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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne on Playing Noise Pop, Making The Soft Bulletin, and Feeling Free to Do Anything

Posted By on Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 3:00 AM

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Have you gone through that with any records since then? Do you feel a sort of similar emotional attachment or investment in other Flaming Lips records?

We'd always played some of The Soft Bulletin. And we've played "Do You Realize??" I think virtually every night since we've done it. But we still play "Do You Realize??" even at the end of The Soft Bulletin shows. And you know, I think part of your mind says, 'Fuck, are we going play these songs forever?' And then when you get up there, it's such an emotional connection, I don't know. I never dread it, I'm really glad that it does the thing, it speaks for us even if we're not able to say those things ourselves.

As the Flaming Lips go, I think we're probably in a mark-three or four phase by now, even past The Soft Bulletin. But it probably marks the biggest cut in dimension. Like, 'If you saw the Flaming Lips a year ago, dude, you've gotta see them now, because they've fucking lost their minds.' Anything is possible now since The Soft Bulletin opened that up for us. We walk around and do things all the time and think, well, we can really just do anything now, it doesn't matter. And The Soft Bulletin did that. And its success did that, too. If it wouldn't have been successful, I think we would eventually have shrunk down to our cowardly selves that we were previous to that and said, 'We should go back and play loud guitars, no one likes us.' But because it was successful, you go, 'We were right! We climbed the mountain and we saw the great light at the top!' Whatever that is.

When you introduce "The Spiderbite Song," do you tell the original story or what actually happened? Do you tend to think of the events in the song as being the real story? [Note: The first verse of the "The Spiderbite Song" tells about drummer/multi-instrumentalist Steven Drozd getting what he initially thought was a near-fatal spider bite. After going to the hospital, taking a course of antibiotics -- and telling everyone he'd been bitten by a brown recluse -- Drozd discovered that the wound wasn't a spider bite at all. It was related to his injecting heroin.]

I think of what we were really thinking of at the time. Since I've known Steven, almost never a day goes by when you don't remember that he struggles with drugs and that's a part of the way that we all live. But I think during that time -- you have to remember this is a song that was originally intended to be in the parking lot experiment, it was just going to be this little thing that we only heard once. I never thought of it as a song that would encapsulate this little thing that happened to us. But I think that's part of the power of the song -- there is this optimism and this innocence and this love for each other that I think is the bigger story than our friend being horribly addicted to drugs.

So when I tell the story, no, I would say that he got a spider bite. And he did think that he got a spider bite. It wasn't like he made up this story. He went to the doctor thinking, 'Oh my God, what is this?' And probably half of his mind thought, 'It's probably not a spider bite, and so I'd better go.' But I don't remember. Sometimes I tell the story and it is simply about the spider bite and Michael's car accident and this accumulation of things that you're lucky enough that you can write a song about these things that are really happening. But I don't think I would ever put Steven on the spot like that.

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Ian S. Port

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