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As a radio guy, it’s kind of strange that I’m not into podcasts. I don’t know why, I’m just not. But there is one that I do listen to every episode: The They Might Be Giants Podcast. In fact, they just released a new one on Monday — and it’s one of the best yet.
Not only is it a podcast, but it’s an object lesson on how to interact with die-hard fans right. The podcast is put together by the band (almost all of them are hosted by John Flansburgh under the guise of “Cecil Portesque”) and not only features news of band happenings — but amazingly, lots of rarities from the vaults. TMBG are a prolific band, and it seems that almost everything that’s not been commerically released has shown up on a bootleg of some sort or another — and yet they keep finding stuff that even the most hardcore fan has never heard. A few episodes ago, they played “Penguin”, a song they’d only referred to in interviews about the very first show they’d ever played. Aside from the band, the people at that show were the only ones to have heard it until that podcast.
It’s notoriously hard to please the hardcore fans — and yet, as “Penguin” shows, the Johns know how to go about doing it. But, too, the podcast is equally useful for new fans and those who are curious about the band. There are plenty of non-rare songs mixed in with the oddball stuff, both illustrating the depth and breadth of the band, but also providing enough “hits” that the new fan wouldn’t be scared away by only stuff they didn’t know. Sometimes those are in the form of particularly good live performances (and, honestly, TMBG are a great live band) and sometimes they’re just straight up album tracks. Also ideal for a newbie not quite sure if they want to take a bogey on the band, the podcasts are free — and there’s about nine and a half hours of material there since the show started back in 2005.
Whether you’re a fan of the band, or would like to see what all the fuss is about, go ahead and subscribe to the podcast. You’ll be able to find a pretty good explanation of what it is exactly They Might Be Giants are all about: Melody, Fidelity and Quantity.