A 'Giant' among us

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“I remember that he asked me to stay late one day after school,” Weinkauf recalled. “I thought I was in trouble. Turns out he needed a ride to Sam Ash to pick up some musical equipment.” The two became fast friends. “One night, when I was a junior in college, he asked me to fill in for his bass guitarist for a New Year’s Eve show that he and his brother were playing in,” Weinkauf recounted. “I wound up playing with them on and off, and I was also in a band while in college, on a somewhat professional level, every weekend. I never forgot that Barbarino was there at the beginning to give me that nudge.”

During his 13 years with They Might Be Giants, Weinkauf has performed throughout the U.S., Europe and Australia, appearing with the band on “The Tonight Show,” “Late Night” (with both Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon), “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart as well as on MTV, VH1, Blues Clues and the Disney Channel. Weinkauf has worked with other musicians as well, including the Grammy-nominated band Fountains of Wayne and Academy Award-nominated singer Mike Viola.

Weinkauf is also the founder of Red Pants Music. Under that label he has composed music for shows such as “Malcolm in the Middle,” “Sex and the City,” “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” “Resident Life,” “Jon and Kate + 8” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and for CBS Sports, ESPN, the History Channel, MTV, Travel Net, Food Net, National Geographic, DirecTV, the Disney Channel and others. Red Pants has also provided advertising tracks for products ranging from Mercedes Benz to All detergent.

When not on tour, Weinkauf lives in Lynbrook with his wife, Michelle, and their children, Kai, an eighth-grader at South Middle School, and Lena, a fifth-grader at Marion Street Elementary. “Kai is a very good singer himself,” Weinkauf said. “Better than me. He’s sung for me on jingles and TV spots.” Lena plays the drums, and both were All-County musicians this year. Said their proud father: “The Lynbrook schools have a good music program.”

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