Their music is quirky. Their lyrics whimsical. They play the accordion. And that was all before alterna-rockers They Might Be Giants started making tunes for kids. Following their No! CD and Bed, Bed, Bed book/CD, the two Johns, Flansburgh and Linnell, have returned with Here Come the ABCs (available on DVD and CD), an eclectic and eccentric approach to the alphabet that we spell A-W-E-S-O-M-E.
Can’t get enough of the toddler set, can you?
JF We were very surprised by how warmly received No! was, because it was purely an experiment, but when it outperformed the regular album, that got our attention.
What’s your favorite letter?
JF As a former graphic designer, R would have to be my favorite because of the shape. It’s got everything going for it — it has curves, it’s got straights, and it can support itself architecturally.
JL I like the T in The New York Times. When other kids were writing the name of a rock band on their desks, I was drawing that T.
How different is the vibe of performing for kids?
JF Anytime you’re completely eclipsed by a confetti machine, it’s a little humbling.
JL A child will not necessarily face the stage or applaud. And they have no problem talking while we’re playing a quiet song.
JF Our trumpet player will play a solo, and you’ll see some kids dancing, some confused or crying. But then you’ll see a kid who is just locked on the soloist, and you’ll realize that kid is gonna grow up to be a trumpet player.
JL Or a trumpet-player assassin.