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John Linnell of They Might Be Giants Talks Tech 111

harrymcc writes "We've published Benj Edwards' wide-ranging interview with John Linnell, one half of the 30-year musical partnership known as They Might Be Giants. He talks about his life as a technology user--from his first encounter with the Radio Shack TRS-80 to his mastery of Asteroids to the band's long-time use of Macs to its pioneering experiments on online music."
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John Linnell of They Might Be Giants Talks Tech

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  • by commodore6502 ( 1981532 ) on Monday June 13, 2011 @10:32AM (#36424898)

    I'm not surprised he used a TRS-80 as his "first". It was the best-selling computer of 1978, 79 and 80*.

    "If you went back to that time and told yourself, âoeIn thirty years, weâ(TM)re going to be distributing all of our music through this device,â what would you think?" - John Linnell says he would not be surprised. At the time, people were already recording songs on their Ataris, Commodores, and Amigas and distributing them via the BBS and Usenet.

    >>>John Linnell's first PC, the Macintosh Plus (1986).

    IMHO he would have been better-off buying an Atari ST or Amiga. Like Andy Warhol and Disney Animation did. The Mac Plus wasn't very strong for video or sound.

    *1981-82 was Atari 400/800
    *1983-86 was Commodore 64
    *1987 onward was IBM PC and clones

  • Re:The sun... (Score:3, Informative)

    by johnnysaucepn ( 1263108 ) on Monday June 13, 2011 @10:48AM (#36425038) a mass of incandescent gas, a gigantic nuclear furnace.

    ^my new favorite TMBG song

    Good song. But not written by them. [] On the other hand, "Why Does the Sun Really Shine? (The Sun Is a Miasma of Incandescent Plasma)" was. "The sun is a miasma Of incandescent plasma The sun's not simply made out of gas The sun is a quagmire It's not made of fire Forget what you've been told in the past"

  • Re:Wow (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 13, 2011 @11:29AM (#36425400)

    Theme from The Daily Show, Grammy-winning kids' albums, a new regular album coming out next month (they do about one every three years), a tour just starting up with Jonathan "Still Alive" Coulton as the opener -- yeah, they're pretty relevant.

    If "Istanbul" is your favorite, I pity you your ignorance and envy you your opportunity to still discover them.

  • Re:Their music? (Score:4, Informative)

    by TexVex ( 669445 ) on Monday June 13, 2011 @12:12PM (#36425788)
    Back in their early days they used to run something called "Dial-A-Song". It was basically just an answering machine with one of their songs recorded as the greeting. They would switch out the song often.

    One time the machine recorded part of a two-way conversation when a woman named Gloria called the machine to listen to it with someone else on the line. TMBG released that recording as an unnamed track on their "Miscellaneous T" b-side compilation album. There is a transcript here [].

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"