They Might Be Giants Staying Grown Up after 'Join Us'
After releasing their first non-children's album in five years, They Might Be Giants may well stay that course on its next project, too.
"It's unclear whether or not we'll do another kids thing or just stick to the good ship rock," co-founder John Flansburgh tells Billboard.com. "I imagine that we'll get to it soon after we get off the road, and I have a sneaking suspicion we'll just keep doing the rock thing for the time being. I feel like that's what's animating us right now, and sometimes it's important to follow that. I'm sure we'll do another kids thing, too, but this seems the most fruitful path right now."
TMBG could already be headed down that road, in fact. Flansburgh says that "there are probably a half-dozen other quality tracks that didn't make" the group's new album, "Join Us," which came out in July, as well as "that number or more that are just waiting for the bulk delete." But Flansburgh doesn't consider the remainders to comprise a head start for a new album. "I don't think anything will ever happen with those songs," he explains. "They really need to be set free. It's not important that everything we do gets heard; some things are for fun, and that's enough. These days there are almost too many outlets for bad music."
Nevertheless, Flansburgh says TMBG was pleased to return to the "adult" music ranks after reeling off a pair of children's albums -- the Grammy Award-winning "Here Come the 123s" in 2008 and the Grammy-nominated "Here Comes Science" in 2009 -- following 2007's "The Else." "It's not like we had a pre-meditated plan to do a 'return to our basics' kind of album," he notes. "It's just that doing something that spotlights our band, which is a pretty slamming band, always appeals to us. So I think the truth of 'Join Us' is it's just direct. There's not a lot of over-production; it's really a victory of self-restraint. We're probably most excited about how excited the world seems to be with it. It's already sold a crazy number of copies, much more than our last adult album sold at this point. It seems like the stars are aligning for us right now."
Another possible future project for TMBG is a full-scale endeavor by the Avatars of They, the puppet show the group launched for its children's concerts and has since incorporated into its adult show. "The temptation to make the puppets extremely aggressive or just hostile is really too delicious to ignore," explains Flansburgh. "A lot of the energy of the Avatars of They is that they hate They Might Be Giants; there's all this sort of backstage bitching going on with them in the live show." Flansburgh says the group has "a couple of Avatars songs we've written;" while he's "not sure how fear we can go with...a puppet project for adults," he adds that "I would love to do an Avatars of They project. I suspect it might seem really stoned. It's definitely something that intrigues us."