They Might Be Giants turn 30 years old
Technically, just the band They Might Be Giants turned 30; John Flansburgh and John Linnell are much older, though you'd never know it to listen to their music. The high school classmates formed TMBG back in 1982 and released their debut self-titled album in 1986, though chances are that more casual fans didn't know of them until they released the Flood album in 1990, which had the hit Istanbul (Not Constantinople).
I had a chance to interview one of the Johns a few years ago -- you can listen to it here -- but to mark this occasion, let's let USA Today's interview do a better job. Here are some highlights of their Q&A with John Flansburgh:
THE EARLY DAYS: "Probably for the first 10 years we were working, we really kind of just went where we were pointed and there wasn't much accommodation for almost common sense physical comforts. We spent a tremendous number of years of ours lives sleeping on the floor of a moving van and I am happy to say we are no longer aging like presidents."
THE STORY BEHIND ISTANBUL: "We actually learned it essentially to extend our set. When we first went out on tour, we were suddenly playing in bars in the South and in the Midwest that would have much longer set requirements. ... So we had to very quickly learn all this additional material just to be able to do a full-length set by the requirements of the club. So we actually learned Istanbul, which is two chords by the way. ... And we learned this educational song called Why Does the Sun Shine? that has been a very popular song for us. So it was a fruitful effort just trying to pad out the show."
THE BAND'S NAME: "You know, we don't get asked about where it came from or what it means so much as we see every version of it in headlines. And photographers always want to have us hold some miniature thing or something. That's really it."