They Might Be Giants‘ innovative Dial-A-Song scheme back in the early-Eighties helped land the cult indie rock band a record deal. By dialing a mysterious phone number found in the back pages of the Village Voice, callers would be introduced to a new TMBG track every day. Over the course of Dial-A-Song’s existence, They Might Be Giants pumped hundreds of new tracks into the project before the phone line was finally disconnected in 2006.
In 2015, the Flood band will bring back their Dial-A-Song through much more updated means: In addition to the resurrected old school method – the new phone number is (844) 387-6962; call now to hear their country-western-influenced “I Wasn’t Listening” – the project will also feature their long-running Dial-A-Song website that hosts a new track every week, an email subscription service, their constantly updated YouTube page and a 100-station-strong Dial-A-Song Radio Network that will broadcast They Might Be Giants throughout the week.
The band kickstarted the original Dial-A-Song kickstarted in 1983 using their answering machine, the Wall Street Journal writes. John Flansburgh and John Linnell of They Might Be Giants changed the outgoing message (or the song) on a daily basis, accruing hundreds of tracks thanks to the novelty project.
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“When we first did it, there were tremendous shortcomings to the phone machine in terms of fidelity,” Flansburgh told the Wall Street Journal. “Actually, if we had any sustained notes in the song, the machine would reject it, mistaking it for the beep at the end of the message. So there were all these odd choices that were nonmusical.”
Many of the new Dial-A-Song tracks, including possibly “I Wasn’t Listening,” will pop up during They Might Be Giants’ yearlong residency at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg, where the band will perform on the last Sunday of each month. Each concert will feature a full album performance as well as the Dial-A-Song material.
On top of all that, for the stations in the ever-growing Dial-A-Song Radio Network, each week They Might Be Giants will create custom materials for the Dial-A-Song segment, complete with interviews and other “programming notes.” So far, the band have already recruited 100 terrestrial stations to join the Dial-A-Song Radio Network, spanning college radio stations and underground networks from Germany, Ireland and Fairbanks, Alaska to Los Angeles’ A Fistful of Vinyl on KXLU to WHER 100.3 FM Seattle’s Under the Influence.