Bard of weird

Flam­ing Lips band­leader Wayne Coyne on fate and free will.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Jonathan Zwickel

WHEN it comes to weird­ness, the Flam­ing Lips make Lady Gaga lookS like Gid­get. And if a Flam­ing Lips con­cert is the Great­est Show on Earth (it is), then band­leader Wayne Coyne is P.T. Bar­num, spiked with L. Ron Hub­bard, Jean-Paul Sartre, and your ju­nior-high cho­rus in­struc­tor. Flam­ing Lips con­certs yield the same re­sult ev­ery time: one of the most ec­static ex­pe­ri­ences in mod­ern pop cul­ture.

From the Mid­west­ern abyss of Ok­la­homa City, tour­ing end­lessly around the world, the group has en­dured al­most 30 years of alt-pop out­sider­ness. The band re­leased its 12th al­bum, Em­bry­onic, last Oc­to­ber to widely mixed re­views. Em­bry­onic was recorded dif­fer­ently than your last few al­bums. Well, yeah. And I’m not proud of that. You have to be­lieve, in as much as all your ex­pe­ri­ences tell you, that you know what you’re do­ing, oth­er­wise you don’t get into this thing far enough to be able to not have con­trol. I would say al­most ev­ery song on Em­bry­onic is not what we in­tended to do. We were try­ing to do other mu­sic with ev­ery­thing we had. I can say that hon­estly. The al­bum has a more or­ganic, im­pro­vi­sa­tional ap­proach. Like you re­lin­quished con­trol and let the process take over. Would you say that’s ac­cu­rate?

There’s this great Miles Davis song that says, ‘Think­ing one thing but do­ing an­other.’ And that is the truth – you re­ally have to be con­vinced that you’re do­ing this other thing to ac­tu­ally do the real thing. It sucks be­cause the more we know about it, the more we’re look­ing for the in­vis­i­ble re­al­ity. The in­vis­i­ble re­al­ity is in­vis­i­ble – you’ll never know it.

But that’s true in our lives as well. You have to have a plan. And so we Sounds like a ques­tion of fate ver­sus free will.

I to­tally agree. ... It’s like, when do you sur­ren­der and let the uni­verse take you, and when do you as­sert your­self and say no? That is the mother (ex­ple­tive). Free will is not any fun. We all want to be a slave to some­thing.

That’s why when I sing about, you know, ‘ We’re free to be slaves’ (on Sagit­tar­ius Sil­ver An­nounce­ment from Em­bry­onic), it’s al­most like: Pick. If you’re brave enough and have enough ex­pe­ri­ences, pick the thing that you want to sur­ren­der to and let that be the way your life went.

And I strug­gle with that a lot. I strug­gle with, do I wanna sur­ren­der to art? Ah, art is kinda bor­ing. Do I wanna sur­ren­der to just hav­ing a good time? I don’t know.

I wanna have a good time, and then I wanna do some art, and I wanna be se­ri­ous, and I wanna sleep and I wanna run all day. You don’t ever set­tle. – The Seat­tle Times/McClatchy-Tribune In­for­ma­tion n The Flam­ing Lips (with open­ing act The Raveonettes) play Sands Expo Hall E in Singapore on Nov 11. Tick­ets and info at www.sis­tic.com.sg.

Odd­ball de­light: Flam­ing Lips with enig­matic front­man Wayne Coyne (sec­ond

left) set to play Singapore on Nov 11.

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