They Might Be Giants' John Linnell: "It Can Be Really Hard to Play For Kids"

30 years is a long time. You might think that after 30 years in a career as unique and unpredictable as They Might Be Giants, (college rockers to children's rockers) principals John Linnell and John Flansburgh might be wondering how much longer they can keep it up, but that's not the case according to Linnell.

"No, not really, no. In some ways, we are so much taking the same approach to music: Performing, writing, and recording, as we did 30 years ago," Linnell says. "It's not quite 30 years -- it's almost 30 years -- but in some ways it just feels like this very comfortable thing that we know how to do, and we've established such a sort of consistent and you know, reliable following that it's kind of the opposite of weird. It just feels normal now."

In the case of TMBG, "normal" means singular. The band's latest album, Join Us, is another sterling entry in the band's catalog, with sparkling tunes like "You Old Pine Box" and The Who-on-a-sugar-rush "Judy is Your Viet Nam" cementing the band's return to wry, self-deprecating pop.

Linnell and I spoke about the band's history, new album, and the difference between playing to kids and playing to adults.

They Might Be Giants is scheduled to perform Sunday, January 29, at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe.

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.