Courtesy of Shervin Lainez
They Might Be Giants might have some trouble with finding new ways to write songs, but it might just be because it focuses on quirky topics.
John Linnell, co-founder of the band, said it’s become harder to come up with quirky lyrics and song themes over the years. He said a new song “Nouns” contains the phrase “we’re running out of nouns” and is a reference to this situation.
“We want to come up with some specific topic each time out of the box, but occasionally we run into ‘Oh we wrote a song about sandwiches already,'” the accordion player said.
Famous for songs such as “Particle Man,” TMBG is slated to perform at the Newport Music Hall Saturday at 7 p.m.
The band is touring in support of its 16th album, “Nanobots” which is set to release on Tuesday.
He said the band focuses on making music for themselves instead of fans.
“We’re very tough on ourselves, we’ve never been able to figure out what fans want really,” he said. “We want to make people like something that they weren’t already going to like.”
TMBG is also popular with a young demographic due to its children’s albums. Their record “Here Come the 123s” was the band’s first album to win a Grammy in 2009. While Linnell said writing songs for the kid’s albums is easier because they are working around a theme, performing for them is a different story.
“It is a lot harder to do kid’s show. I think they’re much more like ‘show me what you’ve got’ and that’s been kind of demoralizing for us,” he said, adding that kids often don’t know they’re supposed to clap or face the stage.
There’s no worries about kids on this tour though, the band has set a 14 and up age limit. Linnell said sometimes people are upset about it, but they wanted to make it clear that this would be their adult set. He also said he believes rock clubs aren’t an appropriate place for children.
Johnny Go, owner of Johnny Go’s House O’ Music at 1900 N. High St., said he even enjoys the band’s children’s’ albums. Go said since he’s seen the band several times he won’t be attending the show on Saturday.
“They’re a tremendous band. I would love to see one of their rehearsals, it’d be hilarious,” he said. Go said his store carries many of the band’s albums and will have “Nanobots” when it’s released.
Marissa Luther, marketing manager at PromoWest Productions, said she expects the show to sell out, partly because of the band’s wide-ranging fan base.
“They’re definitely a very fun band to see so they would appeal to a younger audience, but they’ve been around for so many years that they definitely will have an older audience also,” she said.
In a project called “Dial-a-Song” the band used to record songs into an answering machine and advertise the number. Though they no longer feature songs that way, in January they released an iPhone application with a similar purpose. The app, called “They Might Be Giants,” has a different, free song every day. Linnell said he finds the trends in pop culture consumption strange.
“It’s odd, music itself is much more like ‘Dial-a-Song’ than anything was back then. It’s very odd that that’s sort of how everyone consumes culture — at home, by choice. Anything that you’d previously go out for now you can just sit at home click buttons and get it,” he said.
Tickets are available through Ticketmaster for $22 in advance and $25 the day of the show. The opening act is Vandaveer.