#1 – “Countdown Intro” (1988)

A.S.: It’s just perfect that this is the first thing that popped up in the shuffle.  It really couldn’t have been a more suitable selection.
L.K.: God, I love this.
A.S.: They assume we have nine toes.
L.K.: What other band would start a show like this?  This is such a quintessentially early TMBG thing since it’s so damn weird… “Professor Psychofuckup.”
A.S.: Just a perfect parody of dumb, dramatic rock concert intros and classic science fiction radio programs in one fell swoop.
L.K.: The banter…
A.S.: “Are you ready to have… a fucking EXCELLENT time?!”
L.K.: I want to know the circumstances of this being written.
A.S.: You mean what caused them to write it?
L.K.: Just what specifically inspired the weird scenarios detailed within; I wonder if it dated back to around when “For Science” was written.
A.S.: Maybe Flansburgh just had some sci-fi serial phase back in the mid-80s.  I also love the Jim Bakker International Airport bit.  It dates the piece but it doesn’t really sound dated.
L.K.: Well, because it sounded dated to begin with.
A.S.: Good point
L.K.: It’s like Flans’s whole deal with Twilight Zone episodes.  It’s just a naturally archaic sort of format – the cheesy sci-fi of their childhoods. The incredibly lame puns in this are awesome too, I might add, especially NEGATIVE ONE.
A.S.: But you’d be NEGATIVE TWO
L.K.: They Might Be Giants, the only band that counts down to Negative Two.  Man, they’d be great for New Years.  Is there a date for this?

A.S.: 1988 according to the Wiki.  I can’t seem to find much info on the version they used for the John Henry tour, although I guess it was shorter, which is a shame because the whole point of it is to drag on longer than you expected.
L.K.: They don’t use narration anymore.  I kind of miss that, because these are all so weird and wonderful in their own ways.  Any band can walk on to music.
A.S.: And any band can have a stereotypical “ARE YOU READY” introduction.  But this…
L.K.: Yeah, this is… This is something else.
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3 Responses to “#1 – “Countdown Intro” (1988)”
  1. Nice blog. The “Countdown Intro” lyrics page on the wiki has the transcriptions for both versions; the ’94 edition still counts down to negative two, and was played at my second ever TMBG show (of 189). My friend Kelly has been doing the TMBG song a day thing for a year and a half at my-name-is-blue-canary.blogspot.com. I post a TMBG concert photo a day, as well as a TMBG T-Shirt every Saturday on my own blog at theymightbegiants.org.

    • tmbgsongaday says:

      Thank you for reading! Just noticed the 1994 version’s transcription, it’s a shame that they omitted the sci-fi elements from it, but that’s great that you saw it live. And woah, a year and a half is a long time – who knows if we’ll still be doing this in the middle of 2013, but I guess there’s just something about a band that has such a massive and diverse library of songs that compels people to want to discuss them so much. Thank you for the links!
      – A.S.

  2. Nathan says:

    The first time I saw TMBG live, back in 1997, they played the Critic Intro.

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