Record Store Day saw the release of The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends - a double LP featuring Nick Cave, Tame Impala, Prefuse 73, and others.
A special limited edition version is now available made with blood donated by the Lips and their collaborators: Ke$ha, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Plastic Ono Band’s Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl, Lightning Bolt, Alan Palomo from Neon Indian, Erykah Badu and members of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. The “fwend” that gave the most however was New Fumes – aka Daniel Huffman – who also helped make the bloody vinyl.
Intended as a limited edition art piece (encased in plexi glass), only ten copies are available – with a price tag of $2500 each. All copies will be hand-delivered (48 continental United States only) in approximately two weeks. According to headyfwends.com, “To purchase, email your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org We will begin contacting buyers on Monday, May 14th.”
All proceeds go to two causes the Lips are closely aligned with: The Academy of contemporary Music at U.C.O. and the Central Oklahoma Humane Society. The $25,000 the Lips raise from selling these ten copies of Heady Fwends will be in addition to $10,000 they donated to the same two causes with the sale of an Austin City Limits Festival 2010 poster (printed with Wayne Coyne’s blood, shown at left) and approximately $21,o00 from a fund raiser last September (whereby fans who donated $100 had their name included in the Lips 6 hour song, “Found A Star On The Ground” - recited by Sean Lennon). In an October 3, 2011 press release, Wayne Coyne explained their motives for the latter, which applies equally to their latest (bloody) charity: “The homeless animal situation in Oklahoma City is at an all-time high – the worst I’ve ever seen. A lot of animals are suffering and need help. It’s all about being aware of this problem and just one way we can make an immediate impact now for The Central Oklahoma Humane Society. The Flaming Lips love all creatures – it’s always been part of our philosophy… When we were a young band starting out, we didn’t have any kind of outlet to help us make necessary connections. This school helps provide the students with a connection to all aspects of a supportive music community. As technology progresses, this is a way for us to help provide the students with upgraded computers and equipment which as you know becomes obsolete quickly. They need to up to date to keep up with that progression to fuel their ideas in all areas in the creation and knowledge of music and art of music making.”
The Flaming Lips uploaded the below video explaining the blood vinyl, followed by tweets and photos tracing their creation:
Unless Im looking for the unit of measurement, a kurt vile of blood.—
Neon Indian (@NeonIndian) March 19, 2012
Throughout their nearly three decades as a band, the Lips have frequently used blood or blood imagery – such as Wayne’s recent tendency to augment his signature on posters he makes with his bloody thumb print (above). They’ve also posed for loads of pictures with fake blood – which Wayne has also used many times in performance, most famously while performing “The Spark That Bled” and less famously in the ’80s for their Exorcist shows.
One of the most famous of Wayne’s blood pictures is the cover of their first photo book, Waking Up with a Placebo Headwound. This picture comes from Wayne’s period of wearing white suits constantly, partly for dramatic contrast with his fake blood (inspired by a tragic photo of Miles Davis after being beat by racist cops).
Blood features heavily in some of their videos – “Waiting for a Superman” had so much blood they had to make a “clean edit” and “The Sparrow Looks Up At The Machine” seems designed to be a NSFW viral disturbance. Wayne even went so far as becoming a “blood brother” with Andrew W. K. (at least that’s what he said) back when the latter was at the peak of his party hard days. When Ben Kweller had a nose bleed at Austin City Limits 2006 and generous fans helped him by throwing tampons up to the stage, Wayne asked for the same treatment when the Flaming Lips took the stage on the next day of the festival….
Aside from photos, videos, concert showmanship, books and lyrics there’s also Wayne twitter – which he uses, among other things, to tweet pictures of his blood. In fact, though news of the 2010 poster spread like wild-fire on the web on October 12, it was actually tweeted by Wayne days before, and for weeks ahead of that he took to twitter with related photos.
…And lets not forget the influence of Iggy Pop on the Lips, and moreover, KISS – the band that spat up blood as a regular part of their show and famously printed their own line of comic books with their own blood.
Wayne talked about blood in the violence issue of Paste, on the shelves exactly two years before the 2010 blood poster. He said, “At one point all of us had fake blood, and we poured it all over our heads—more like Carrie, I guess, than The Exorcist… I knew when I went to do it again, you can’t just grab this shit and get it all over the place because musicians are trying to play some intricate little things, and stickiness is the enemy of all that.”