The Both: The Newly-Formed-Band-Game

May 8, 2014
Originally published on October 2, 2014 9:49 am

Musicians Aimee Mann and Ted Leo play together as The Both, but how well do these new bandmates know each other's quirks? To find out, we quiz them in the style of The Newlywed Game, where each must figure out how the other would answer questions such as "What's the worst piece of clothing you brought on tour?" and "What one item would you rescue from your burning house?"

Plus, hear a live version of "No Sir," from the duo's eponymous debut album as The Both.

Heard in Episode 316: Meet Me In Milwaukee

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Let's welcome back our very important puzzlers, Aimee Mann and Ted Leo.


EISENBERG: Now from what I've just experienced, talking to you guys and what I've also watched some of the clips of you guys working together on stage, you have great chemistry, you've fun banter with each other. Yeah. It's like I feel like you've known each other for a very long time. And I know you talked about going together, but when did you first, first meet?

TED LEO: I think we first actually met on a radio show on a station called WFMU in Jersey City.



LEO: Yeah. And Aimee, being in LA, me being in New York, we would see each other infrequently, but get, I don't know, lunch every now and then, or whatever.

AIMEE MANN: Being on tour really helps kind of accelerate your knowledge of a person, riding in the same bus. And also, you know, there is like the punch drunk aspect of touring.

EISENBERG: Too many hours. Yeah.

A lot of dumb end jokes that nobody wants to hear.


EISENBERG: OK. So we have a little ASK ME ANOTHER challenge planned for you guys. Are you up for it?

MANN: Terrified.



EISENBERG: So we have established that you guys get along famously, and that when you become songwriting partners and travel with someone, like you said, you get to know them pretty quickly and maybe even learn things about each other that you never wanted to know. Who knows?


EISENBERG: So we thought we'd pit you guys against each other in a game we're calling The Newly Formed Band Game. So before the show, we asked you each a few random questions and your job is to guess how the other person answered.

LEO: Ugh.

MANN: Ugh. This can't be good.


EISENBERG: So Ted, we're going to start with you.


EISENBERG: And you have to tell us how Aimee responded. Here's your first question. Who did Aimee say had better hair, you or Aimee?

LEO: Aimee, I'm going to say Aimee said Aimee has better hair.

EISENBERG: Aimee, what did you say?

MANN: Look, anyone who spends as much time with a curling iron as I do really ought to have the better hair.

LEO: All right.

MANN: So I said it was me.



LEO: Yeah. I tend to - I've been cutting my own hair with an electric razor since like 1983. So what you're seeing right now when it actually has to do something on my head is rare, and even this is just like, eh, phhh...


LEO: And so, yeah.


EISENBERG: You're so lucky. Ted, we asked Aimee, if your house was on fire what is the one thing you would run in to save, not including pets or people?

LEO: My guitar.

EISENBERG: Oh, no, no. Not what you would save. What would she save.

LEO: But what she save?


LEO: My guitar. No.


LEO: Without it we would not have met. No. What would you say, not including pets or people.


LEO: Your paintings.




LEO: Aimee is an accomplished painter. A lot of people don't know that.

EISENBERG: Good answer.

MANN: I don't agree with that.


MANN: I said something just completely stupid because I don't know why. My pair of leather shorts that I wear on stage.


MANN: Because I was like well, my house is burnt up, I'm going to be on tour and I'm really going to need those leather shorts to play that gig.

LEO: I'm not saying they don't look good, but that's a priority that I think you might want to, you know, reconsider.

MANN: You're probably right.


EISENBERG: Ted, is Aimee were a type of salad dressing, what kind of salad dressing would she be? A balsamic vinaigrette, a blue cheese or a green goddess? What kind of salad dressing...

LEO: First of all, thank you for making this multiple choice so I wouldn't have to come up with something.

EISENBERG: No problem. Yeah. Go. Any dressing.

LEO: Hmm. You know, my brain is telling me to say green goddess but my taste buds are seeing balsamic vinaigrette.

EISENBERG: Interesting.


MANN: Look, green goddess, it's aspirational.


MANN: But I got to...

LEO: I was half right.

MANN: Yeah.

EISENBERG: I heard a little what is wrong with you, Ted, in that answer, by the way.


