AT WAR WITH THE DIPSHITS: Flaming Lips’ ‘Realize’ Voted Official Okie State Rock Song Despite Red Scare

flips3640_1.jpgGUARDIAN: The Flaming Lips’ 2002 song, Do You Realise?, will be named the “official state rock’n’roll song of Oklahoma”. And Wayne Coyne wants everyone to know that the band are not communists. “Some minority of religious wackos are trying to make it seem like [we have a communist] agenda, which we don’t,” Coyne told Rolling Stone. His comments came after two whirlwind months, when “Do You Realise?” was chosen as the state’s official rock song, rejected due to the band’s “communism”, then finally reinstated by governor Brad Henry. The saga began in early March, when 20,000 internet voters chose from between “Do You Realise?”, from 2002’s Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, and rivals tracks by All-American Rejects, Leon Russell and the Call. After Do You Realise? was chosen as the winner, Coyne commented, “People [said], ‘I didn’t think Oklahoma was that cool of a place!’‚ And I thought that was a pretty cool thing.” The online vote was ratified by the Oklahoma senate and Flaming Lips seemed set to enter the Sooner State’s history books. Until, that is … the T-shirt. Flaming Lips bassist Michael Ivins happens to own a red T-shirt with a hammer and sickle, symbols of communism. And he happened to wear this shirt on a visit to the state capital last month. And some members of Oklahoma’s house of representatives happened to notice. Livid, these anti-communist politicians rejected the song. “It’s really just a few religious wackos that think they can tell everybody what to do,” Coyne told Billboard. “It’s not even Democrats v Republicans. It’s just a couple of these small-minded guys who are the most popular in their church and their little towns. In some ways it’s so absurd, it can only make us look good and them look stupid.” “Honestly, it’s just a dumb shirt,” he continued. “We’re not communists.” Thankfully, Oklahoma governor Brad Henry seems to agree. Henry announced that he is vetoing the decision and will sign an executive order naming “Do You Realise?” as the state’s official rock song. MORE

THE FLAMING LIPS: Do You Realize?

Do You Realize Typography Experimentation from craigmclark on Vimeo.

WORTH REPEATING: Cosmic Americana

lips_mystics_cover.jpgTHE FLAMING LIPS
At War With The Mystics
(Warner Bros.)

Having become sentient in the mid-70s, somewhere in the middle of that that vast mountainous Pennsyltuckian backwoods between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, I had a front row seat to one of the places where the 60’s went to die: the hinterlands. While more cosmopolitan zip codes were sampling disco, cocaine, Members Only jackets and punk, all I could see growing up was ex-greaser shitkickers in dirty bellbottoms, Greg Brady haircuts, faded Dark Side of The Moon T-shirts with knocked-up girlfriends in peasant dresses billowing with pre-natal pulchritude, blasting Zep, Floyd and Yes in souped-up Camaros as they raced off to yet another keggar in the woods. I have it on good authority that the Flaming Lips grew up under similar circumstances in Oklahoma city. And much of their early career sounds like a band failing wonderfully to recreate their older brother’s classic rock album collection — without the pedigree, chops, major label magnanimity or luck of being at the right place at the right time that helped make so much of that music unforgettable. By the early 90s, they had discovered syrupy melody and radio-ready precision only complimented their appetite for noise and whimsy. By the late 90s, they had fully copped to their love of gatefold prog-rock, which was only then recovering a measure of respectability after years of punk’s libelous whispering campaign. By the 21st Century, the Lips had fully embraced electronica, J-pop and pumping house music, and ingeniously grafted the best elements of those musics onto their own tangerine dreams. They drove in this direction pretty much until the wheels came off  with a series of increasingly pointless re-mix EPs that finally wrung all the seemingly bottomless flava out of 2002’s uniformly excellent Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots. The new At War With The Mystics — how’s that for a zeitgeist-capturing title? — finds the Lips re-calibrating the ratios of clicks/buzzes/BPMs to classic hesher-rock, striking a balance that older rockist fans will find more pleasing all the while retaining the gravity-defying superpowers that point-and-click production techniques afford mere mortal guitar-bands. As such, At War With The Mystics should please all facets of the Lips surging constituency: the ex-ravers that have seen the light; indie-rockers in search of father figures; aging acid casualties still trying to go furthur; and the people that choose music for commercials. I’ll spare you the requisite adjective orgies about specific songs — the whole album is currently streaming over at flaminglips.com — but barring the occasional lapse into previously-chewed scenery, and the inclusion of the weak-ass “Mr. Ambulance Driver”, this is yet another reason to believe that the Flaming Lips’ psychedelic hot air balloon is still the most reliable transport to book when you wanna go somewhere over the rainbow. — JONATHAN VALANIA

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