Watch Flaming Lips and Miley Cyrus do their “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” cover at the Billboard Music Awards
Much as we’re loathe to admit it, collaborating with Miley Cyrus was probably a pretty smart career move for Wayne Coyne and his ragtag band of psych-rockers, the Flaming Lips. On their own, the Lips have pretty much a zero percent chance of getting invited to perform on any nationally televised awards show these days—but with Miley in tow, they’re not only invited to the party, they’re given full permission to let their freak flags fly. Their appearance on last night’s Billboard Music Awards (video below) would have been the talk of the Interweb today, had the entire awards show not been upstaged by that stupid Michael Jackson hologram.
Wayne and Miley were decked out in warpaint, feathers and tinsel (including, in Coyne’s case, a tinsel codpiece) to perform their cover of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” which the Lips recently announced is but one track of a forthcoming Sgt. Pepper tribute album called With a Little Help From My Fwends. Shrewdly, they began taking pre-orders for the album last night, even though it’s not due out until October. I wonder how many hyperventilating Miley fans have already pre-ordered their copy, blissfully unaware that most of the record will be old dudes like Coyne and Moby doing weird Beatles songs they never heard of?
With a Little Help From My Fwends is due out Oct. 28th on Warner Bros. Records. A portion of the record’s profits will go towards the Bella Foundation, which helps elderly, low-income and terminally ill pet owners pay their vet bills. So every time we make fun of this project in the months ahead—and my guess is we’ll make fun of it A LOT—a portion of us will feel like assholes for doing so.
In other Lips news: Coyne recently fired the band’s longtime second drummer, Kliph Scurlock, prompting Scurlock to write a long letter to Pitchfork accusing Coyne of, among other things, “endless verbal (with threats of physical) abuse.” (You can read the entire letter here, if you’re so inclined.) While it’s hard to say how many of Scurlock’s accusations are true, it’s definitely true that Coyne chose to respond in the douchiest way possible, by giving a lengthy interview to Rolling Stone in which he repeatedly describes Scurlock—who was with the band for 12 years—as hateful, immature and uncreative. “Anybody that knows him knows what a hateful pathological liar he is,” he says, before adding, moments later, “But I don’t even want to speak about the hate, you know. I don’t have any hate for him.”
Well, we don’t have any hate for you either, Wayne. But I gotta be honest. Between the Rolling Stone interview and that moment at the Billboard Music Awards where you kissed Miley’s feet—we’re a little worried about you. Maybe take a little hiatus after this Beatles album, yeah? You seem like you could use some R&R.
I threw up three times while writing this headline: Flaming Lips and Miley Cyrus are collaborating on a Beatles cover
Why, Wayne, why? Are you having a midlife crisis? Are you just trying fuck with us? What is the deal with all the shitty pop collaborations of late? It wasn’t bad enough you did a song with Ke$ha, now you have to team up with Miley fucking Cyrus?
Actually, the very notion of Miley/Flaming Lips collab is so perverse, it just might work. In a way, it already has; the Lips joined Miley onstage at the Tulsa, Oklahoma stop of her current “Bangerz” tour to perform “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots,” and much as we hate to admit, it didn’t actually suck (video proof below). But they’ve also been up to no good in the studio, and that’s where the story takes a really scary turn: They’re teaming up with one of the guys from MGMT to do a Beatles cover. And not just any Beatles cover: They’re doing “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.” I think I speak for all Beatles fans when I say this has all the makings of a sacrilege on par with Katy Perry’s recent butchering of “Yesterday.”
But hell, what do I know? The Lips minus Miley are actually the perfect band to give “Lucy” an appropriately trippy interpretation. So maybe they can tame The Tongue long enough to get a decent vocal take out of her.
Then again, this recent post to Wayne Coyne’s Instagram account, accompanied by the caption, “Miley in the studio vomiting diamonds while singing Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds!!”, does not fill us with hopeful anticipation:
On a brighter note: Here’s that video of adoring Miley Cyrus fans cheering Wayne and Miley’s rendition of “Yoshimi.” Some of them even pelted Wayne with their bras. I believe in midlife crisis terms, that’s known as “Unlocking the Tom Jones Achievement Badge.”
If you left any Flaming Lips fans off your Christmas list, there’s still time to get them a cool stocking stuffer: a blue seven-inch vinyl release of the band’s second demo from way back in 1983, when they were just another scruffy post-punk college-rock band with a shouty lead singer (Wayne Coyne’s brother Mark, who left the group in 1985). The untitled four-song demo was originally recorded on cassette tape and has never been previously released to the public. Only 2,000 copies of the blue vinyl were released, all on Dec. 24th to independent record stores. Our friends over at The Future Heart have diligently assembled a list, via Twitter, of which stores still had copies left as of yesterday. There are also apparently still some copies of the Lips’ first EP floating around green vinyl, as well.
