While the Flaming Lips’ 13th studio album The Terror is still fresh in our ears, the Oklahoma City natives keep looking forward. In recent interviews, Wayne Coyne has teased the idea that the band is recording a track-by-track cover of the Stone Roses landmark self-titled debut and well as a full-length with Ke$ha, who they first collaborated with on 2012’s The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends. To get a different take on what lies ahead for the band, Hive caught up with with guitarist Steven Drozd about translating The Terror to a live setting, working with Ke$ha and a Flaming Lips’ prog-rock side-project that now has a name.
Are you guys pumped to get out on tour with these new tracks and see what sort of energy and shape they take live?
Yeah, man. I haven’t been this excited about touring and playing a new record in honestly many years. We did a show in Austin where we played the record top to bottom. We worked on it, but some of these things just take out time to work out the dynamics. What sounds good on the record isn’t always going to sound good live. And Wayne’s been working with our video and light guys to come up with a new stage design. So I can speak for all of us when I say we’re looking forward to going on tour and doing this new stuff just to see what works and what doesn’t.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Flaming Lips. Do you guys have anything special planned to commemorate 30 years?
We’re doing something for the BBC. Now that you mention it, it seems like we should do something here. I could see Wayne [Coyne, lead singer] coming up with some sort of retrospective show. We’re supposed to do 10 songs of 30 years of the Flaming Lips for the BBC, maybe we could expand that and make it a full-on show sometime this year.
Lots of typically weird Flaming Lips news on the Internet these days. What’s the deal with this rumor of the Lips covering the Stone Roses self-titled record?
Wayne has been doing what is turning into a series of records where he gets a group of bands together to do a whole record. Last year, he got a few bands together and did King Crimson’s first record. And now he’s getting some bands together to do the Stone Roses. Wayne just loves to collaborate with other bands. He’s always working on stuff.
The Terror was finished almost a year ago. What else is on deck for the Lips? Can you dish on Ke$ha? Wayne mentioned working with her in his Reddit AMA.
There’s always stuff going on! Yeah, Wayne is talking about doing some more stuff with Ke$ha. We recorded a couple more tracks with her and I think he’s hoping we can do a full-length thing with her. The thing people might not know Ke$ha is she’s fucking really talented. She’s a total pro. And she’s really open to all kinds of crazy ideas. We’re hoping at some point in the year, among all the other things we’re doing, that we can get together with her and finish.
What about you? I know Wayne keeps the band busy, but do you have any solo projects or weird collaborations?
There’s already a pile of stuff that I have that I’ll get to at some point. Wayne and I have been talking about this prog band side project we want to get going. My theory is that Wayne doesn’t like me to have any time off. I work with this music school in Oklahoma City called the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma. I get together with a group of volunteer students that meet with me every Monday for a few months. The only way I can describe it is that it’s a simple repeating riff, like if you just kept playing the same thing over and over again for extended periods of time. I call it the Mutating Cell Ensemble. And now I’d like to do this every semester — get a group of students who want to try a crazy musical experiment.
What exactly is the prog band you mentioned? You guys going to be the next Emerson, Lake & Palmer?
The prog ensemble — and this is more Wayne’s thing — he wants me to be this central figure, like a John McGlaughlin kind of dude. He wants to play bass and get a couple of drummers and keyboard players. And we could play some festivals, like the 2 o’clock in the morning dance tents with some crazy lights and we just play some wicked, crazy music. So there’s that! We’re calling that Electric Worms. Also, Steve Burns, the guy who used to host Blue’s Clues, did a record like 10 years ago that I worked on with him. He and I became really good friends and have made a children’s psychedelic rock record and our band is called STEVENSTEVEN. The record’s been done for, man, about five years! We’re going to see if we can finally get this to the next level. Anyone that’s heard it has just really flipped out on it. Kids love it, parents love it — if you have kids and don’t want to listen to Barney or Raffi or whatever, this is another thing you can put on.