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The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips bio, timeline, discography, pics & more

The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips photo 2002

The Flaming Lips Biography

This psychedelic Alternative-Rock band was formed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma USA, in 1983 by guitarist Wayne Coyne, his younger brother, Mark on vocals and bassist Michael Ivins. They made a four song demo tape and got work on a transvestite club in their hometown, called the Blue Note. The following year Richard English was added as the band's permanent drummer.

Their very first record, simply entitled, "The Flaming Lips" was self-released in February 1985. They continued to play gigs in venues all around the region and just a year later Wayne Coyne took over the vocal duties after his brother left the band to get married.

The trio was signed to Restless Records who released their official debut album, "Hear It Is", in 1986.

"Oh My Gawd!!!" followed a year later; by this time, the band were building themselves a formidable reputation as a live act. They eventually toured with The Butthole Surfers and also began collaborating with guitarist Jonathan 'Dingus' Donahue.

In 1989 the group released "Telepathic Surgery", but the working relationship between the two former members started to deteriorate and English decided to quit the band.

The Flaming Lips decided to soldier on with a new drummer, Nathan Roberts, resulting in 1990's "In A Priest Driven Ambulance", an album recorded over a longer time than previous efforts and the first effort to feature Donahue as a full member.

After being signed by Warner Bros. the quartet had carved out the band's fifth LP, "Hit To Death In The Future Head", which was released in August 1992, but shortly after the completion of the album both Roberts and Donahue quit the group. Once more, as in 1988, The Flaming Lips had a new record and were without a complete band to tour it.
It was then that Coyne and Ivins were joined by second guitarist Ronald Jones and drummer Steven Drozd; the new unit hit the road, touring incessantly, but with little attention or sales in the face of the burgeoning Grunge hype.

In mid-1993 the newly revamped Lips released "Transmissions From The Satellite Heart"; the band had been on the road for almost a solid year and were beginning to worry about their future once more, when salvation unexpectedly arrived. An Oklahoman Top 40 Radio station started to play "She Don't Use Jelly" which later hit the top 10 of The Modern Rock Tracks chart and also reached #55 on The Billboard Hot 100, they then did some more touring, including support slots with The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Candlebox, with the album eventually peaking at #1 on the Billboard's Top Heatseekers list and reaching the #108 spot on The Billboard 200 Sales chart.

At this point, during the summer of 1995, the band retreated to Chicago to work on their next record. "Clouds Taste Metallic" was released later that year, in September, to great critical acclaim but mediocre sales; a year of shows followed, taking in most corners of the globe, before some final festival dates around Europe. Final proved the operative word, as the summer of 1996 was the last time The Flaming Lips performed as a four-piece. Then came a series of wrenching setbacks: Ronald Jones quit, Ivins crashed in a car and nearly died and Drozd was severely poisoned by a spider bite.

The Flaming Lips resurfaced in October 1997 with their highly experimental set "Zaireeka" which came on four discs to be played simultaneously on four CD players.

Released in the early summer of 1999, "The Soft Bulletin" had evolved over the best part of two years and was a record born of turmoil; the album was a massive critical success and the sales were sufficient to justify the large amounts of money Warners had supplied for it to be made.

After a three-year break that included soundtrack work and experimental recording projects, the Lips' re-emergence in the summer of 2002 was met with great anticipation; the band delivered "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots", an album that peaked at #50 on The Billboard Top 200 chart; during the autumn, they acted as backing band for Beck on his "Sea Change" tour and their “conventional” ninth LP found them at the peak of their craft and success. To prove it, they won a Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance for "Approaching Pavonis Mons By Balloon".

In April 2006 The Flaming Lips enjoyed their strongest chart-placing to date with "At War With The Mystics", this album hit #11 in U.S. and also broke into the U.K. top 10 producing a couple of minor hit singles in "The W.A.N.D. (The Will Always Negates Defeat)" and "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song... (With All Your Power)".

The Oklahoma trio issued their next album, "Embryonic", in October 2009, it peaked at #8 on The Billboard 200.


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The Flaming Lips pictures:

  • The Flaming Lips band lineup mid 90s The Flaming Lips band lineup mid 90s
    The band line-up mid-'90s