Random Love on a Wednesday night…or Ode to the Flaming Lips (and Wayne Coyne)

I love the Flaming Lips and this love goes way back.

I remember hearing “She don’t use Jelly” on the radio, in 1994, when I was a freshman in high school. Knowing now that the guy with the orange hair was Wayne Coyne blows my mind a little now.

Wayne Coyne circa 2002 -ish

Years later, I asked a friend to make me a mixed tape (yup, a tape) of songs for me while I traveled and worked throughout Australia in 2001 because I was jonsing for personal music to listen to. To even imagine I could go four months without a personal listening device or my own music was simply silly. I mean, I grew up on music, especially after I discovering what an amazing music scene Portland had to offer! On that mixed tape were songs from The Soft Bulletin (1999) and Radiohead’s Kid A (2000). Oh, how those songs helped to define my time in that beautiful country and probably helped me fall in love with it too since whenever I hear the opening of “Race for the Prize” or “Waitin’ on a Superman” in its entirety makes me think of the warm sun and sandy beaches of SE Australia in the morning, or sometimes just Australia full stop.

And then Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots happened, oh boy! This has got to be my second favorite album thus far, even though I think that all of the albums (yes, even Zaireeka) from the 20th century are simply stunning. Do you realize is so massive to my husband and me that it was actually going to be our song, the one we danced our dance to at our wedding. This was a unanimous  decision until we learned that my husbands brother was killed in a freak car accident (our wedding was two months later) and we thought that the lyrics might not be the best thing for the family to hear – even though that was precisely the reason we wanted it to be our song in the first place, because we live so far from the family and friends we love so dearly and people just don’t hear that they are truly beautiful enough. Or that life is short, so it is important to treasure that which you have, because we all die – see, it would have been too soon!

Do You Realize – that you have the most beautiful face
Do You Realize – we’re floating in space –
Do You Realize – that happiness makes you cry
Do You Realize – that everyone you know someday will die

And instead of saying all of your goodbyes – let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It’s hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn’t go down
It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round

Do You Realize – Oh – Oh – Oh
Do You Realize – that everyone you know
Someday will die –

And instead of saying all of your goodbyes – let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It’s hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn’t go down
It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round

Do You Realize – that you have the most beautiful face
Do You Realize

-Wayne Coyne

Making the song our song was a unanimous  decision until we learned that my husbands brother was killed in a car accident (our wedding was two months later) and we thought that the lyrics might not be the best thing for the family to hear. Even though family was precisely the reason we wanted it to be our song in the first place. We live so far from the family and friends we love so dearly and people just don’t hear that they are truly beautiful enough. Or that life is short, so it is important to treasure that which you have, because we all die – see, it would have been too soon! So, you read the lyrics and see my point, but next watch the video:

Do You Realize?

It gives me goosebumps every time I listen to it. The video is visually poignant too, in my opinion, in its rather simple style. Coyne wrote the song for Steven Drozd, as he was kicking heroin while also dealing with the death of his father and also recording tracks for Yoshimi. While discussing the song, he once noted, “Whenever I analyze the scientific realities of what it means to be living here on Earth – in this galaxy – spinning around the sun – flying through space – a terror shock seizes me!!! I’m reminded once again of how precarious our whole existence is…” and I couldn’t agree more. The icing on the cake is that this song became the “Official state rock song” of Oklahoma in 2009.

Wayne Coyne and the Flaming Lips on the Colbert Report, 2009

I think their next album, At War with the Mystics (2006) is my patriotic-activism album because it is so on point with it’s messages, even more so than Yoshimi. There is just something about the guitar riffs mixed with Wayne’s lyrics and voice in this album that feed my soul, much like Led Zeppelin did when I first heard their work in middle school. This album gets me pump and I am forced to get off my butt when I hear songs from it as it is very well balanced regarding kick ass music accompanied by meaningful lyrics.

Never mind too that I love the band that much more the more that I learn about them. If I was independently wealthy, I might just spend my time volunteering and touring with the band, directly or even more likely, indirectly. I mean, Coyne and his wife Michelle Martin-Coyne live in the same neighborhood Wayne grew up in and are continuously improving on their “compound“, just take a look at the house the two have transformed together. Coyne was immortalized (like he needed help)  by Google Street view (me too!) Plus, they are constantly helping to make Oklahoma City a better place for the people that live there. After seeing them close the Saturday night of Sasquatch music festival in 2008, my husband smartly said, “No, we cannot take a road trip to Oklahoma because it would be the only reason we would go there. NO!” And I didn’t even ask in the first place, I think he could just see how high I was off that show. He did however buy tickets to a show in Seattle’s Marymoor Park and later in Portland, Oregon.

Not the best photos, especially next to that last one (that I wish I took), but still it proves I was there and so was he:

In fact, in September of 2009, the Flaming Lips came to Portland to film a video in Mt Tabor park. After a training, my friends, Tom and I all went up the old extinct volcano to look for their cameras only to realize they had finished hours earlier, oh my broken heart. You can see part of the process here and check out the bizarre (but perfectly Portland and the Flaming Lips) end product here: Watching the Planets.

For our last Christmas in Portland, my husband even bought me Christmas on Mars, I am glad (and appreciative that my husband is so supportive):

Oh how I love thee…but, I have always been a sucker for a kickin’ guitar and power drum combo.

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