerts as much as they used to. We're selling out all of these shows, which is not what anyone was expecting. Promoters keep telling us that we're beating the odds because we're filling all of these rooms up.
You guys have found a lot of success writing children's projects -- both albums and for television. How have your old fans reacted to that?
It's funny, we run into people fairly often who are like, "Where have you guys been for the last 15 years?" We've literally been recording and performing and touring the whole time since like whenever they tuned us out. But it is kind of this interesting problem to try and get people aware. Also, how do you do that again over and over for a long period of time? I guess it's technically impossible. Some people move on in their lives -- they leave college and have families.
All of your shows are age 14 and up -- some even 18 or 21 and up. Why did you guys do that?
The 14 and up is our number. It has to do with doing a show where we're free to not try and limit the comments or feel like we have to do any hand holding in terms of explaining the material or anything like that. We can just be ourselves and tell disgusting jokes or whatever it is we want to do. It's not that we need to do that in particular, but it gives us the freedom.
If you could go back in time 30 years -- when the band started out -- and give the young you a piece of advice, what would it be?
Well, I don't think I would be able to limit myself to one piece of advice.
Okay. Then give me a couple.
You know, when I look back at what we've done and the decisions we've made and what my choices were, I do feel like there are things I would have done differently. But then when I see the sequence of events, I see that things were going to probably happen that way just because I guess you can't time travel. I don't feel like I have huge regrets.
I think that you're automatically naive when you start out and it's nicer to be older and less confused about reality -- one of the great gifts of middle age.