A composition by local alternative rock stars The Flaming Lips is no longer the official state rock song, and while one legislator claims Republican Gov. Mary Fallin allowed the related executive order to lapse for political reasons, the band itself believes it was an oversight that will be rectified.
A spokesman for Fallin confirmed Friday the governor didn't renew an executive order proclaiming “Do You Realize??” the official rock song when she took office. Spokesman Alex Weintz said the governor had other priorities, and the order “did not make the cut.”
A new governor has 90 days after taking office to approve executive orders issued by the preceding governor. Fallin's predecessor — Democratic Gov. Brad Henry — signed an executive order proclaiming the tune Oklahoma's official rock song in 2009 after the Republican-controlled House rejected a resolution to do it.
At least one lawmaker had complained that Flaming Lips bassist Michael Ivins wore a T-shirt at the Capitol bearing a hammer and sickle, a symbol of communism.
The song was selected by the public in an online survey, over songs by Elvis Presley, Wanda Jackson, the All-American Rejects, Hoyt Axton, the Call, the Ventures, J.J. Cale, John Moreland and the Black Gold Band and Leon Russell.
“I'm sure it's political — she's playing games,” said Rep. Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs, one of the sponsors of the original 2009 Senate joint resolution supporting the song. “There was a survey, a political survey done last year that was put out by one of the family policy groups, one of the right-wing groups, and one of their questions was, ‘Would you support “Do You Realize??” as the state rock song,' and of course, the answer was negative in their opinion. So I'm sure that's what motivated her to say no to this.”
‘Let's be optimistic'
But Flaming Lips lead singer Wayne Coyne, who attended Fallin's birthday party at the Governor's Mansion in March and is a friend of the governor's daughter, Christina Fallin, thinks an honest mistake was made and his band's song will be restored to its status.
“She didn't realize that it happened, and she's going to try to fix it,” Coyne said. “So I'd say let's be optimistic. I was over there not too long ago. We had a little birthday dinner and the governor was there, and we talked and stuff like that, so I don't think she would have anything against The Flaming Lips or anything against that song, or anything even against the wishes of Brad Henry. We're working to fix it up.
“For me, personally, it would be no big deal,” the singer added. “We've gotten so much love, and I think people will remember this and think of it as forever being the state rock song even if she doesn't do it.”
Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, a self-described Flaming Lips fan, agreed that Fallin's failure to renew the order doesn't really change anything.
“I'm struggling to find outrage over the issue,” Holt said. “It will always be the state's rock song until declared otherwise. That's not what happened here. No one has issued an executive order saying it's not; no one has issued an executive order saying ‘Never Been to Spain' is the new rock song.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.