Flaming Lips mastermind Wayne Coyne took away more than just a vial of blood when he traveled to Nashville to record with Ke$ha. (Though, really, you’d think that would be enough.) He also left with his first-ever tattoo … not to mention a newfound respect for the wild-child pop star.
“Most of the time, if someone’s willing to work with me, they’re going to be a freak. And Ke$ha … I sort of thought that she would be a freak, I’d heard about her and we’d tried to get a hold of her earlier,” Coyne told MTV News backstage at the Hangout Fest in Gulf Shores, Alabama. “We showed up at her house, and she has a tattoo gun that she gives everyone a tattoo with, so within 20 minutes of being at her house, I had a tattoo on my toe; it’s the only tattoo I’ve ever had.
“We were set to do this one song that I had prepared, and we went into the studio that night, and stayed there until about 2 in the morning, and did four songs, just making stuff up,” he continued. “And the next day [we] worked for another couple hours. She’s funny, she’s gracious, she’s imaginative, she’s creative and she’s a lot of fun to be around.”
The result of that collaboration (a song called “2012”) shows up on the Lips’ special Record Store Day double-LP, The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends, a thoroughly out-there collection of songs and sound-collages that — as the title implies — the band recorded with the likes of Bon Iver, Nick Cave, Neon Indian, Yoko Ono and, uh, Coldplay’s Chris Martin … to name just a few. But will fans get to hear even more of the Flaming Lips/Ke$ha team-up? Well, Coyne certainly hopes so.
“We really loved making this music together — I think I’ve probably done six or seven songs with her — and I know a lot of her fans like [’2012’], but I don’t know if we’ll put more songs out there,” he said. “She has other agendas besides doing music with Wayne, you know, but I hope so, because I think it’s really great, crazy, unexpected music. And she, to her credit, loves what we do. She wants it to be whatever. She has no limits of what she wants it to be.”
And don’t think the Heady Fwends sessions will be the last time Coyne and Ke$ha share time (or blood) in the studio. If anything, the Lips’ recent output of, uh, non-traditional releases — songs encased in gummy skulls and fetuses, 24-hour noise-jam freakouts that play for all eternity, limited-edition vinyl filled with actual blood, etc — suggests Coyne and Co. are just getting started … and they’re going to get even weirder before they’re finished.
“That’s been the beautiful thing about all of these weird collaborations and projects; you work with freaks. Even working with someone like Chris Martin, he’s very open to, like, ’Let’s do stuff!’ That’s the great surprise about it,” Coyne said. “I don’t think people are surprised when we work with a group like Lightning Bolt or Neon Indian — people think of us as like-minded — but the surprising thing with the Chris Martins or the Ke$has, they’re like us too, they just don’ play music that sounds like that all the time.”