Preparing to Freak Out!

Ray – aka the guy that banged the gong all the way through “Watching the Planets” when the Flaming Lips played on Conan last October – is rejoining The Flaming Lips for their upcoming New Year’s Eve performance of The Soft Bulletin…

…this time he apparently is playing the harp.

But there’s “no getting around the gong”…



  1. I think that Ray is also going to be playing a bunch of other instruments, too.

    He also appeared with the band on Yo Gabba Gabba. I think he’s kind of an auxiliary member, like Derek is and Kliph used to be.

    Are you going to the Freakout? I’m driving all the way up from Florida!


    1. Ray confirmed to me (via twitter) that Gabba was taped around the same time as Conan – in October of 2009 (even though it didn’t broadcast to a year later). At that time I was thinking/ hoping he was the newest touring member, Derek having started with them just three months before. They had made some comments at the begining of this year (some of which are quoted somewhere on this blog) about becoming a bigger live band where they have lots of people doing percussion and freaky noises. That seemed like the perfect way to re-imagine Embryonic nightly and add a big doss of improvisation and show variation. Of course that didn’t exactly happen (except for when they play Floyd covers with Stardeath) and it seemed like Ray was sort of out of the picture – I was a bit upset Ray wasn’t with them.
      As of now, he’s never played a concert with them and his work with them as far as I know is limited to the two TV tapings circa the release of Embryonic.
      To my mind that puts him in the status of a session musician (albeit one they are apparently friends with)… so I was very excited to see him rejoining them for the Freak Out.
      The way I see it Derek is a touring member which I distiguish from a session musician because, like Kliph 2002-2008, Derek plays with them nightly (but doesn’t write the songs with them or record). Also both Kliph and Derek had helped out the Lips in various ways for years before touring – Ray doen’t have that history with the band yet… I’m hoping that changes in 2011.

      A lot remains to be seen:
      -will he play the whole Freak Out with them or just Soft Bulletin? (I’m also curious if Stardeath and or various members will join the Lips on stage at the NYE)
      – will Ray tour with them in 2011?
      -if not, will he still play occasional shows and/or TV apperances with them (or is the Freak Out just another one-off)?
      – will he play the Soft Bulletin in the UK?
      -and of course, what instruments will he play and what role in the band’s performances etc

      This should all be exciting to see unfold.

      Ray seems like he’s very talented from his work with other bands and I’d like to see the band rely on him to do an assortment of background instruments that they might have to pre-recorded in years past. Certainly he’s capable of way more than just hitting a gong (even though that does make for a stunning visual).
      Ray has been (and as far as I know still is) a touring member of the Killers. It may be that even if the Lips want him he has other commitments.

      So, we’ll see.
      I’m sure no matter what they do it will blow our minds as usual.

      ..and sadly, I’m at too much of a distance for OKC to work for me this NYE so I”ll be watching it via the web broadcast.
      The longest I’ve ever driven for a concert was 15 hours.
      Best of luck on your travels and have a blast at the show!


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