MANN: Obviously, green goddess.

LEO: You're right, I'm chastened, duly.

EISENBERG: And finally, Ted, we asked Aimee what is the most unattractive piece of clothing that you, Ted, where on stage?

LEO: Wow.

EISENBERG: What do you think she answered?

MANN: I forgot about this one.


LEO: Is this something that I'm currently wearing on stage?




MANN: In fact, I'm not entirely sure you have worn it, but I know it's in the current on-deck touring wardrobe. But I can't remember if it's actually been on stage or just backstage.

LEO: With this being like kind of like silken kung fu Nehru-collared shirt jacket kind of thing?


MANN: I forgot about that.

EISENBERG: Yeah, that sounds terrible.


MANN: No, that one's pretty bad too.

EISENBERG: I know. I know what the answer is and I was like whoa, Jesus.

LEO: Wow.

EISENBERG: Ted, what do you have?

LEO: OK. Can I get another guess? Can I go again?

EISENBERG: Yeah. Sure. Why not?

LEO: Would this be a hat that I used to wear onstage a lot?


MANN: No. No. Totally forgot about that one too.

LEO: Really?

MANN: No. Turns out.


EISENBERG: I think that's...

LEO: Oh.


LEO: It has to be my leopard print cardigan.

MANN: I call it giraffe print, but yes.

LEO: Wow.

MANN: I think it's - yes.

LEO: My animal print cardigan.


LEO: Just for that...

MANN: I'm still on the fence. I'm still on the fence.

LEO:'s coming out. It's coming out.

MANN: It's either great or really not great. I haven't decided yet.

EISENBERG: It's clearly a giraffe print, by the way. But when you bought it you were like, cool, leopard print. But it's giraffe.



EISENBERG: All right, Ted, good round.

LEO: Thanks.

EISENBERG: Got a few right. Look at you. But coming up after the break, we're going to turn the tables and put Aimee in the puzzle hot seat, so stay tuned. This is NPR's ASK ME ANOTHER.



EISENBERG: Welcome back to ASK ME ANOTHER, NPR and WNYC's hour of trivia, puzzles and word games. I'm Ophira Eisenberg and we are here with our very important puzzlers, Aimee Mann and Ted Leo.


EISENBERG: So we're in around two of what we're calling The Newly Formed Band Game. Before the break Ted peered into Aimee's soul and got some questions right, was great. And now they're going to switch places. Aimee, you're going to have to guess how Ted responded and Jonathon Colton is going to be giving you the clues.

MANN: Let's do this thing.

JONATHAN COULTON: Are you ready? OK. Aimee, we asked Ted who spends more time checking their smartphone? What did he say?



MANN: Ted is kind of a smartphone wizard. I've never seen anybody text as fast or tweet as fast or have such a ready hand with the emo-gees, so I feel like...


MANN: I feel like square goes to Ted.

COULTON: Well, Ted, is that what you said or no, you didn't?

LEO: No, I did not.


MANN: How dare you.


LEO: I think if I can say it's perhaps the speed differential that made me answer that you actually spend more time on your, on your smartphone.


EISENBERG: Oh, I get it.

COULTON: Oh, you're just saying - if I can just mediate this dispute.

LEO: Please.

COULTON: Ted, it sounds like you're saying that you're a more efficient smartphone user. Even though you might accomplish more on the smartphone, she's so slow at using the smartphone.

MANN: Yeah, that's what I'm hearing. I'm hearing a slow...

LEO: I'm saying nothing of the above. What you're hearing is, you know, you hear what you need to hear.

EISENBERG: To be fair though, if you are texting like cupcake, heart, horse with these emo-gees, it is fast.

LEO: Well, I put a lot more thought into it than just random, you know, each emo-gee takes some thought.

MANN: His emo-gee selection is pretty, yeah, is pretty thoughtful.

LEO: You're no emo-gee slouch either. I mean let's not, you know.

MANN: We have a lot of conversations about what emo-gees are lacking from the emo-gee array.

LEO: Yeah. There are a number that are like...

MANN: There's no garbage can.

LEO: There's no garbage can. There is no (unintelligible).

MANN: There's no iron and there's no hose, which believe me, for some reason we...

