Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Happy 25th Birthday, They Might Be Giants' Lincoln!

Let's recap. In 1987 I was living in DeKalb, Il, home of Northern Illinois University. I was delivering pizzas for a living, making demos on my Tascam 4 track and playing bass in an almost all girl band. Doing the work to rock.

One Sunday night in early '87, I was watching MTV's 120 Minutes. As always. And I saw a video that literally changed my life. But I did not know how much it would change my life at the time.

Long/short, I ran out and bought their album. And loved it. Not long after, I sent them a fan letter, along with a 90 minute cassette of my home demos. And couple of weeks later, I received a greeting card.
It was just a week or two later that they  were playing a show at Cabaret Metro in Chicago. So Killer and I went. That night we met TMBG's sound man, Bill Krauss, (who would mix my album) and the Johns. They told me to send a tape to their label immediately. Which I did. That resulted in my record contract and my move to Jersey.

I first visited NYC in March of '88. I was introduced to some musicians and I recorded some demos. If you own the 'Time For A Change' compilation CD, you have two of the demos. I came back again for a couple of weeks in July of '88 to record some more demos. All done at DubWay Studios, the same recording studio TMBG recorded their first album. And Lincoln. This was also were I met the owner operator, Al Houghton. A novice musician could not ask for a better engineer. If I could go back in time, I would give him the production credit e deserves.

I eventually made the big move to Jersey in late August of '88. Throughout my visits, and eventual move, I was given cassette tapes of demos and early versions of the songs that would make up TMBG's Lincoln album. Those tapes never left my Walkman as I was traveling the subway going to work or to the studio recording my album. And I always wondered if the song, 'Ball & Chain' was somehow related to me. Not the lyrics, but maybe just inspired by the fact that they had met me. I never did ask them.

But anyways, here we are today. The 25th anniversary of Lincoln's release. TMBG's first album will always be my favorite, but Lincoln will always be a special album for me. I feel like I was kinda in the mix while it was being created.

1 comment:

  1. Great story, and why not assume Ball & Chain is connected to Otis Ball & The Chains? Makes sense to me.
    For me, Lincoln will always be a really special album too, though not the same reasons obviously. But songs like Where Your Eyes Don't Go, Ana Ng, Purple Toupee struck me dumb then and still do today. Also it was the first album by them I anticipated being release and I was not disappointed in my expectations.
    Also, I have Time For A Change. That's where I found out about Otis Ball & The Chains, and to this day I find myself occasionally spontaneously singing Walk On Water for no apparent reason.