The Flaming Lips (formed 1983)
The Flaming Lips is an American band from Oklahoma. The band is known for its psychedelic music, abstract lyrics and extravagant live shows.
The Flaming Lips: Formation & Early Career
The Flaming Lips' debut gig was at Oklahoma City's Blue Note Lounge, with Mark Coyne (Wayne's brother) on vocals and Michael Ivins on bass guitar. They eventually settled with Richard English on drums and in 1984, released The Flaming Lips. This was their only release to feature Mark Coyne on lead vocals.
After Mark left the band, Wayne took over the vocal duties. The band's first full-length release, Hear It Is, was released in 1986 on Pink Dust Records. This was followed up by Oh My Gawd!!! In 1987 and Telepathic Surgery in 1989.
In 1989, Jonathan Donahue (of Mercury Rev) joined the band and English was replaced on drums by Nathan Roberts.
Flaming Lips: Progression
In A Priest Driven Ambulance was recorded on a $10,000 budget and saw a development in the band's sound, to include tape loops and effects. It was also around this time that Wayne Coyne's vocal sound developed to a strained sound, similar to that of Neil Young.
In 1990, The Flaming Lips signed to Warner Brothers. Their first major label album, Hit to Death in the Future Head was released in 1992. Following the album's creation, Donahue left the band to concentrate on Mercury Rev and Roberts left the band as well. They were replaced by Ronald Jones and Steve Drozd.
Transmissions from the Satellite Heart was released in 1993. The single 'She Don't Use Jelly' was a huge hit for the band and The Flaming Lips opened tours for bands such as The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Candlebox.
Clouds Taste Metallic was released in 1995. Although it did not sell as well as Transmissions. the critics loved it. The constant touring proved too much for Ronald Jones, though and he left the band.
The band's next album, Zaireeka, released in 1997, was a dramatic departure, not only from their own style, but also from conventional ways of delivering modern rock music. The album was released as a set of four CDs, which were designed to be played together, simultaneously, on separate CD players.
In a return to more conventional formats, the band released The Soft Bulletin in 1999. The album is often compared to Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys, for its layered string arrangements and off-the-wall lyrics. Not ones to shy away from experimentation, The Flaming Lips hosted the 'Headphone Concert', whilst touring The Soft Bulletin. All guests were given a headset to wear at the concert and an FM transmitter allowed them to hear the concert with greater clarity, whilst still feeling the force of a large P.A. system.
In 2002, The Flaming Lips released Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. They earned a Grammy Award for 'Best Rock Instrumental Performance' for 'Approaching Pavonis Mons by Balloon (Utopia Planitia).'
The Flaming Lips appeared as Beck's backing band on his 'Sea Change' tour. The band went on to headline Lollapalooza in 2004, though the tour was eventually cancelled.
The Flaming Lip's 11th album was At War With the Mystics. Two singles were released from the album: 'The W.A.N.D.' and 'The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song'. The latter was the Flaming Lips' highest chart success in the UK, peaking at 16. Later in 2006, they released the four-track It Overtakes Me EP. The band repeated their Grammy win for Best Rock Instrumental Performance for 'The Wizard Turns On. The Giant Flashlight and Puts on His Werewolf Moccasins.'
In December 2006, Oklahoma City acknowledged the band's success by naming an alley in the entertainment district 'Flaming Lips Alley'.