in the mood for Danson


It’s been a funny old year for the Flaming Lips - but then, what did you expect?

Words: Vicky Davidson

ince the Flaming Lips‘ carnival of

glittering insanity last rolled into Scotland.

the band have been on an extraordinary jaunt in the US with Beck. Along the way. frontman Wayne Coyne shared a synthesiser with Ted Danson. filmed a bizarre TV ad for Hewlett- Packard. gleefully fuelled rumours that Beck gave him a black eye. and invited the Vines clad in super furry animal costumes to trash the stage in Los Angeles. Gentlemen. welcome back!

Sounds like a wild tour what was the highlight?

One of the highlights would have to be the Conan O'Brien show. Ted Danson from Cheers was on. I said: ‘Beck. we are going to get other people to help us do this thing why don't we get Ted Danson? Let‘s ask him if he wants to be in the band tonight.’ So here we are. on TV. Luckily he‘s the sweetest man you could ever meet: he was floored that we asked him to be part of the band. We played a little synthesiser together and I sat on stage with him. It‘s these absurd moments you could never predict.

What was the score with the Beck ‘bust- up’?

We were trying to stir up some controversy and thought it would be great if we simulated a bit of rivalry. My eye had got infected after a bit of confetti adhered to my eyeball during the Flaming Lips‘ set. and to avoid undue sympathy l bandaged it up. The make-up lady on TV made it up to look worse. and we decided to say he‘d punchedine!

44 THE LIST 2—16 Jan 2003


Wayne Coyne deflects another sit-com star’s advances

So you’re pals really?

Yes! He admires us in the same way that we admire him. lfl wasn't enjoying the tour. I'd have finished it long before it got to the stage of punching each other. There was camaraderie. but it was limited to when we had time.

How do you feel about coming back to the UK?

That's wonderful! We had been around forever when The Soft Bulletin came out in 1999 and people in the UK embraced it before

the USA. which set us on this whole sort of


The last UK shows were a real spectacle - what can we expect this time?

When we played the UK. we had a couple of

‘furries’ [giant animal costumes] as we call them. By the end of the Beck tour we were up to about 25. and I want as many on stage as we can get. We’re buying more and more costumes all the time. I‘m always hoping that at some point it takes over. and I can stay at home and I'll call next day and ask how it went! A lot of these things create themselves; we go with the flow. whatever the show is becoming. I do things out of boredom. out of ‘let's see what happens‘ and people go ‘That’s the greatest thing ever!‘

If you‘ve got 25 people up there just exploding with excitement. and you‘re playing this music that‘s hopefully exploding itself. all of this gels and moves and hopefully there‘s a lot of explosions and excitement. I always want the whole show to be some giant birthday party. Every time we play. we try to play as if it‘s New Year‘s live.‘

The Flaming Lips play Barrowand, Glasgow, Wed 15 Jan.


Glasgow Barrowland, Wed 15 Jan

It's almost a decade since August and Everything After shot cult band Counting Crows into the mainstream. But despite selling their melodic. thoughtful rock by the lorryload through the 908. Adam Duritz's Californian outfit still have a little of the outsider about them. Maybe it‘s their honest. dutifully completed web diaries. Maybe it's the fact that they actively encourage fans to bootleg their shows by setting aside specific areas for taping. Or maybe it's the fact that. while they've often happily played the corporate game. they've never swallowed it whole.

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Crow king Adam Duritz

‘l've never really liked MTV.“ says guitarist David lmmergluck. ‘l hate the way bands come up now. in that they have to think about how they‘re going to look good on TV. I remember these Bacchanalian rituals of concerts that influenced me and the fact that records were really just mementoes of those great gigs. But now people go to concerts and expect to see what they saw in the video.‘

lmmergluck is unremittingly enthusiastic about the current tour that coincides with the release of their cover of Joni Mitchell's ‘Big Yellow Taxi' which features Vanessa Carlton (but almost featured production duo the Neptunes). This is despite the fact that Counting Crows have been on the road almost non-stop since the release of Hard Candy. their fourth studio effort. He‘s even looking forward to playing arenas. rarely the most inspiring of venues. ‘It was weird when we started. But now it feels pretty intimate. You just have to change your neck angle slightly so you can look at the people at the back. It's all about posture.‘

(James Smart)