Talk:John Linnell

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Is John's Middle name Sid? I just got back from thier concert and i got john to sign two of my shirts. He signed both of them "John Sid L." - User:Droffats

Yep - see the Trivia page - Duke33
Cool, thanks. - User:Droffats

Two question on Linnel's multi-instrumentalism: Diatonic, chromatic, or other type of harmonica, and, jazz bass, p bass, or both? Oh, and also, chromatic or diatonic accordion? - Desck

Answered my own question on the accordion. He plays a piano accordion. (Obviously!) - Desck

Any idea what brand/model? - Scragz

No clue. The only way I know he plays a piano accordion is because it's the only type with a piano keyboard - Desck

You know, there are several types of piano accordions as well. I have a 120 bass, and as far as i can tell, John L usually plays a 120 as well. On certain songs, it sounds to me like he used bass, but i can't confirm or deny it. - BucketHatBobby

This is from the Q&A section of

How many accordions does Linnell own?

JL: I've seen him playing a few different ones at different shows. I've got seven that I've used at live shows. My original Walters which dates from 1928 and is now too fragile to take on the road, a "Music Mart" which you can see in the live photo on the back of the "Don't Let's Start" EP, an Excelsior that I played in the early 90's which has many busted off ivories and two grills that look like bug eyes, a gigantic and burdensome "Marinucci Recanati" (I don't know which name represents the manufacturer) a tiny Chinese accordion that is good for radio shows, and two Hohners, one old and black, one brand new and red.


Anybody know what Linnell's exhibited vocal range is? I know it goes up to at least a high F#, the "A leg!" of Montana, but I don't how low it goes, or exactly how high. Desck 14:26, 19 Dec 2004 (EST)

I was going to say the line "To her is unmistakable" in Diving Board was his highest note, but it's a high F#, too. So, as far as we know, he can sing up to that note, if not any higher. He's in the baritone placement, though, where Flans must be a tenor. --Overjoy 13:18, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
But if that's Linnell singing backup in The Mesopotamians, (and this wiki tells me that it is) he can hit a high A. It's on the word "Mesopotamian", the 2nd to last syllable. Correct me if I'm wrong about the note. --Lemita 01:09, 8 August 2007 (UTC)
I don't think he can hit an A, but he seems to in My Man also. Maybe it's some studio trickery.
As far as I know, Linnell's lowest note is an F2 (heard in "Oregon" with "Stop it if you can") and his highest note is a Bb4 (from the backing vocals of "My Man" about 29 seconds in). This gives him a range of two octaves and a fourth. With falsetto his range could likely be extended but John never uses falsetto, so that's sort of irrelevant.
The high "...miiian" harmony in question from The Mesopotamians is indeed sung in falsetto, though. ~SirDarrell

Doesn't The Future Of Sound belong in the instruments section? It's not exactly a song, it's a touch pad.

"The Future of Sound" is the name of the song/improvisation. The Kaoss Pad is what Linnell plays.


Isn't the big sax Linnell plays a baritone sax, not a bass?

The sax that Linnell plays is called a baritone saxophone. There is no such thing as a bass saxophone. Baritone is the lowest it goes. - fingertips

Untrue. There are bass saxophones as well as contrabass saxophones. Mucket 14:03, 18 Dec 2004 (EST)

I stand corrected. You learn something new everyday. ~ fingertips

Does John play Bass Sax on any songs? It has a really distinctive -- not to mention comic -- tone, and it would fit in well with TMbG's sound. I know that he owns one: he carries it around in the video for The Guitar (The Lion Sleeps Tonight) and mentions in the commentary that it's his bass sax, but that he doesn't play it much. Incidentaly, I used to play bari sax, and I always thought it was cool that he did too. Not that anyone asked, but the common saxophone family includes soprano, alto, tenor, and bari. The bass sax is rarely used, though you can hear it on the Muppet show theme. Other saxophones, such as the sopranino, C Melody, contrabass and sub-contrabass have been used in the past, but they are all but extinct. -- MasterChivo

Actually, he does play it on the guitar. It's pretty prominent. Listen to the left channel. It goes throughout the song. - apfelbitsliam

He also plays bass sax in Drinkin. Spiraling Shape 19:44, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

I own a bass saxophone. He uses it on several songs on Apollo 18; namely, She's Actual Size Turn Around The Guitar and also on The Else (listen very closely to Climbing the Walls and on Seven from Here Come the ABCs

I'm All You Can Think About immediately comes to mind. Additionally, I think I read that he'd originally played bass saxophone but switched to baritone for travel convenience?


This person at the tmbg livejournal thing called Linnell "DJ Squiggles" so um... yeah. i like that one.

I've heard him called many things before. "Dr. String Bean" seams to be a favorite with my TMBG friends. I think it comes from his lovely dance display in They'll Need a Crane

Kid pic[edit]

You can change the "thumb" to "right" and that should fix it. If you do a "thumb" it will try to resize it, even if it's smaller than the "thumb" size...hence the blurriness. The only problem with "right" is that I believe you will lose the caption text underneath it. Oh well...--Duke33 09:25, 30 Jan 2006 (EST)

The reason it became so blurry is because this wiki seems to be terrible at making thumbnails of PNGs. Anything else it does perfectly. -CapitalQtalk ♪ 15:02, 30 Jan 2006 (EST)

Severely bruised?[edit]

I didn't know that (and, to be honest, don't think it's true):

The German wikipedia article on JL says that he suffered from a complicated fracture of his hand caused by a bicycle accident between 1996 and 1998 and had to pause temporarily; additionally the Flans page states that this was the reason for him to hastily found Mono Puff. It further says that South Carolina is about that accident.

