Today, The Flaming Lips return with a celebratory video for their nostalgic, reflective single “Assassins of Youth” taken from their September-released psych-pop masterwork American Head. Directed by Wayne Coyne and filmed/edited by Blake Studdard for Atria Creative, the clip was filmed at a recent socially distanced performance the band gave in Oklahoma City where both band and crowd members were encased in plastic bubbles. The event itself has since gone viral attracting headlines around the world and extensively reported on CNN, NPR, NME, Noisey-Vice, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Buzzfeed, Variety, Uproxx, The Today Show, Marc Maron WTF, ABC, NBC and more.
For years, Lips frontman Wayne Coyne has walked atop ecstatic crowds in a bubble. But in the interest of bringing back their spectacular live gigs safely, the band extended the tradition to fans. The video captures the unexpected joy of the endeavour, celebrating The Flaming Lips’ uncanny ability to bring people together, even in the midst of these strange times. It’s a thrill just to see a crowd jumping up and down in 2020, even if they all happen to be in plastic orbs.
“Of course, our MAIN priority (when doing the performance for the music video) was making sure everyone was safe and all the health cautions were being enforced,” Coyne writes of the video. But there was a welcome side effect: “I forgot about how exciting and fun and ridiculous it is to do a Flaming Lips show!!! I think the video shows it!!!”
Happy release day to the one and only Flaming Lips who release their technicolour wonder of an album AMERICAN HEAD today. The album is comprised of thirteen vivid tracks produced by Dave Fridmann and The Lips and is perhaps their most beautiful work to date.
AMERICAN HEAD finds The Flaming Lips basking in more reflective lyrical places as Wayne Coyne explains in a long form story about the album.
“Even though The Flaming Lips are from Oklahoma we never thought of ourselves as an AMERICAN band. I know growing up (when I was like 6 or 7 years old) in Oklahoma I was never influenced by, or was very aware of any musicians from Oklahoma. We mostly listened to the Beatles and my mother loved Tom Jones (this is in the 60’s)… it wasn’t till I was about 10 or 11 that my older brothers would know a few of the local musician dudes.
So… for most of our musical life we’ve kind of thought of ourselves as coming from ‘Earth’… not really caring WHERE we were actually from. So for the first time in our musical life we began to think of ourselves as ‘AN AMERICAN BAND’… telling ourselves that it would be our identity for our next creative adventure. We had become a 7-piece ensemble and were beginning to feel more and more of a kinship with groups that have a lot of members in them. We started to think of classic American bands like The Grateful Dead and Parliament-Funkadelic and how maybe we could embrace this new vibe.
The music and songs that make up the AMERICAN HEAD album are based in a feeling. A feeling that, I think, can only be expressed through music and songs. We were, while creating it, trying to NOT hear it as sounds… but to feel it. Mother’s sacrifice, Father’s intensity, Brother’s insanity, Sister’s rebellion…I can’t quite put it into words.
Something switches and others (your brothers and sisters and mother and father…your pets) start to become more important to you…in the beginning there is only you… and your desires are all that you can care about…but… something switches.. I think all of these songs are about this little switch.”