Remember Furbies? The Thermals do, and as the band crosses the country on tour for its latest album, Personal Life, they've developed a penchant for the fuzzy talking beings with batteries that never die. Using Twitter as a conduit to their fans -- and request Furbies (and weed) -- the Thermals have been able to take this obsession to a new level.
Check the band's tweets leading up to the show. You never know, if the Thermals come tweeting about needing some Furbies from the Mile High City and you've got one, you just may score a spot on the guest list for their show tonight at the Bluebird with the Coathangers. Or even better, put that medical marijuana card of yours to use and bring the band a Furby and some weed. We recently spoke with Hutch Harris to get the scoop on the whole Furby fever.
What spawned the "Furby mania?"
Hutch Harris: The first day we were out on tour, after being in the van for, like, a half an hour, we were already bored. Out of nowhere, I thought, "I really want a Furby!" Kathy [Foster] and I had a friend in Portland who had a one, and we just thought it was fucking hilarious. We're obsessed with '80s and '90s pop culture -- we love Gallaga, we love Alf, we love pop music from those eras. We're total pop culture addicts.
So on previous tours, when we had run out of weed, we would just tweet, "bring us some weed and we'll put you on the guest list." We ended up with a bunch of weed, so we tweeted "Bring us a Furby," and people came with Furbies -- we ended up with like, eight of them. Now we're back to weed, because we're out of weed, and well, Furbies are really fucking annoying. They all wake up and start talking to each other. The first week had them, we played with them all the time and they would not shut up. Now we just try to put the Furbies to sleep and not touch them so they stay quiet.
What do you think is the source of Furbies for people? Do Thermals' fans just have them lying around?
The first one we got was from this kid in Minneapolis, and it was his mom's. She was a collector. The Furby was brand new, still in the box. It was awesome! The other ones given to us weren't new, so they could talk to each other--Furbies can also get sick and get each other sick, and then they sneeze and cough a lot. It's disgusting.
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Do you plan on keeping the Furbies?
I gave one away to this girl at a show in New Orleans because she was just going so crazy for them! Everyone has their own favorite Furby -- Jamie, who drives us around on tour has one, I have one, Kathy has one--and we'll definitely give more away. We're on tour with The Coathangers right now and they're afraid of them. I think I'm going to hide a bunch of Furbies in their van.
Outside of Furby fever, do you think Twitter has changed your relationship to your fans?
It has brought us all closer, for sure. We're really into re-tweeting what is tweeted at us, and replying because it really engages people. There are so many long drives on this tour, and Twitter is something fun to do to pass the time. This way we get to meet our fans too, because they bring us funny shit, and we put them on the list. Everybody wins.