Flaming Lips

Mon Dec 2

Schnitzer Hall

The Flaming Lips, one of the most amazing outfits to have surfaced from anywhere on the planet in the past 20 years, have power. This year's Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots marks a lightening-up for the Lips, whose heavy-handed and epic '99-release, The Soft Bulletin, swelled with gorgeously dark (but hopeful) philosophical undertones. Less hefty but not as feathery and fanciful as their work in the early '90s often was, Yoshimi considers the genesis of love, the sanguine search for goodness, and the desperate but unwavering quest for understanding and discovery of life's little amazements. It is another masterpiece, the Lips are a celebration, and seeing them is nothing short of a religious experience.

I spoke with FL drummer/multi-instrumentalist/conceptionalist/hero-of-mine Steven Drosd. They'd just played L.A. It was, in his words, "a starfest."

SD: It totally was! Want me to drop some names? It was weird!

JH: Sure! Was it all red carpets and Pellegrino?

SD: No, but it was super Hollywood. Drew Barrymore was there, and Juliette Lewis, and Heather Graham!

JH: Has Cory, your roadie in charge of recruiting fans to fill the animal costumes used in your live show, had any zany mishaps occur during the selection process? Does he ever just go for the totally hot chicks?

SD: The main thing is that he's scoring women left and right like crazy! He's turning into Gene Simmons--we had Pamela DeBarres in an animal costume last night. We always warn people about the hotness!

JH: The grandiose warmth of your new material feels like a big hug. How were you able to infuse your sound with communicative love so effectively?

SD: I think there's a pretty deep melancholy to it, really. I think that the big hug-ness you're talking about is just Wayne's optimism shining through the lyrics.

JH: How do you feel being part of something so wonderous as the Flaming Lips?

SD: It's such a shock to think that A., the Flaming Lips are still around, and B., the band's on Warner Brothers. It's even more amazing that people are more understanding of the stuff we're making now than 20 years ago--I think it's wonderful! I think that none of us, if you asked us forever ago, would think that any of this would be the way it is.