Wanna listen before you buy? Of course you do. It’s an on-demand world. So here, feast your ears on what the press release aptly describes as the Lips’ early “primitive shambolic drug-damaged punk-pop.” These first two tracks are called “The Flaming Lips Theme Song 1983″ and “The Future Is Gone”:
And here’s “Underground Pharmacist” and “Real Fast Words.” Dig that walking bassline from Michael Ivins.
Well, we sat out Comic-Con again this year. I haven’t been too heavily into nerd culture since the ’80s and Jake’s afraid of crowds (although when he heard there was a Breaking Bad panel, he almost downed half a bottle of Xanax and went anyway). But it turns out we missed out on more than just a chance to conquer Jake’s agoraphobia and ogle cute nerd girls in Catwoman suits. We also missed out on a chance to buy Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne’s first-ever comic book! (Except we didn’t, because it’s still available online. But it debuted at Comic-Con, so anyone who bought it there definitely has nerd bragging rights over the rest of us.)
Wayne’s been on a bit of a naked kick lately, so it should come as no surprise that The Sun Is Sick gets the nudity (and giant eyeballs, another running theme of his of late) rolling right on the cover. Inside, readers can expect to find 40 psychedelic pages illustrated by Coyne himself, telling the trippy tale of a blind princess who gives birth to, well, a giant eyeball. Hilarity ensues!
Lest the cover art and Coyne’s boundary-pushing reputation not be enough to clue you in, the press release helpfully notes: “WARNING!! The Sun Is Sick may be a comic book but make no mistake; this is not suitable for children and depending on what sort of person you are, it may not be suitable for some of you non-children either. If you have doubts at this moment then The Sun Is Sick is not for you.” Okay, press release writer person, you’ve convinced us. We’ll go back to our Nancy Drew mags.
If you want to learn more about The Sun Is Sick, may we direct your attention to this interview Coyne recently gave with The Huffington Post, which also includes a peek at some of Coyne’s child-like yet evocative drawings, which feature aliens tripping balls on some kind of blue goo called Virgo 2151. (Now sure to be the nickname of at least some of the LSD circulating at Bonnaroo 2014.)
That Wayne Coyne’s a busy guy; in addition to releasing comic books, he’s still on an extended tour with the Lips, promoting their latest album, The Terror. Dates after the jump; meanwhile, here’s the latest video from The Terror, for the harrowing (or patience-testing, depending on your point of view) track, “Turning Violent,” on which Coyne takes a much-deserved breather and hands over most of the vocal duties to Steven Drozd.
Flaming Lips summer/fall tour dates:
07/25 Salt Lake City, UT – Twilight Concert Series, Pioneer Park
07/27 Troutdale, OR – McMenamins Edgefield
07/28 Seattle, WA – Capitol Hill Block Party
07/30 Reno, NV – Grand Sierra Resort & Casino
07/31 Costa Mesa, CA – The Pacific Amphitheatre
08/01 Las Vegas, NV – Bud Light Music First, House of Blues
08/17 Omaha, NE – Maha Maha Festival
09/06 Isle Of Wight, UK – Bestival
09/07 Stekene, Belgium – Crammerock Festival
09/30 Boston, MA – Agganis Arena (w/ Tame Impala)
10/01 New York, NY – Terminal 5 (w/ Tame Impala)
10/02 New York, NY – Terminal 5 (w/ Tame Impala)
10/03 Philadelphia, PA – Penn’s Landing, Festival Pier (w/ Tame Impala)
10/04 Columbia, MD – Merriweather Post Pavilion (w/ Tame Impala)
10/21 Tokyo, Japan – Blitz
10/22 Tokyo, Japan – Blitz
10/23 Osaka, Japan – Hatch
10/24 Nagoya, Japan – Club Diamond Hall
You know how the last Flaming Lips video, for “Ashes in the Air,” featured an alien with an eyeball for a head and lots of dead naked people? Well, their latest clip features no aliens or death, but it’s pretty much just one big ol’ nakedfest. It’s for “You Lust,” a 13-minute epic of their latest album, The Terror. Thankfully it’s been edited down to more like four minutes for the video, because four minutes is about as much flaccid penis close-ups as I can stand. Watch and you’ll see what I mean. (Heads-up: NSFW on account of it being a nakedfest and all.)
