“We’ll be taking off across the country in a fully tricked-out bus for a 24-hour, livestreamed adventure through the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll… We’ve enlisted the aid of The Lips to complete this endeavor. The band will be overseeing the festivities, as well as breaking a world record currently held by Jay-Z.”
That was the plan for MTV’s third O Music Awards, as announced beforehand at blog.omusicawards.com. To this end Wayne Coyne “accepted the job of, not DRIVING, but commandeering the Magical Mystery Merry Prankster bus,” as he put it at the time.
Simple enough: set a new record during the world’s first 24-hour livestreamed awards show. “The most live concerts performed in 24 hours in different locations is seven,” guinnessworldrecords.com reported through 2012. “The Hangar Tour”, by rapper Jay-Z (USA, real name Shawn Carter) performed in seven different cities to promote the release of his new album ‘Kingdom Come’ (2006, Universal Music) from 7 am on 18 November to 1:15 am on 19 November 2006. The concerts were performed in the following order: Atlanta, Philadelphia, Washington DC, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.”
To beat Jay-Z, the Lips would travel through the south, stopping in eight cities along the way from Memphis on June 27th to New Orleans the following evening. “What would it be like to be in some strip joint in Mississippi at 4 o’clock in the morning,” Coyne joked, “it’d be cool!”
But for The Flaming Lips it was never primarily about the record. “It seems very possible we could get the world record — which I’m not even that interested in,” Coyne told Billboard beforehand, “but I think we’ve turned it into this… very interesting bunch of things for the Flaming Lips to do, to play with a bunch of our friends, play with a bunch of weird artists and for our audience who will be in tow with us. I think it will be a great, strange day that will go down in Flaming Lips history. And now that we’re in it and starting to realize what it’s all about, we’ll probably do days like this every year and just go to some very strange part of the world and do something that seems absurd and IS absurd. It makes life interesting, right.”
“I’m playing along with it all,” Coyne added to fastcocreate.com. “Don’t get me wrong; it would be nice, in the end, if next year’s Guinness Book of World Records came out and the Flaming Lips were in it, as opposed to Jay-Z or whoever has the record now. But that’s not really my thrust…. The reason I want to do it is more about doing this very strange day and night and day, where we play all these shows with different artists we like, and have an audience of about 300 people who will make this trek with us,” Coyne says. “I like the idea that all of this core of our really great hardcore audience can join us and see us play all these little spots, playing music that we’ve never played before…I don’t think we would’ve thought of this on our own, but now that we’re figuring out how to get equipment from one place to the next and get it set up while we’re driving there, we’ll probably try to do shows like this again. I love doing stuff that’s completely unique and different for those fans. I think that’s the way the world is gonna go—that it isn’t just about ‘Can we get a bunch of people to give us a bunch of money at one time?”
Spoiler alert: The Flaming Lips did indeed beat Jay Z’s record, playing a slew of rarities along the way and collaborating live with friends – including Grace Potter, Jackson Browne, Neon Indian, New Fumes, Linear Downfall and HOTT MT who each played with the Lips as well as their own sets. Now a new film by Sage Seb shows how it happened. The 75 minute “feature length documentary” – titled “A Beautiful Fucking Experience” – “celebrates music, in particular the live music experience, as told through the journey of The Flaming Lips on their Guinness world record breaking 24 hour tour through the Mississippi Delta,” according to it’s IMDB profile.
“Using Wayne Coyne as the lead narrator,” the trailer’s description reads, “the film captures perspectives from the musicians, the collaborators, the creators of the show, fellow artists, the fans which followed the entire 24 hour journey and the locals of the small towns to weave together a story full of heart, soul and love in relation to music. It took all of those people joining together to create “A Beautiful Fucking Experience.” This is their story. We want it to be your story as well.”
Kitten Charmer has announced “a premiere benefit screening of A Beautiful Fucking Experience at the Roxie at midnight on Halloween night” on their facebook page. Although tickets sales have not been officially announced yet by Roxie Theatre, “you may reserve your tickets by sending a $12 Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org. All KC proceeds will go to the Red Cross for disaster relief in Oklahoma.”
It’s widely rumored The Flaming Lips will play a special Halloween show in San Francisco earlier that night with a certain much beloved psych band opening (wink wink). Stay tuned for official tour announcements to follow.
UPDATE October 31
Tonight’s the night. Since this page was originally posted in August the Lips revealed they’re hosting a Halloween “Blood Bath” in San Fransisco with Tame Impala – making this film screening the perfect after party. Roxie’s official events page for the screening is here, and they are selling tickets here. This may end up the only screening…ever! If you’re a Lips fan in the Frisco area you’d be foolish to not see this on Halloween. They’re even giving away prizes. What more could you ask?