Follow The Flaming Lips On Twitter, Literally: The Road To Meeting With Neon Indian At Tarbox And The “Pussy High” That Followed

We’ll start in late January,” Wayne Coyne explained shortly before Christmas 2010 in the article that officially announced The Flaming Lips’ plans to release new music ever month in 2011.  In January he elaborated to about kicking-off the process by recording with Neon Indian: “We’re going to do two or three songs with him and that shit should be ready to go pretty quickly.”  In fact, the Tarbox news page – the studio of Dave Fridmann, The Flaming Lips’ producer and extended studio “member” – reported the day before that Spin post: “Neon Indian is here, working on a new album with Dave.”  All that was missing from the collaboration getting underway was….  The Flaming Lips.

Although the Spin article was the only with exclusive quotes from Wayne about the collaboration in January- by any source – he had tweeted back and forth with Neon Indian for all to seeTo be sure, it was through twitter – not the music press or even updates on The Flaming Lips’ website, MySpace, Facebook etc. – that fans followed the developments of their new music and related projects.  And in a sense, these tweets became a part of the “album” underway…  just as Bob Dylan’s poem “11 Outlined Epitaphs” is a part of The Times They Are A-Changin’, John Sinclair’s infamously banned liner notes are a part of the MC5’s Kick Out the Jams, the costumed Beatles in front of a life-size montage are a part of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Wayne Coyne’s essay on Zaire and “eureka!” is a part of Zaireeka and Sonic Boom’s back-CD gibberish is a part of MGMT’s Congratulations.  After all, The Flaming Lips’ plan for 2011 is to live through their music and to share the process with their followers on a monthly – and with twitter – daily basis, sometimes even hourly (or less).  The idea was to break away from how they made music in the past: a) spend large chunks of time isolated from fans, b) emerge with a finished whole (a set of songs, an image to “cover” the physical release, written notes) and c) then promote the product resulting from that process.  If we can think of all the new music the Lips’ are releasing in this new model collectively as an “album,” it’s not a stretch to think of these tweets as a new form of “liner notes” and the TwitPics as a sort of “album art.”
Yes, the times are a-changin’…

Wayne tweeted a pair of brief videos of himself working on two songs for the project – “Is David Bowie Dying” and “To Understand You and Then Destroy you…”, as previously reported here.  These built anticipation while Neon Indian was at Tarbox working on his – not The Flaming Lips’ – album.  On January 29th most of the Flaming Lips left Oklahoma to join Neon Indian at Tarbox and start recording in earnest (Steven – who flew instead of driving like the others – left the next morning)….  
All of the above we know, from twitter…

Their regular tweets built anticipation: fans could literally follow them across the country from – Oklahoma to Tarbox in Fredonia, (upstate) New York, the first stop on a year-long musical trip… 




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