Interesting? Worthy to be on the page? Or is it ... full ... of witches? - Whirrrlwind (Woosh!) 18:14, 9 May 2006 (CDT)

Er, I remember that JL had a bike accident, which injured his wrist and made them unable to perform sometime before the first album. I hadn't heard about this accident (but I don't exactly know much about TMBG history), so maybe they mixed up facts. Maybe not. Don't know. ~ magbatz 18:27, 9 May 2006 (CDT)


Weren't The Hives listed in Linnell's likes? Where did they go? - (Firefly) 00:23, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps you were thinking of this. -CapitalQtalk ♪ 00:45, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
Oh. Ok that makes my mind feel better! - (Firefly) 02:18, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

How do you pronounce "Linnell?"[edit]

After watching Gigantic (twice, three times if you count the commentary), the pronounciation of "Linnell" has bothered me. Some said "Lin-nell" and others pronounce the 2nd syllable with almost a "u" sound (Lin-null-- I've always said it like that, almost like a one syllable thing). Since Flansy used "Lin-nell" as a humorous poke at how he wrote a letter to his comrade (sp?) in middle school, and others really say it that way, I'm quite confused. Is his name pronounced both ways, or is one correct? Just something that was bothering me... =) --Lemita 01:12, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

The answer. -CapitalQtalk ♪ 01:57, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
That's "Hey, Mr. Linnell!" to you, babe. [~Christina Miller, August 2006]
Me? -CapitalQtalk ♪ 12:05, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
What's that clip from? ~ magbatz
Village Gate Concert Promo. -CapitalQtalk ♪ 12:05, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
I knew that was Hide Away Folk Family in the background!

Thanks CapitalQ! ^_^ --Lemita 18:54, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Yes, thanks! I had been fairly certain it was "Li-NELL", after watching Gigantic, but I thought it was "LIN-ull" at first, so...yeah. ~Anna Ng hears your words.

Dust buster[edit]

could you call the dust buster an instrument? Goodtimes2

If played with a bit of skill, yes. --Lemita 00:53, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Removal of "Bari Sax" on instruments[edit]

Mr. Linnell does play bari sax, right? Why did that get taken off the list? --Lemita 01:29, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

It was never on the list, it's in the sentence right before it: "He usually plays accordion, baritone saxophone, and keyboard in concert, and has also played the following instruments..." Confusing, isn't it? -CapitalQtalk ♪ 01:45, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
...Oh. My bad. o_o; Thanks though. --Lemita 22:50, 12 April 2007 (UTC)


Anybody know what type of keyboard Linell typically plays?

He currently plays a Roland Fantom-X8 in concert. I don't know what he played before that, though. Spiraling Shape 19:50, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Linnells mom[edit]

What did she do for a living?

In an interview, Flans said to Linnell, yeah, wasn't your Mom a teacher for a while? I think it was the recent "Spare the Rock" interview. Of course, Flans says lots of things, not all of them true. --Christina 16:14, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

I've read she's an artist

She was a poet. --Self Called Nowhere (talk) 23:19, 27 January 2016 (EST)

This says she's an artist [1], this says she's a poet [2], and this says she's a school teacher [3]. Pick a title, any title! -- Sonderling (talk) 07:06, 29 January 2016 (EST)

those three things aren't mutually exclusive at all. she did get an MA in English; her thesis was a collection of poems. --ant 11:24, 29 January 2016 (EST)


He claims to be 5'8-9 but that would be a lot shorter than he looks. Is anybody who has been in his (majestic) presence confirm that he could be about that tall? --Dunklekuh81

  • Okay, I indeed have been in his (majestic) presence, and I would say he was about 5'9" or 5'10"...--Overjoy 15:23, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
Agree. Have stood on level ground next to him, and I'd say 69.5 inches or thereabouts. --Christina 16:14, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
That's 176.5 cm for those Europeans keeping up with this. ~ magbatz 18:50, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
Darn right, bubba. My feeling is always - in the absence of actual data, be as overly precise as you can get away with, that way it looks as if you know whereof you speak. This works 97.86% of the time.  ;p --Christina 20:14, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, I read in an interview that he was 5' 10'' and Flans was 5'11''


What song(s) has he used a chainsaw on? --Ralph 08:43, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

It seems that Magbatz got confused by the "chainsaw riff" on the page for Mr. Klaw, so I've removed it. --badqueso 09:06, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
Lol. ~ magbatz 20:45, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Born in New York City...[edit]

How old was he when he moved from NYC to Lincoln? Nine? --Valerie 05:18, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

He was 8. I am dumb. --Valerie 05:21, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Col tiempo[edit]

My take: Linnnell's obsessions have modulated and softened over time. Bach references are rare lately, but some early songs have a harpsichord or a canon. The early lyrics are jumbled up... I think he has stopping trying to achieve the insane level of compression and randomness you see in Don't let's start, Nothing's gonna change my clothes, and especially It's not my birthday. And his early songs are drenched in emotion while the later songs are more formal and stoic. --Nehushtan (talk) 23:58, 17 December 2013 (EST)