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“It wasn’t so much that we wanted to be psychedelic, we just wanted to play Led Zep-type stuff and then play echo and play weird”
-Wayne Coyne quoted in Spin (magazine), December 1986, p16
No music magazine has been as consistently on the mark and ahead of the curve year-after-year for the last quarter-century as Spin has. Check it: when The Flaming Lips released a polarizing album last fall that seemingly confused many print publications at first, Spin jumped on the chance to celebrate The Lips’ brave new sonic world by not just having Wayne Coyne on the cover, but having him letter it as well… similarly, in 1986 Spin ran an article on The Flaming Lips (who had recently released their debut LP, Hear It Is) that is presumably the first in a nationally distributed, mainstream magazine (that article, “Drug Crazed Teens: Flaming Lips Deny It All”, has since secured itself as a footnote in The Flaming Lips’ history via its appearance in the documentary The Fearless Freaks). In between these two examples, countless of the most talented music writers and photographers have contributed to a publication that has been through a lot of changes – not just of its own, but all around it, from college radio’s heyday to the web suffocating magazine and CD sales – and somehow managed to document them all with insight, amusement and just the right the amount of inevitable journalistic bias and taste-maker hyperbole… you know, spin. At a time when “alternative” was more a fringe buzzword than a marketing or programming format, hip-hop was regularly dismissed as a “fad” and Phil Collins was on the cover of Rolling Stone, Spin had the spunk their competition flunked.
Now Spin has turned 25 and is celebrating next week with a series of concerts in New York City: Monday- The Smashing Pumpkins, Tuesday – The Flaming Lips, Wednesday – The Black Keys, Thursday – The National, and Friday a special – albeit reluctant – presentation by Spiritualized: their 1997 classic Ladies and Gentlemen, We’re Floating in Space performed in its entirety with an orchestra and choir at Radio City Music Hall.
For Flaming Lips fans in the New York City area this means a chance to dress up like a Yo Gabba Gabba character two nights in row (on Monday at Central Park and the next night at Terminal 5 – locale for all the Spin 25 shows except Spiritualized) and for fans around the rest of the world it means a chance to watch live broadcast of all five Spin celebration concerts “shot in high-quality video from nine different camera angles” at SPIN.com each night, from Monday, July 26, through Friday, July 30, at 8 P.M. EST. Likewise, The Flaming Lips will reportedly be playing a third night in New York City: a taping of The Late Show With David Letterman on Wednesday night (hopefully with Karen O helping out).
The Flaming Lips at Central Park + Spin 25 Webcast + Letterman with Karen O = Yeah, yeah, yeah!