They Might Be Giants of Science

They Might Be Giants of Science

With the release of the quirky alternative-rock duo's latest children's album, they reveal the appeal, and challenges, of entertaining kids. (Time)

Brooklyn-based band They Might Be Giants has been making offbeat alternative rock music for about 25 years. Fronted by John Linnell and John Flansburgh, they are best known for “Birdhouse in Your Soul,” their catchy ode to a nightlight, and their popular cover of “Istanbul (Not Constantinople),” both on their gold album, “Flood.” You may have heard their memorable theme songs to “Malcolm in the Middle” and “The Daily Show.”

Lately the band has been busy carving out a new niche in the world of children’s music. In 2002 they released their first kids’ album, “No!,” a surprise success, leading to a trio of Disneyesque albums: “Here Come the ABCs,” the Grammy-winning “Here Come the 123s,” and now “Here Comes Science.” Their latest release features songs about the elements, evolution, photosynthesis, the scientific method, speed and velocity, paleontology, the circulatory system and computer assisted design.

Whether the musicians are equipped to really pack educational science lessons into singalong pop tunes that appeal to the young set is, by their own admission, questionable. But as with their adult hits, there’s no denying their offbeat sense of fun.

Time Magazine sat down with the two Johns at their rehearsal studio to discuss the long strange trip it’s been for them. The video report transcends the usual Q&A by following them to their packed kids’ concert at New York’s Museum of Natural History, “to see how seasoned rock stars deal with the unique challenges of performing live for thousands of toddlers.”

Best of all, we get to hear from the experts themselves — not the record execs or science teachers, but the kids in line to hear the show. And we get to see the aging musicians perform for an audience a fraction of their age, who have no knowledge or memory of their rockstar heyday. Next stop, Super Bowl?

CHANNEL: Time Magazine

Length: 6:50

Reporter/Writer: Brian Malow
Camera: Craig Duff, Jacob Templin
Editor: Jacob Templin
Supervising Producer: Craig Duff