Watch Flaming Lips and Miley Cyrus do their “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” cover at the Billboard Music Awards

Wayne Coyne
Wayne Coyne, contemplating his recent life decisions (Photo by George Salisbury)

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.

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I threw up three times while writing this headline: Flaming Lips and Miley Cyrus are collaborating on a Beatles cover

Miley Cyrus and Wayne Coyne

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:

Miley-Diamonds

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.”