Even though it features an alien with a giant eyeball for a head, a baby with a man’s face, and lots of blood-soaked naked people huddled around mutilated corpses, the most perverse thing about the new Flaming Lips video might be that it’s for a song that isn’t even on their latest album, The Terror, which comes out this month. Instead, it’s a fan favorite from last year’s collaborative album, The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends, featuring folkie falsetto hero Bon Iver on vocals. Has no one explained promotion to these people? (I’m kidding, of course: head Lip Wayne Coyne might be the shrewdest self-promoter of any artist we’ve ever covered.)
In another perverse move, the Lips’ label, Warner Bros., has decided to release The Terror in the U.K. on April 1st but delay its Stateside arrival until April 16th. Why, Warner Bros., why? It’s like you’re daring us to illegally download it. (I’m kidding, of course: We here at TWBITW do not condone online piracy or illegal sharing of copyrighted material in any form. Stay in school, kids!)
Anyway, here’s “Ashes in the Air” in all its bizarro glory. I’ll resist the urge to give away the surprise ending, but I will say this: If you’re easily grossed out, you should totally post a video of yourself watching it.
Sorry, the Flaming Lips Anatomically Correct Chocolate Heart is sold out. Your Valentine will hate you now.
If you’re like us, you probably have a tendency to procrastinate before Valentine’s Day, then freak the fuck out on Feb. 11th when you realize that every restaurant in town is booked up and you’ll be taking your wife to In-N-Out Burger (again). So it’s no surprise that we totally missed the boat last week on telling you about this crazy anatomically correct, limited-edition chocolate heart the Flaming Lips released via Oklahoma-based gift shop Dwelling Spaces. We’re a little slow sometimes.
Made by a chocolatier from Texas called Dude, Sweet Chocolate, the “Flaming Lips Chocolate Human Heart” is made from “72% South American dark chocolate studded with hazelnut mini whoppers and waffle cone crunch” and contains a USB drive featuring various Flaming Lips love songs, including such baby-making classics as “Love Is Mind Control” and “Moth in the Incubator” (and yes, clearly they’re defining the term “love songs” a bit loosely here).
Sounds pretty awesome, right? Well, apparently it was so awesome that it sold out almost instantly. Sorry, kids. How about some In-N-Out instead? You have to admit, it’s a pretty romantic name for a burger joint.
In other Lips news, their new album The Terror arrives April 2nd. No word yet on what Wayne Coyne will encase it in, but you can bet it will be something delicious and/or disgusting.
Has it really been five months since we first reported that the Flaming Lips were gearing up to release The Terror, their 13th studio album and first “proper” album (if that even means anything anymore) since 2009’s Embryonic? My how time flies when you’re eating paint chips and going to GWAR concerts.
Anyway, after some overly optimistic speculation from irresponsible music bloggers (us included) that The Terror might see the light of day as early as last December, we now have it on good authority (Warner Bros., the Lips’ label) that the nine-track set will finally arrive on April 2nd. We just previewed the whole album earlier today (“already?” you ask—yep, we’re fancy) and are happy to report that it’s far and away the weirdest, darkest shit Wayne Coyne and co. have recorded since Zaireeka, not counting any of that 24-hour-song nonsense they were churning out awhile back. Here’s the full tracklist:
1. Look…The Sun Is Rising
2. Be Free, A Way
3. Try To Explain
4. You Lust
5. The Terror
6. You Are Alone
7. Butterfly, How Long It Takes To Die
8. Turning Violent
9. Always There…In Our Hearts
We’ll have a full review closer to the actual release date. We wouldn’t want to give away too much before then.
P.S. Apparently, if you pre-order The Terror on iTunes, you instantly get a non-album bonus track called “Sun Blows Up Today.” Here’s a lyric video for the track that just debuted today. Warning: Nothing on The Terror is this catchy. Or this apocalyptic. I almost resisted the urge to describe this song as “catchalyptic” but…no, I went ahead and did it.
As if the Flaming Lips haven’t had a busy enough 2012: Next week, the five-years-in-the-making stage musical adaptation of their classic 2002 album, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, is finally set to debut at La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego. It’s being directed and co-written (along with Wayne Coyne) by Des McAnuff, the guy who brought The Who’s Tommy to life at La Jolla back in 1992. McAnuff’s Tommy eventually ran for two years on Broadway, so a Flaming Lips musical on the Great White Way isn’t as crazy as it sounds. It might even be pretty good, given McAnuff’s track record. Then again, he also directed Jersey Boys.
In other Lips news: The band’s next studio album, The Terror, is now tentatively set to come out in January of 2013. Originally, it sounded like Wayne and co. really wanted out the album out before Christmas, but maybe they finally decided they’ve done enough for one calendar year.
Yoshimi runs Nov. 6 through Dec. 16; tickets and more info available here. Judging from this behind-the-scenes video, it should feature at least one awesome 14-foot-tall robot and a few not-quite-so-awesome flying ones.