Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne Runs Down Some of His Favorite Beatles Songs
The Flaming Lips are nothing if not adventurous. From day one, they have been driven to strike their own path -- sometimes at the confusion of their fans and critics. The band's latest side step comes with the release of their interpretation of the Beatles' 1967 classic 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.' The Lips take on the entire album, remaking the milestone album in their own image, as much as possible.
"When you think about when they made it, in '67, it does set the sort of blueprint that becomes classic rock," he said about 'A Day In the Life,' calling it an "epic, strange, mind-f--k of a song," adding, "It's just such a motherf--ker, it's almost untouchable."
The Lips, however, did touch the song on their new album, and in doing so, were faced with just how to tackle it. The unlikely answer to that was to bring in Miley Cyrus to lend a hand, or a tongue. Purists will most certainly run and hide when they hear the interpretation.
Of the pre-Pepper single, 'Strawberry Fields Forever,' Coyne says, "John Lennon is just a motherf--ker. He does things that sound really simple, and he has this attitude where you know it's not about playing and perfection, it's about feeling. But it's not simple at all." He also notes the differences between Lennon's songs and Paul McCartney's. "Paul McCartney's compositions, they have a lot of storytelling, they have this kind of emotional arc. You can think, 'That s--t's sophisticated, I can't f--k with that.' But the John Lennon ones can trick you into thinking that they're simple. And then you get in there and he's f--king weird as f--k."
"That's another one where you know, you can walk around your whole life and think, 'I know that song,' and you get in there and it's like, 'What the f--k,'" he says of 'Revolution.' "John Lennon, he's just a very unique guitar player, and you forget that because he's John Lennon and you think he's a songwriter. You think of him sitting on the piano doing 'Imagine,' but he's so much richer and deeper than that."
On 'With a Little Help From My Fwends,' the Flaming Lips have come up with an LP that ranks among their most out there and weirdest yet. And that's saying a lot. Using the Fab Four's masterpiece as the template, they take the well known songs and twist them into oddly shaped little creatures, in the process making something that challenges the listener to either hate it, or fall in love with it.
The influence and impact of the Beatles still resonates 50 years and counting. "They were a group that was one way in the beginning -- they wore certain clothes and haircuts and were very much about popular music," Coyne adds. "They changed: Just a couple years later, they were doing what a lot people still say is some of the most radical music ever made."