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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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Bimbo's 365 Club is an intimate place. Should we expect the standard Flaming Lips mischief tonight, or will you have to pare it down?

We've thought about that, and that was part of the reason why we thought we would do [this show] -- because, 'Well, let's not even try to get all the junk in there.' When it's a little place, things like people's faces and watching people play their instruments and all that is just a lot more a part of the show. When we play these giant places where people in the back can't really tell who's onstage, you have to do bigger things that get everybody involved. Especially sometimes with The Soft Bulletin, we always struggle with how bombastic we want it to be. Sometimes it really is about the emotion. I think we'll have some stuff there, but I don't think we'll have everything, there's just no way it can fit. And frankly, I don't think it's appropriate.

Was it tough to bring The Soft Bulletin to the stage? I know you originally thought about bringing out live musicians to do the string parts but then decided to do some prerecorded arrangements.

Well, I decided mostly after seeing Brian Wilson. I think it was 1997 when he did this comeback tour. I went to see it, and I wasn't that impressed, but I would say the thing I knew from that show is that I didn't care how many musicians are up there trying to play as intricately as they could and as much like the record as they could. I'm just really not that interested in seeing a bunch of great musicians play the Beach Boys. I'm interested in Brian Wilson. So for me, I thought, well, we could get other musicians, but it doesn't really matter. That's not why the audience is going to come to see us. They're going to come see the Flaming Lips. We were like, 'Well, why don't we just take more crazy psychedelic toys, and we'll make that the show?' As opposed to watching a 33-year-old guy play keyboards, you could watch some naked woman jump around on a screen. If you ask me, I would pick the naked woman onscreen.

Part of it was that I really did worry that we were singing songs that are -- ["Feeling Yourself Disintegrate"] is not about suicide, but it evokes that to younger people. And I was already 35 years old or whatever, and I knew I was singing from an older dude's perspective, but I didn't really want this young audience to have to endure just that. I really wanted them to embrace this idea of life and living and fucking going for it. So part of the reason to do the confetti and the balloons and all that was to say that: 'Even though we're singing about death, I don't want you to go home and kill yourself. I want you to go home and say, fuck, anything is possible, life is beautiful.' Life is horrible, but life is beautiful, too. And so it was more important that we say that than, 'Listen to how well our friend can play the string parts on this.'

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