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Wayne Coyne Discusses New Flaming Lips Album, Bridge School

In Music
The Flaming Lips in Big Sur, September 2012. // Photo by Rachel Afraimi.

The Flaming Lips in Big Sur, September 2012. // Photo by Rachel Afraimi.

As the Flaming Lips approach their 30-year anniversary, it is impossible to guess just what they will do next. In the last year alone, they released Heady Fwends, an album of collaborations with everyone from Nick Cave to Bon Iver and kei$ha.

They released a 24-hour song that can be streamed on their website, broke Jay Z’s record for the most shows in 24 hours and continue to tour. As 2013 approaches, they are set to release their 13th studio album.

GIVEAWAY: Enter to win Bridge School Benefit tickets here.

“It is possibly the greatest record we have ever done,” says Lips frontman Wayne Coyne, by phone, as the band prepares to head to Shoreline for the Bridge School Benefit. He describes it as a collection of strange, somber, melodic, beautiful music. In the midst of everything else this year, Coyne says the band took breaks to just play music with no thought of what it would be. These “magic moments,” as he calls them, seemed to just pour out from some subconscious place, he says.

While the Lips seem to always be touring, Coyne says he prefers to constantly switch things up—recording new material, collaborating with other musicians, filming videos, etc. Last week, they were working on a commercial that will air during the Super Bowl. “I have a studio at my house, so I am able to wake up and do my thing each day,” says Coyne. It truly is a DIY operation—he stays connected to every project.

The band’s performance at Shoreline this weekend follows a Big Sur concert in September, where they debuted their new “Emerald City” stage in front of a crowd of about 300 people. Whether it’s a large-scale festival—the band has earned a reputation for mind-blowing live shows with performances at most major festivals—an intimate gig like Big Sur or the one-off show at Bridge School, Coyne says he believes it to be a collective experience between the band and audience. “Our audience encourages us to be ourselves,” he says.

Coyne remembers his own formative audience experiences, including seeing the Who in 1977, and wanting to be in a band ever since. More recently, he says, Radiohead blew him away at a show earlier this year.

As for the upcoming benefit, Coyne says he’s excited and honored to play at the benefit, which has hosted some of the biggest names in rock history. Special for this show, Reggie Watts will sit in with the Lips to showcase his beatboxing skills, and they hope to do a cover of the Beatles’ “A Day in the Life” with Neil Young.

More info on Bridge School.

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