Happy Birthday Wayne Coyne: The Flaming Lips Perform For ‘Austin City Limits’ In 2004
The Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne celebrates his 60th birthday today. Born in Pittsburgh on January 13, 1961, Coyne’s family moved to Oklahoma City that same year. Coyne co-founded The Flaming Lips in 1983 with his brother Mark Coyne, bassist Michael Ivins and others. The band released a self-titled EP in 1984, the only recording featuring Mark Coyne on vocals. Mark would leave the band shortly after the release and Wayne stepped into the frontman role. Multi-instrumentalist Stephen Drozd would join Coyne and Ivins in 1991, rounding out the core three of The Flaming Lips.
The Lips went on to release their debut LP, Hear It Is, on Pink Dust Records in 1986 and followed up with Oh My Gawd!!! In 1987 and Telepathic Surgery in 1989. All three records along with the self-titled debut EP were included in a later compilation, Finally The Punk Rockers Are Taking Acid.
The title of the compilation does well in summing up The Flaming Lips early sound and transition to psychedelia. While they certainly had psychedelic tendencies (the opening track on Hear It Is, “With You,” has shades of Pink Floyd) their early albums, for the most part, are punk albums. That all changed, however, in the mid-1990s when Coyne and company began experimenting in earnest with different sounds and textures as well as innovative recording and presentation techniques. In 1997 the band released Zaireeka, a four disc album that, when each disc played simultaneously in separate boomboxes, delivered a slightly different listen each time due to the CDs not lining up exactly. The band developed the innovative album in their “parking lot experiments” where the would have volunteers play different tapes in their cars to see what kind of soundscapes they could create.
The extermination would pay off when the band released their landmark 1999 album, The Soft Bulletin, which saw The Lips marrying their brand of psychedelia with pop melodies. The album is widely considered one of the best of the ‘90s. The Flaming Lips would follow in 2002 with perhaps their most successful album both critically and commercially in Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots.
Material from Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi would make up the bulk of The Flaming Lips’ 2004 appearance on the legendary live music program Austin City Limits. The performance, recorded on September 21 and airing on December 18, kicked off with Bulletin’s opening track “Race For The Prize” followed by Yoshimi’s opening salvo, “Fight Test.” The show also features the second ever performance of “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 2,” the debut of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” (which became a staple cover for the band) on which they welcomed Cat Power and an appearance by Stephen Drozd’s father Vernon who returned to ACL after performing on the program with Willie Nelson over a decade before. The show is also an early showcase of the iconic onstage theatrics Coyne and The Lips have become famous for. To close out the performance, Wayne leads The Lips through their classic “Do You Realize??”
To celebrate Waye Coyne’s birthday, watch The Flaming Lips appearance on Austin City Limits in 2004 below via the JamBase Live Music Archive:
The Flaming Lips at Austin City Limits Studio
- Race for the Prize
- Fight Test
- The Gash
- Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1
- Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 2
- The Spark That Bled
- Lightning Strikes the Postman
- War Pigs
- Over the Rainbow
- In the Morning of the Magicians
- She Don't Use Jelly
- Do You Realize??