UPDATE August 23rd – The Flaming Lips have just released the official music video for “I’m Working At NASA on Acid” – the opening track off their recently released collaborative 12″ colored vinyl with Lightning Bolt. Note the video version is about half a minute shorter than the EP version. Watch both versions below and follow the latest updates at twitter/FutureHeartDay
Once upon a time Lightning Bolt – the Providence, Rhode Island noise rock duo – performed at a bar. Well, that happened more than once… but at one bar they played they heard a story – a magical, fantastical story – about, yep, some guy working at NASA… on acid…
The new Flaming Lips/ Lightning Bolt 12″ vinyl – personally released by Wayne Coyne on July 26th and currently available at these fine record stores – contains a pair of new Lips’ tracks on the first side augmented by Lightning Bolt: the aforementioned “”I’m Working at NASA on Acid” plus “I Wanna Get High But I Don’t Want Brain Damage” (hear the EP version above – substantially longer than the music video version, released July 22). The second side is two companion songs by Lightning Bolt augmented by the Lips – not quite remixes, but close enough – “NASA’s Final Acid Bath” and I Want To Get Damaged But I Won’t Say Hi” (listen to both in the video below).
So there we have it: a concept EP of sorts on NASA, acid and self-damage… released right as Space Shuttle Atlantis returned (NASA’s last space shuttle mission). Which brings to mind: what do you think those astronauts have running through their systems… besides Tang? Afterall, Francis Crick – the Nobel Prize pioneer of genetics – was supposedly tripping on LSD when he realized the double-helix structure of DNA, a discovery commonly thought to be “the most important biological work of the last 100 years, and the field it opened may be the scientific frontier for the next 100“.
“Atlantis landed Thursday at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, ending 30 years of space exploration through shuttle craft, the first of which—Challenger–was launched in 1983. While the event certainly marks the end of an era, it’s hardly the swan song for NASA’s exploration into space, as the agency has multiple missions in the works.”
–informationweek, July 21, 2011 – 04:01 PM
“It was fantastic to be thinking that we were in there making up a piece of music, while the astronauts were standing on the moon. It doesn’t seem conceivable that that would happen on the BBC nowadays.”
-David Gilmour on Pink Floyd soundtracking the most first moment in NASA’s history
Once upon a time, space missions were watched from earth with excitement and wonder. If you worked for NASA you were reckoned perhaps a bit geeky, but nonetheless a pioneer of a brave new future-living. Space was the place and the idea of its exploration was legitimately hip. The BBC even hired Pink Floyd – still out there and a full four years before their arena days – to improvise a space rock jam for their live broadcast of Apollo 11 (Neil Armstrong and co. famous first moon landing 42 years ago).
Those days are gone, as recently noted by the Wall Street Journal, “plans for future U.S. manned space exploration have failed to spark similar public excitement or broad congressional backing.”
Can The Flaming Lips, children of those times, bring back some of that spirit of ‘ole ’69? Not nostalgia, but the sense of wonder for a future human civilization “floating in space“…
Besides the NASA references on the new EP they are also playing Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon at four special shows this summer. In any case, check out almost two minutes of “I’m Working at NASA on Acid” tweeted by Michael Ivins (aka @Tekkbot) as he mastered it on July 13th, below.