LEO: Yeah. For some reason...

COULTON: Comes up a lot.

MANN: Feels like we, yeah.

COULTON: Comes up a lot.

LEO: Why is there not a hose spraying something? Yeah.


COULTON: All right. We asked Ted which of these breakfast cereals best describes your relationship with Aimee: Fiber One, Fruit Loops, or Kashi Heart to Heart?


MANN: I got to go with the Heart to Heart. It sounds oh, you're wincing. Not Heart to Heart? Come on.

LEO: Heart to Heart is a great choice. It fits very well.

MANN: We're bosom buddies. That's heart-to-hearty.

LEO: It was...

MANN: You're a vegan.

LEO: It was true.

MANN: There's and there's healthy grains in that.

LEO: It's all true.

MANN: My god.

LEO: It was a tough choice. One of the things we didn't discuss is, you know, staking out that bathroom time and I went with Fiber One.


MANN: Oh, my god.


MANN: Oh my god.

LEO: I'm - it's - I'm sorry. I just, you know...

MANN: That is the dumbest answer anyone could give to any question.


MANN: Staking out bathroom time. What kind of impression are you giving these people about what goes on on the tour?

LEO: I'm warning them of what they're getting into.

MANN: Oh my Lord.

COULTON: It sounds like a...

LEO: When they start bands they need to know these things.

MANN: This is very unflattering.

COULTON: It sounds like a real fun tour. I really...


COULTON: All right, Aimee, what did Ted say was his go to karaoke song.

MANN: Oh, you actually sing karaoke. It's OK, not Rush because that would be too complicated. Possibly a Queen song. Or wait a minute, "Winner Takes It All?" No.

LEO: No, but now you've given me some ideas...

MANN: Abba?

LEO: ...for some new ones. Its' going to be Abba from here on out.

MANN: Oh, oh my god. It's that "Torn."

COULTON: You got it.

MANN: Oh my god.


MANN: I can't believe I remember that.

LEO: Natalie Imbruglia. Yes.

COULTON: Natalie Imbruglia. "Torn." Yeah.


COULTON: All right. Last one. We asked Ted to complete this sentence: I would kill for a blank right now.


EISENBERG: Fiber One is not a possible answer.

MANN: Yeah.


MANN: 'Cause that's where I'm going. Jameson's.

COULTON: Yes, that's correct.

MANN: What?

COULTON: Whiskey.

LEO: I said Whiskey. Yeah.

MANN: Whiskey. Yeah.


COULTON: Actually, technically, here on this piece of paper it says, except any hard alcohol.

MANN: Yeah.


COULTON: Which maybe is something that Ted does as well.


COULTON: Well, Art, that is the end of the questioning.


COULTON: Can you unravel for us who is victorious, if in indeed, there are any winners in this game?

ART CHUNG: I think we're all winners in this game.

COULTON: Sure. Sure.


CHUNG: I think Aimee came on strong and I think they tied.

EISENBERG: They tied.

COULTON: They tied.

CHUNG: They tied.


EISENBERG: All right. I guess that means you're both going to get a prize. You're both going to get our ASK ME ANOTHER anagram T-shirt. It is the perfect top to go with a giraffe print cardigan or leather shorts is beautiful. Thank you guys so much. And that is also on sale Let's hear it for our VIPs, Aimee Mann and Ted Leo.


MANN: One, two, three, four.


THE BOTH: (Singing) There's a shadow in the wings and you light until you sense and you plant it in the ground, till it all make a sound. No, sir. No, sir. All the helicopters fail. You feel it on your trail. You can hear it in his voice. You don't have a choice. No, sir. No, sir.

(Singing) Back on your story, sir. Are you worried, her mood's going to waver and change? Don't blame the world or the girl for what keeps you estranged. (Instrumental)

(Singing) There's a light nobody seen in a place you've never been. And it's fluid. When it turns into steam you walk through it. You've been waiting upstream, you'll get to it. There's a way in it's own. You won't make it there alone. No sir. No sir. No sir. No sir. Do, do, do, do, do, do, do. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.


MANN: Thank you.

EISENBERG: One more time, Aimee Mann and Ted Leo, everybody.

(APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.