Flaming Lips to perform defining album ‘Soft Bulletin' live for New Year's Eve

The Flaming Lips will play their 1999 album “Soft Bulletin” from start to finish in annual New Year's Eve show in Oklahoma City.
BY GENE TRIPLETT etriplett@opubco.com Published: December 31, 2010
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“We have tried to play them, and I didn't feel like they were very successful, so that's really where the work is, to try to not just play them, because as notes and things go, it's not hard to play, but it's hard to find where is the dynamic in some of that stuff,” Coyne said. “It's tough.”

Coyne is fully aware that “The Soft Bulletin” represented a crucial turning point in The Flaming Lips' career and remains one their biggest fan favorites, so he wants to get it right.

“If that one hadn't been as successful or revered as it is, I don't know what we would've made of ourselves,” he said. “I think we felt this strange confidence that we should just do this music, this art, this sound, this thing that we wanted to do, and not give a s---. And part of us was very defeated and insecure, thinking that maybe perhaps this is the end of our group. ... We started in '83, so by the time you get to 1999, we'd been around a long time, even by then.”

It took about a year for “The Soft Bulletin” to really start catching on with critics and longtime fans, and when it started attracting new followers, the Lips knew the ride was far from over.

“And then it started to really snowball,” Coyne said. “Like, ‘Hey, you know, this is one of those records.' And that's really what set us on to where we are, even now. I think without that thing happening, I think we could have easily disappeared into just being some weirdos that make interesting music in their living rooms and not be this band that plays and makes records and goes all around the world now.”

This year marks the completion of the Oklahoma City band's 20-year contract with Warner Bros. Records, and a renewal of the Lips' association with the label is in the works that would have them releasing one or more songs per month on the Internet until they have enough to release a full album in digital and physical formats.

“And I think we're going to try to tie in a video with each one that ends up being like a bigger conceptual movie in the end, so it sounds like a lot of fun,” he said. “I mean, to me, when I hear stuff like that, I'm like, ‘Cool, let's do it, I can't wait.' For me, I still love albums. Put on a record, and for 30 minutes you're in this other world.”

As for tonight's show, the Lips will transform Cox Convention Center into an otherworldly environment of giant multicolored balloons, blizzards of confetti, rainbow lasers, sparkling mirror balls and, of course, music that frees the heart and mind to soar.

“We realize that by the time you get to 2:30 in the morning, people — especially on New Year's Eve — can be a little bit zonked out,” Coyne said. “So I don't know, that's what you do. Either way, you have to play it as though it's a great show, and whether people can comprehend it is another thing.

“But I want people to come to this thing. Like, come on, people!”

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Enlarge Map 1 Myriad Gardens

The Flaming Lips New Year's Eve Freak-Out

Special guests: Stardeath and White Dwarfs.

When: 8:30 tonight.

Where: Cox Convention Center, 1 Myriad Gardens.

Tickets: Online at wimgo.com, Ticketmaster.com or coxconventioncenter.com; Suncoast, FYE or Homeland stores; or by phone at (800) 745-3000.

Quotable
“There was this strange mixture of very vulnerable and yet very brave at the same time. And you know, art and music allows that. Because you really just go into your deepest emotions and fears, and that's where your music comes from.”
— Wayne Coyne on the writing and recording of “The Soft Bulletin”

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