The Flaming Lips have defied all the odds by not only staying productive for as long as they have, but by consistently upping their game as time passes.
That’s not to say that they haven’t had some missteps. While these weirdos from Oklahoma have amassed an impressive following over the years, you’d probably be hard-pressed to find a Lips fan who doesn’t dislike, if not outright hate, at least one of the band’s efforts.
But for every Flaming Lips song I can think of that I just don’t care for, there are a dozen songs that completely blow my mind every time I hear them. So even though I might feel the urge to break something every time I hear “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,” I always come back to “Convinced of the Hex,” or “Suddenly, Everything Has Changed” or “Slow Nerve Action,” and I wonder who these gods are that sit among us and make music.
So in that spirit, we’ve collected a smattering of facts you may or may not already know about the Flaming Lips. Test your knowledge below:
The Flaming Lips have been around for a long time — over 30 years, in fact. They formed way back in 1983.
Lead singer Wayne Coyne worked as a cook at a Long John Silver’s from 1977 until 1990.
Coyne and his coworkers were robbed at gunpoint there. This experience would shape his outlook on life. He talked about the experience in the Lips documentary, ‘The Fearless Freaks.’ He said, “[T]his is really how you die … one minute you’re just cooking up someone’s order of french fries and the next minute you’re laying on the floor and they blow your brains out. There’s no music, there’s no significance, it’s just random.”
During their ‘Music Against Brain Degeneration Revue’ tour in support of ‘The Soft Bulletin,’ the Flaming Lips used FM transmitters to broadcast a mix of the show to the audience to give the fans a better audio experience.
They’ve had more hit singles in the U.K. and throughout Europe than in the US.
The victim referenced in the first verse of the aptly titled “Spiderbite Song” from ‘The Soft Bulletin’ is Lips drummer/guitarist Steven Drozd. It was later discovered that his injury wasn’t actually a spider bite, but rather an abscess caused by heroin use.
Drozd honed his drumming skills playing in his father’s polka band as a child.
Steven Drozd is also one-half of a Neil Diamond-inspired duo called You In Me.
Former drummer Kliph Spurlock was inspired to play music by his mother, who was in the first all-female mariachi band.
Coyne likes to dress up for Halloween and scare children.
Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images
In 2002, the Lips went on tour with Beck, opening for him as well as serving as his backing band.
In 2011, the band released a song called “Two Blobs F—ing” via YouTube. It was presented as 12 different videos that have to be played at the same time.
Wayne Coyne connected with pop singer Miley Cyrus after she wished him a happy birthday via Twitter.
Miley Cyrus isn’t the first pop star the band has played with, and neither is Ke$ha. In 2003, Justin Timberlake sat in on bass with the Lips for a performance of “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” on British music show ‘Top of the Pops.’
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