A band which was formed back in the eighties by John Linnel (sic), who plays the accordian and baritone saxophone and John Flansburgh who plays the guitar. They are still around today, and have released well over 500 songs for the enjoyment of whoever listens to them.

They got their name from the movie of the same name which got its title from Don Quixote by Cervantes, on which The Man of La Mancha was based.

It also should be noted that their Dial-A-Song service is still functional at (718) 387-6962 [Ed. This service was discontinued in 2006, apparently.] . This service is free except for the long distance charges if they apply to you. This revolutionary service allows you to listen to their songs over your telco's HI-FI phone lines!

The two Johns met as teenagers at Lincoln-Sudbury High School in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts. Both were residents of Lincoln, hence the name of their second album. When they played a benefit concert there in 1993, their parents were in the audience.

Note: The Discordian irreligion has officially taken credit for the band's name.

This is because, in the semi-sacred pages of the Principia Discordia, a Discordian is actually defined only once, and then as "One who looks at the windmills and concedes that they might be giants."

That, and we wanted an excuse to initiate them behind their backs.

--Paradoxyk, K.S.C.
'Head' Priestess
Insanarchy Cabal

Referenced by Terry Pratchett in the novel Soul Music, a parody on the music industry, which contains several puns on the names of bands and musicians. One band call themselves We're Certainly Dwarfs

Terry himself is known to be a TMBG fan.

They Might Be Giants is also the title of a 1971 film written by James Goldman and directed by Anthony Harvey. The movie stars George C. Scott as Sherlock Holmes (sort of) and Joanne Woodward as Dr. Watson. The movie is something of a blend of Don Quixote, Don Juan DeMarco, The Fisher King and Sherlock Holmes: the plot deals with a delusional paranoid who believes himself to be the great fictional detective, and the psychiatrist who, despite her better judgment, falls under his spell and follows him around Manhattan.

TMBG's core members and sole songwriters are, as always, Flans and Linnell. However, they are currently accompanied on record and in concert by the Band of Dans: Dan Hickey on drums, Dan Miller on guitar and keyboards and Dan Weinkauf on bass. The Johns seem to like 'em a lot and are planning to keep them on indefinitely.

When horns are called for, the Velcro Horns (Jim O'Connor on trumpet and Dan Levine on trombone) fill that need more than adequately.

Previous band members have included bassists Hal Cragin, Graham Maby and Tony Maimone; guitarists Jay Sherman-Godfrey and Eric Schermerhorn; drummers J.D. Feinberg and Brian Doherty; and horn player and all-around good guy Kurt Hoffman.
There is apparently a rather dark explanation for some of the older TMBG lyrics. I had the strange fortune of working for John Flansburg's brother (who, for reasons not related to his brother's success, changed his name entirely years ago; I won't mention it here).

He hated his brother's band and its music when I met him (in late 1993). At first I couldn't squeeze the reason out of him (the whole matter bugged me, because I LOVED TMBG, and was secretly thrilled to be working with a brother of a John), but eventually he spoke out.

It turned out that several TMBG lyrics from the early period (don't know about contemporary lyrics, as I now live in East Europe and can't keep up on their discography) were apparently references to JF's brother, and not very lauding ones. For example, back in the days when it looked like John's brother, not John, would be the big success in the family, John referred to his brother's nickname, "Chesspiece Face":

"Whatever happened to Chesspiece Face?
There go I, but for my face
All I know could be replaced
By the facts in the life of Chesspiece Face"

Frankly, that doesn't seem that scandalous to me, but X. Flansburgh (to give him a name) apparently felt this was bitter, and undeserved, criticism of his success in that period of his life.

But more clearly critical were the lyrics of "Hot Cha", which described the period in which John F.'s brother completely dropped his yuppie lifestyle, did a 180, and became an adventurer and a radical activist. X. definitely did NOT feel that Hot Cha was about Jesus Christ (see Hot Cha). Assuming the song expresses John's viewpoint on X. at that time (which X. felt that it did), then he saw X. as an irresponsible playboy:

First time Hot Cha went away
A floating island was his home
Then the phone rang off the hook
And Hot Cha had to come back home
    -- thanks to Devolver42


Keep in mind here that one of X.'s first big travels after his "180" was "sailboat hitchhiking" and Pacific travel in general. Like all adventures, it had to end; X. apparently meant to imply that his brother was here implying that his travel ended the end of a pipe dream.

This theme of irresponsibility is presented even more strongly, but more surreally (I don't remember being told of a real-life event it would hook to) in another verse:

Second time he went away
Left the bathtub running over
Stereo on and cooking bacon
Never came back to tell us why


The song expresses strongly mixed feelings and confusing jealousy (which I would forgive John, as he states it quite openly in the song, but which X. could not, at least when I knew him, forgive):
If that honey would come back
We would throw such a party
Drink and cook the prodigal son
Fondue forks for everybody


Other songs may have referred to X., but those were the two that really got to him. One final note: I remember one more song with quite down-to-earth "secret references" noted by X. It's "Birdhouse in Your Soul" -- the song was at the very least inspired by a little birdhouse-shaped nightlight in the house (apartment?) where the two grew up.
It should be noted that two TMBG songs appeared as "music videos" of sorts in the Tiny Toon Adventures episode "Tiny Toon Music Television". The songs were Particle Man and Istanbul, not Constantinople.

In the Particle Man video, Plucky Duck is Particle Man, and the theme is professional wrestling. Plucky Duck takes on Triangle Man, Universe Man, and Person Man and gets his butt seriously kicked by all three.

In the Istanbul, not Constantinople video, Plucky Duck (he always gets all the abuse) is a private eye, and is hired by a sultan to find a priceless statue that looks just like him. His reward? A maiden in disguise! He and Hamton J Pig eventually find the statue, but end up breaking it when the maiden ends up not being as pretty as Plucky thought. As punishment, Plucky is forced to stand in as the statue.

From what I heard, TMBG didn't have any creative input for the video; they were just as surprised by them as we were! A large number of people discovered TMBG through this Tiny Toons episode, since it was a mainstream show.

It should be noted that TMBG have produced several puppet videos and one whole music video at Homestar Runner. The puppet videos were various clips of the John's playing music while Homestar sang. The music video was from the song Experimental Film.

TMBG is also the source of many of the jokes and oddities in the online game Kingdom of Loathing , and one of the key puzzles in the recent game events involved the song "Ana NG"

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