Still Alive Clarifications

By JoCo April 10, 2011

On Wednesday and Thursday I was in the studio working on a new recording of Still Alive for my new album. John Flansburgh was tweeting up a storm while all that was going on, and some of the actual facts got all crazied up by the internet. I kind of like to watch that stuff happen, it means that people are super excited (as am I) about the new album, about Portal 2, about John Flansburgh, about theremins, etc. But I feel the need to state some facts that are true. Ready for true facts?

The new album will probably come out this Summer, not in 2013 as John Flansburgh joked on Twitter. I don’t have a precise date yet, but we’re nearly done. Really.

The new version of “Still Alive” is not for Portal 2, or for Portal 3, it’s just another song that will probably go on my record. Portal 2 is being released in a matter of days, and all jokes about Valve time aside, they’re not THAT behind schedule. Portal 3 isn’t on anyone’s radar as far as I know.

I did write a song for Portal 2, a new song, and you’ll have to wait until you get the game to hear anything else about it.

The collaboration on this new version is NOT with They Might Be Giants, though I admit that part is confusing because Flansburgh tweets using the @TMBG account. But only Flansburgh is producing my record, and of the two Johns, he is the only one involved in this new version of Still Alive. Also confusing, Flansburgh snapped this photo of me and John Linnell and Joe McGinty (who DOES play on the new version of Still Alive) in the studio. I’m recording in the same studio TMBG is recording in, so I arrived when Mr. Linnell was leaving (he insists on me calling him “Mr. Linnell <--joke). New version of Still Alive includes: Marty Beller on drums, Chris Anderson on bass guitar, me on some things, Sara Quin of Tegan and Sara singing the lead vocal, Joe McGinty of Loser’s Lounge (and, like, everywhere else) playing keyboardy things, and Dorit Chrysler on the new theremin introduction I wrote. I have to say, it’s incredible to be working with all these talented people, and it’s really fun to take this song that’s been kicking around in my repertoire for so long and breathe some new life into it. I hope you will like it as much as I do. We also shot a video while we were recording, so we’ll see what happens with that.

I hope that sets the record straight. Now, back to work on this John Hodgman one man musical about lobsters.


Sara says

I hadn't encountered most of these rumours, but I can see why they exist. You didn't address the one Flansbugh "fact" that piqued my interest, though: video?

Doc Nielsen says

Looking forward to hearing it, John. I love it whenever an artist feels like releasing a new version of a song, improved or just different :)

Jimmy Richards says

I don't suppose that's Chris Anderson of Long Tail/Wired fame on bass? Cause that would be boss!

Copland says

JoCopedia has been updated accordingly.
I'm really looking forward to this album.

Blue Canary says

Please tell me that this is in response to that ABSURD article that got posted on MTV's site yesterday?! I have never read an article with so many factual errors in my entire life. They didn't even get half the names right.

I've been enjoying the from-the-studio updates on Twitter immensely and I hope the confusion doesn't mean they are going to stop. Can't wait to hear the finished product on the re-record of Still Alive and of course the rest of the album!

JoCo says

@Sara: Right, good point. We shot some video in the studio as well, which hopefully will get edited into something cool for later, or sooner.

Donald Chappell says

I know the Hodgman musical is fake... but you could make a good sized audience with that.

srdownie says

First you made me buy a ukulele. ("An ukulele" does not sound right. Then again, I'm not a native Hawaiian/Hawai'ian.)
Then you made me start taking guitar lessons after a refreshing 25-year break.
And now I've got to dig out my Etherwave Theremin and start practicing it too?
Being a fan of yours is a hell of a lot of work!

Samuel "Iron Curtain" Abram says

Does Valve still own the copyright for "Still Alive", even for the new version (because the first one was in Portal)?

Name says

But what kind of lobster? Hopefully not the fake crustaceous one that still roams the oceans.

Joey says

Please deliver on this Hodgman lobster musical. That would be the best thing ever.

On a serious note, I'm excited to see what you've got in stores for us around the corner!

Jeremy Warren says

Can't wait for the new album, Jonathan! Make sure to include a song about ninja zombies from the future or what-not!

SSteve says

Is Dorit playing the polyphonic theremin? Or does that model only play "Stairway to Heaven?"

Raffi says

If there isn't a song about ninjas in that new album I will be disappointed.
(just kidding - but I still want a song about ninjas)

Lawrence says

Hey JoCo

Could the album cover of artificial heart be like a less then 3 on a black background with the album name top left and Jonathan Coulton bottom right?
i could make it if you want.


Patrick says

I would be there opening night for the Hodgman Lobster Musical - and every night thereafter. Make it happen, JoCo! You know it would be a hit... especially if you dressed Hodgman as a Furry Old Lobster, to show their plight of being attacked by the New Lobsters. I can see it now... (because, in an unfortunate irony, they are not Still Alive)

JessN says

"True" facts are overrated.


Marshall says

Yay for theremin! It actually made me flash back Jeff Beck's cover of Jeff Buckley's "Lilac Wine"; two Jeffs for the price of one! (yes, it's not a theremin in that case, but Beck can sure make his guitar sound a lot like one)

Can't wait for the new album. Hopefully you'll at least see fit to grace us with an early single to tide us over and keep us from going insane as we wait.

Lawrence says

My thoughts exactly.
Yay for digital distributions!!!!!

Rick says

Yes, but is it a rock lobster musical? (double pun!)

Julio says

I'm not sure what I'm more excited about: the new version of Still Alive, or Portal 2 itself.
I'm not gonna be able to get a computer for a while, so I probably won't be able to get either for a few months :(

When your new album comes out, I know that'll be the first thing I get. You know, along with all of your older stuff.

Cornholeo says

Just a bit confused... XD
GLaDOS said something about you crying here...
did she make you cry?

Bickle says

Please remind Mr. Linnell how awesome having your songs on Rock Band is, and how awesome it would be for their songs, especially with new macdaddy keyboard support in RBN 2.0 :)

Scott says

Fancy that, Tegan and Sara. Now, if you'd only come to Calgary...
I've seen you at PAX twice but only from a sizable distance!

Xenagogue says

The new song at the end credits of Portal 2 is nothing short of amazing. A welcome reward for the hours of gameplay to get there.
Brilliant game. Brilliant music. I couldn't ask for more... Well, I could. That would be greedy.

Angelica says

Based on your songs,
Jonathan Coulton, I think.. you are.. simple and amazing person !
Even maybe the truth is you are very complex person.
So are you a simple one or a complex one ?? :)

Best regards..

Rocker Man says

Hello Jonathan Coulton.
I've just finished Portal 2, and, really, you have done a GREAT work on the credit song !
You are a genius !

John Costello says

In January you said you were worried you would screw up the end credits to Portal 2. I just want to reassure you that from this fan's perspective "Want You Gone" is excellent. It compares really well to "Still Alive", and each song has its own pleasures. SA is more in-jokey and straight-up funny while WYG is bittersweet and has an awesome beat to it. I definitely felt it was a great reward for making it all the way through. Thanks.

Donald says

Hey Jonathan,

Been a fan of yours for many years now and just wanted to say that this song at the end of Portal 2 was simply amazing. Great work.

Kyriakos says

Thanks for Want You Gone man. :>
It's hard to meet expectations with a sequel to a successful song, but you did it