The Flaming Lips are an American rock band from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S. The band formed in 1983 and are founders of the label Lovely Sorts of Death.
Rumour has it the band started when founder and guitarist Wayne Coyne stole a cache of musical instruments from a church hall and invited his vocalist brother Mark Coyne and Michael Ivins, the bassist, to start a band. Following a succession of drummers, Richard English was chosen as the band’s percussionist and who joined the band to record their self-titled album, released in 1985 on their very own label Lovely Sorts of Death.
Rarely has there been a band of such eclectic and esoteric appeal, a band’s whose proclivity for the surreal formed a sporadic pop career. The Flaming lips is often associated with psychedelic culture and many of the themes in the Flaming Lips’ earlier releases share this fascination for science fiction, space opera and the metaphysical world. A string of recordings on independent labels saw the band expand on their sound introducing tape loops and guitar and vocal effects. The band signed to Warner Bros. in 1990 after a representative of the label saw The Flaming Lips almost burn down a venue in Oklahoma, U.S. using pyrotechnics.
The album “Transmission from the Satellite Heart” released in 1993 was the first in which producer Dave Fridmann had not been involved. The album and in particular the song “She Don’t Use Jelly” saw the band have a more mainstream appeal and feature on a number of TV shows including Beverly Hills and Beavis and Butt-head, as well as long stints of touring, opening for the likes of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
There biggest breakthrough however, came following the release of 1999’s “The Soft Bulletin”, which drew similarities between it and The Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds” due to its orchestral sounds and traditional catchy melodies.
By 2007 after releasing two more full-length albums the band had won three Grammy Awards, one for Best Engineered Album in 2007 for “A War With Mystics” and two for Best Rock Instrumental Performance for “Approaching Pavonis Mons by Balloon (Utopia Planitia) and “The Wizard Turns On…”. Since then the band has released a whopping 16 albums and have used their critical acclaim to collaborate with an impressive group of past and current musicians from Neon Indian, to Nick Cave and Erykah Badu. The Flaming Lips can seemingly do no wrong.