They Might Be Giants at Lee's Palace (529 Bloor West), Friday (August 23), at 5:30 pm (all ages/dry) and 11:45 pm. $20. 416-870-8000.
Nobody who has ever heard particle Man or caught an episode of Malcolm In The Middle is exactly keeling over from shock that They Might Be Giants have released a children's record. No! is a quite logical addition to the record collections of the rock generation now spawning offspring. Raffi, Sharon, Lois and Bram, They Might Be Giants....
"That was probably how we got the gig in the first place," says John Linnell from his Brooklyn home. "I think everyone who was into us considered us, if not exactly appropriate, one of the more appropriate things for kids, certainly more appropriate in their record collection than, say, Marilyn Manson and Eminem."
No!'s collection of catchy little ditties about being a grocery bag and feeding mice potato chips so they don't eat your house -- enhanced with interactive animated videos for 13 of the 17 tracks -- will easily appeal to both long-time fans and their little rockers in training.
Says Linnell, "The first thing we thought was that we were going to have to restrict what we normally do, that there were things we'd have to rule out. Then we realized it was enormously liberating to be making music for people who don't have any preconceptions about what it is we're supposed to be doing. The usual rock audience looks at everything in terms of context.
"The result was that we really cut loose in a way that we were not anticipating. And what we wound up with was something kind of psychedelic."
Kids, he has found, are a harder crowd to work, in that they aren't up on rock 'n' roll show protocol like applauding or shouting "Whoo!"
"They don't know what the routine is, so for them it's more like just watching and being bystanders."
But there haven't been any mishaps or major tantrums. Figures. The kids are probably better behaved than we adults are.