"The Dark Side of the Moon” will rise after midnight when the Flaming Lips conclude their New Year’s Eve Freak-Out by joining forces with Stardeath and White Dwarfs for an epic rendition of Pink Floyd’s 1973 album classic — in its entirety. The disturbingly beautiful strains of "The Great Gig in the Sky” and the strutting bass-line of "Money” will ring in a new year and a new decade at the Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City, the place where Lips leader Wayne Coyne spent many happy hours as a teen taking in the live performances of other musical influences such as Led Zeppelin and The Who. "Of all the groups that have influenced us, one of those groups would be Pink Floyd,” Coyne said last week during a visit to The Oklahoman and the video studios of NewsOK.com. "So, it isn’t as if this music is some foreign entity,” he said. "We’ve considered this music since we were teenagers.” Indeed, one of Coyne’s fondest memories from adolescence is the time he saw the Pink Floyd concert film "Live at Pompeii” screening at the old Plaza Theatre on NW 16, just a couple of blocks north of the midtown neighborhood where he grew up and still lives. "To see it at midnight in this theater in Oklahoma City,” he said with a tone of boyish wonder. "Me and my younger brothers sat in there smoking pot in a theater in Oklahoma City. Of course, we all were obsessed with music and rock ’n’ roll and groups and all that sort of stuff. But to sit in there and have this powerful sort of experience. ... Of all the things that can change you, I think that’s one of the great experiences.” Pink Floyd covers have cropped up in Flaming Lips performances before, most notably at Bonnaroo in 2003, which isn’t surprising since Floyd’s music mixes in so smoothly with the Lips’ grand brand of sweeping, melodic psychedelia. "I mean I think, you know, we are a Pink Floyd-ish group ourselves,” the Lips front man said. But the idea of covering the whole of "The Dark Side of the Moon” didn’t occur to Coyne until iTunes representatives asked whether the band had any tracks left over from the recording of its most recent album, "Embryonic,” songs that could be sold exclusively on the site. "So I said we don’t have a lot of extra tracks. I mean, ‘Embryonic’ was done fairly quickly, and it’s a lot of music. It isn’t as though we had 50 songs to pick from, and these are the 20 we picked. We really just worked until we were satisfied, and that was it.” Coyne half-jokingly responded with the suggestion that the Lips record "Dark Side,” but the iTunes people and even Lips manager Scott Booker thought it was a seriously good idea. So Coyne and company ventured into the Norman recording studios of ex-Chainsaw Kitten Trent Bell, bringing Coyne’s nephew Dennis Coyne — and his band, Stardeath and White Dwarfs — along for the ride. To supply the eerie voices that are famously heard throughout the Pink Floyd record, Coyne enlisted the help of Canadian electro-pop temptress Peaches and one of his longtime idols since the heyday of Black Flag, Henry Rollins. "He’s just an intense, unique guy. He really is one of my heroes,” Coyne said of Rollins. "And we called another great friend of ours, Peaches. She lives in Berlin. Through the marvel of technology these days, you can send stuff over the computer, and three hours later, they do a track and send it back. "So there’s a lot of serendipity that just allowed this thing to happen. We were already familiar with it, and Dennis’ group, they’re really great and creative and take a lot of chances, so we did some songs, and they did some songs. Trent has two studios, so we could be working on ‘The Great Gig in the Sky’ in one room, and Dennis and them could be working on ‘Eclipse’ in the other.” For those who can’t wait until New Year’s Eve, "The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and White Dwarfs With Henry Rollins and Peaches Doing ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’” is available on iTunes exclusively until Tuesday, when it will be released through other participating digital outlets. Meanwhile, the Lips’ third annual New Year’s Eve Freak-Out will feature Stardeath and White Dwarfs as the show opener, then the Lips with their usual circus of music and madness, complete with confetti blasters, dangerous-looking laser beams, a gigantic mirror ball and "the world’s biggest balloon drop.” The bonus "Dark Side” set is the Lips way of thanking the world for a year that included the adoption of "Do You Realize??” as Oklahoma’s official state rock song; the signing of Stardeath and White Dwarfs to Warner Bros. Records and the release of that band’s major label debut, "The Birth”; the Bricktown opening of the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma, of which Booker is chief executive officer; Coyne’s appearance on the cover of the November issue of Spin magazine, and the release of the Lips’ 14th studio album, the highly experimental and groove-heavy "Embryonic.” "We’re very grateful to be able to do this show at the Cox Center,” Coyne said. "It used to be the Myriad. I mean, I saw Led Zeppelin play this very room. We have some strange rock and roll memories attached to this place.”
The Flaming Lips New Year’s Eve Freak-Out→With: Stardeath and White Dwarfs. →When: 8:30 p.m. Thursday. →Where: Cox Convention Center, 1 Myriad Gardens. →Tickets: $10, $20, $25 at neighboring Ford Center box office, Suncoast, FYE and Homeland stores, online at Ticketmaster.com, by phone at (800) 745-3000.
ONLINEWatch a video of Gene Triplett’s interview with Wayne Coyne. www.newsok.com/multimedia/video/57770719001.
OnlineThe Flaming Lips sing "Silent Night” and "White Christmas” and read from "’Twas the Night Before Christmas”: Newsok.com/ entertainment/ static