â€œWe 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,â€ Coyne said. â€œIt's tough.â€
Coyne is fully aware that â€œThe Soft Bulletinâ€ represented a crucial turning point in The Flaming Lips' career and remains one their biggest fan favorites, so he wants to get it right.
â€œIf that one hadn't been as successful or revered as it is, I don't know what we would've made of ourselves,â€ he said. â€œI 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.â€
It took about a year for â€œThe Soft Bulletinâ€ 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.
â€œAnd then it started to really snowball,â€ Coyne said. â€œLike, â€˜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.â€
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.
â€œAnd 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,â€ he said. â€œI mean, to me, when I hear stuff like that, I'm like, â€˜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.â€
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.
â€œWe realize that by the time you get to 2:30 in the morning, people â€” especially on New Year's Eve â€” can be a little bit zonked out,â€ Coyne said. â€œSo 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.
â€œBut I want people to come to this thing. Like, come on, people!â€