Bill Rancic Defends His Wife Giuliana After Fashion Police Controversy: 'I Tried to Get Them to Release the Footage' 42 years, 2,191 covers and 55,436 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- WATCH: Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult Try to Resist Their Feelings in Clip from Sci-Fi Drama Equals
- Read the Cover Story: Steve Harvey: From Homeless to Having It All
- Khloé Kardashian Feels Conflicted About Her Exes: 'If People Are Destructive to You Emotionally, That Still Doesn't Mean You Can't Love Them'
- Mother-in-Law of Murdered Texas Fitness Instructor Shares Love Story Between Her Son and Daughter-in-Law: 'She Was Definitely the One'
- WATCH: Jennifer Holliday Surprises The View's Whoopi Goldberg with Superstar Co-Host Karaoke Performance of 'And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going'
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- June 20, 1988
- Vol. 29
- No. 24
They Might Be Giants, Who, on the Other Hand, Might Just Be Hot Rock and Roll Nerds from Brooklyn
Their opening salvo against the corporate rock monster was last year's They Might Be Giants LP, a 19-song cannonade fired by a popgun—tiny, New Jersey—based Bar/None Records. Forty-three minutes of quirk rock that veers from the ridiculous ("Youth culture killed my dog...the hip-hop and the white funk just blew away my puppy's mind") to the more ridiculous ("There's only two songs in me and I just wrote the third"), the album has generated good reviews ("hyperverbal and seriously funny," quoth the New York Times), a strong cult following and 100,000 sales. Okay, okay; as Linnell says, "That doesn't sound like much in a Van Halen world." But it's not bad for two guys who wear four-foot-tall fezzes onstage and market their music by playing snatches of new songs on a telephone answering machine (718-387-6962). When pressed, the Giants admit to sincere attempts at pop craftsmanship—"There's strong melody in most of what we do; it's our secret weapon," says Flansburgh—and are also quick to point out the importance of their tape-recorded rhythm tracks. "At first we taped because we couldn't afford a live drummer," says Linnell. Adds Flansburgh: "Now we do it because we can use strange rhythms and not worry about the drummer's head exploding."
The Giants grew up, to normal heights—Linnell is 5'10", Flansburgh 5'11"—in Lincoln, Mass., and were childhood friends. "We grew long hair in 1968 and became [8-year-old] hippie children," Flansburgh says. "Then we cut it in 1977 and joined the punk people." Linnell, whose father is a psychiatrist and whose mother is a poet, spent a year at the University of Massachusetts and three years with a band called the Mundanes. Flansburgh, whose father is an architect and whose mother founded Boston-by-Foot tours, played in several "hobby bands" and earned a B.F.A. in printmaking from Brooklyn's Pratt Institute.
When the pair coincidentally moved into separate apartments in the same Brooklyn building on the same day in 1981, they decided fate meant for them to take a Giant step. Billed as "El Groupo de Rock and Roll," they debuted before 30 non-English-speaking Sandinista supporters at a 1982 rally. By 1984 they had lifted their current name from a 1972 George C. Scott movie about a lawyer who believes he is Sherlock Holmes.
Supporting themselves with "slave jobs"—Linnell was a bike messenger, Flansburgh a people counter in Grand Central Station—they played "the lowest rung of Manhattan clubs" before developing the kind of following that allows them, nowadays, to afford to stay at Motel 6 when they tour. Both Giants regard the typical rock star excesses—cheap women and expensive cars—as shallow, decadent and, lamentably, out of reach. "We're willing to sleep with beautiful women," says Flansburgh hopefully (the Giants are single). "Ah, the Crüe, they're livin' the dream," adds Linnel, with perhaps less than perfect sincerity.
Doggedly pursuing their own slightly skewed dream, the Giants have just released a five-song EP (She Was a) Hotel Detective and are about to embark on a West Coast tour, which may increase public comprehension of their world view. "As hard as it is to explain the band, audiences get it right away," Flansburgh says. "They don't go, 'Oh, you're just like Mick Jagger.' They go, 'Oh, you're just like my brother.' " And even if TMBG doesn't kick Van Halen off the charts, they have already begun to nudge at least one top pop star. "They Might Be Giants is available now in shopping mall record stores, under the Ts," Flansburgh says with pride. "Right next to Tiffany."
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!