We dusted off the virtual DeLorean and time traveled once again to the world wide web of the 1990s. This time around, we’re paying tribute to tmbg.com: the long time (and often neglected) home page for rock band They Might Be Giants.
I was a pretty early adopter to the Internet. Back then, content was pretty scarce. Today, there is no way someone could conceivably read all the content there is online, but in 1995 you might have been actually able to spend a weekend catching up on the information super highway… if only dial-up connections had been more advanced.
As it turns out, I wasn’t the only adopter to this whole virtual information thing. I had heard of this band called They Might Be Giants and somehow found out they had a home page. My first ever encounter with the band looked like this:
At the time, I didn’t own any of their albums or know any of their songs. All I knew is they had an animated website that involved roasting a record, a shield, and an entire miniature cow. Today, their merch store still has a mousepad version of the log from their old site design, puzzling many newcomer fans.
May 8, 1999
The next version of tmbg.com was an updated play on the icon roast, adding an extra level of scary. By this point, I was a fan of the band but didn’t know what the members of the group looked like. There were never pictures of them in their CD booklets and their videos weren’t exactly a regular staple of MTV or VH-1. So, the first time I ever saw the band was when their blue heads were impaled upon sticks while animated icons roasted.
October 17, 2000
Then came the coughing presidential heads design. This interactive version of the site stayed up for a few years, eventually changing from green to blue. Even today, this design holds up well as an innovative spectacle. I found myself shooting the targets way longer than my lunch break allowed.
Going almost the complete opposite direction, the presidents site was replace by a simple design labeled as “temporary” for almost the remainder of tmbg.com. At present, tmbg.com is just a direct to theymightbegiants.com.
Yes, the band had two completely different sites for several years. Sometimes, one felt mainstream and up to date while the other felt like a secret club competitor. Perhaps, we’ll cover theymightbegiants.com in a future edition of Internet Time Travel.