“For most of our musical life, we’ve kind of thought of ourselves as coming from ‘Earth,’ not really caring WHERE we were actually from,” Wayne Coyne says of his long-running Oklahoma psych-rock band The Flaming Lips. With the expansion of the Lips’ lineup and approach over recent years, that view has apparently changed and, according to Coyne, “for the first time in our musical life we began to think of ourselves as ‘AN AMERICAN BAND’… telling ourselves that it would be our identity for our next creative adventure. We had become a seven-piece ensemble and were beginning to feel more and more of a kinship with groups that have a lot of members in them… like The Grateful Dead and Parliament-Funkadelic, and how maybe we could embrace this new vibe.”
With that new ID in pocket, The Flaming Lips have cooked up their 21st studio album, American Head, which Warner Records will release Sept. 11. Of the thirteen dreamy, reflective, widescreen tracks, all produced by longtime confidant Dave Fridmann, two have been released in advance with accompanying music videos: “Flowers of Neptune 6” and “My Religion is You.” Country singer Kasey Musgraves guests on another one titled “God and the Policemen.”
“The music and songs that make up the American Head album are based in a feeling. A feeling that, I think, can only be expressed through music and songs,” Coyne continues. “We were, while creating it, trying to NOT hear it as songs… but to feel it. Mother’s sacrifice, Father’s intensity, Brother’s insanity, Sister’s rebellion… I can’t quite put it into words. Something switches and others (your brothers and sisters and mother and father…your pets) start to become more important to you… In the beginning there is only you… and your desires are all that you can care about… but… something switches… I think all of these songs are about that little switch.”
Photo by George Salisbury.