The Flaming Lips

Critics' Picks

A few weeks ago, the Dallas Observer came into possession of an e-mailed memorandum, ostensibly written by Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne, describing plans for the band's sets on the second leg of its North American tour. At first, we were skeptical about the document's veracity, what with its fairly radical take on the notion of live performance. However, after careful study of the group's supposed plans, well, we're still a little unsure about the origins of the document. We can't say for sure that the following is what will take place at Deep Ellum Live when the group comes to town, or that any member of the band intended for it ever to take place. But, that said, we wouldn't put much past them. After all, last year's show at the same location involved, among other things, hand puppets, fake blood, a giant video screen, a heavily used gong, and a drummer who could only be heard on headphones and seen on the aforementioned giant video screen. With that in mind, decide for yourself. And enjoy, because you probably will no matter what happens.

From: Wayne Coyne


The Flaming Lips

April 5

Deep Ellum Live

Looper opens

To: Rick Gershon, publicity, Warner Bros. Records

Re: Upcoming Flaming Lips Tour

Prior to each performance, we'll distribute 200 mobile phones to interested parties. At the same time, we will also issue a series of special 800-numbers, which will connect to a nearby location where Steven Drozd's drum tracks can be heard, along with any and all backing vocals, some keyboard accompaniment, and a tape of my next-door neighbor's pit bull. Along with the mobile phones, we will also make available 200-300 Viewmasters, loaded with a collection of slides from my recent vacation in Boca Raton, as well as a selection of stills from The Learning Channel, specifically, emergency-room documentaries. The slides will be cued to a tap-dancing puppet located at the foot of the stage. When the puppet waves his left hand, it means it's time to move on to the next slide.

Additionally, a member of our crew will be slowly jogging in circles around the inside of the venue, carrying a boombox tuned to a special FM frequency that will be broadcasting each song as we play it. This is to test our theories on surround sound, the Doppler effect, and prolonged periods of exercise involving overweight roadies who smoke two packs of Marlboros a day. At various points during the show, the boombox will randomly switch from our songs to a tape of me mowing the lawn.

Finally, we, in fact, will not even be at the venue. The music heard over the speakers will indeed be produced by Michael Ivins, Steven Drozd, and myself (strategically located somewhere near the building), but we've taken the liberty of hiring three actors, who will stand onstage and mime the songs we are playing -- while dressed as various characters from François Truffaut's 1960 film Shoot the Piano Player. There is absolutely no reason for this.

Zac Crain


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