The Flaming Lips formed in 1983 in Oklahoma City. Founder and guitarist Wayne Coyne allegedly stole some instruments from a local church hall and enlisted his brother Mark as vocalist and Michael Ivins to play bass. The group made their debut at a local transvestite club and began progressing through an endless list of drummers. Before recording their self-titled debut issued on green vinyl on their own Lovely Sorts of Death label, they recruited Richard English to play drums.
Mark Coyne soon parted ways with the band to get married and brother Wayne assumed full control of the group, remaining the lead guitarist and the band's primary songwriter and singer. The Lips continued as a trio and, in 1986, released Hear this, followed a year later by Oh My Gawd!! After recording Telepathic Surgery in 1988, English left the Lips, reducing them to the duo of Coyne and Ivins.
Nathan 'Dingus' Roberts became a full time member in 1990 and the band cut In a Priest Driven Ambulance. Warner Bros. began to show interest in the band and by the end of '91 had the Flaming Lips signed to a record contract. In 1992 the Lips released Hit to Death in the Future Head, their major label debut, to little commercial notice which prompted Roberts to pursue other avenues.
Guitarist Ronald Jones and drummer Steven Drozd joined the band and cut 1993's Transmissions From the Satellite Heart. The band supported this album by touring the states in a Ryder truck and playing second stage at Lollapalooza. It was nearly a year after the album's initial release before the single 'She Don't Use Jelly' became a hit. The Flaming Lips took full advantage of their sudden fame and appeared everywhere from a Candlebox tour to MTV's annual Spring Break broadcast.
The Lips followed in 1994 with a limited edition sampler of odds and ends titled Providing Needles for Your Balloons, and then Clouds Taste Metallic in 1995. Despite the single 'Bad Days' being used in Batman Forever and a couple other notable singles, the album failed to live up to the commercial success of the Transmissions album.
In 1996 guitarist Ronald Jones disappeared on a spiritual odyssey from which he never returned. The Flaming Lips continuing as a trio decided not to replace Jones and headed back to the studio in 1997. The Lips recorded an album that Coyne said would be 'so different and exciting it will either make us or break us'. The album was Zaireeka, an extremely experimental set of four disks designed to be played at the same time. A previously unreleased track titled 'Hot Day' appeared on the soundtrack of Richard Linklater's film Suburbia the same year. In 1998 The Flaming Lips released A Collection of Songs Representing an Enthusiasm for Recording...By Amateurs and in 1999 they returned from the studio with The Soft Bulletin. 2001 brought Zaireeka back into print and a new album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.
There's no question The Flaming Lips are one of the true originals of the post-punk era. Their off-kilter sound, uncommon emotional depth and blistering noise assaults makes them more than just the one hit wonders some people like to remember them as. The Flaming Lips have been and always will be remembered as an innovative group with a vision that they portray through their music. If you've ever seen a show this statement goes without explanation.
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