Note – Below is an abbreviated version of this original post.
A longer, updated version – with a stream of the full LP – is here.
“Is Wayne Coyne the new Riff Raff? We don’t need a thousand different mediocre releases in the same year. One good album every three or four years will do just fine.”
So said a typical know-it-all-but-grasp-so-little Stereogum commenter this past February in reaction to news of Wayne Coyne and “fwends” covering The Stone Roses’ eponymous 1989 début album. That’s not to pick on said commentator, but to pick one example of the many similar comments that appeared on blogs, facebook walls and twitter feeds earlier this year after high profile sites reposted information from The Future Heart about this re-make in-the-making. Say what you will about the end product when it’s released in “another week or so,” but this sort of criticism of the project itself misses the point: Coyne is a creator. In other words: he creates stuff. And then he creates more stuff. Sometimes that “stuff” is ideas. Other times it’s a comic book, the (former) State Rock Song of Oklahoma, a T-shirt, a NSFW music video, novelty food objects, plans for a new Lips stage show, doodles, musical doodles, more doodles or more music (what’s this about a new Flaming Lips track with Black Moth Super Rainbow’s Tobacco?). Every three or four years it’s a proper Flaming Lips album for mass consumption (like this year’s The Terror, which follows Embryonic from four years prior, from At War with the Mystics three years before that). His urge to create can not be limited to just major releases though, or even to his own material or his own band. At least, at this point in his career it needn’t be.
Here’s something else Wayne is:
a collaborator. And that’s why “last year, he got a few bands together and did King Crimson,” in the words of Coyne’s most frequent partner, Steven Drozd (referring to Playing Hide and Seek with the Ghosts of Dawn – a 2012 re-recording of In the Court of the Crimson King featuring New Fumes, Stardeath and White Dwarfs, Linear Downfall, Spaceface and The Flaming Lips covering every song from the milestone 1969 prog LP). “Now he’s getting some bands together to do the Stone Roses. Wayne just loves to collaborate with other bands,” Drozd explained to MTV in April. “He’s always working on stuff.”
Covering The Stone Roses – like re-imagining In the Court of the Crimson King – is no grand statement. It’s not intended to replace or “improve” upon the original LP; it’s not even being released by a label. “It’s mostly just for my own dumb entertainment – we only make 500 copies…” Coyne explained to Rock it Out! Blog at this year’s SXSW. Presumably the other artists that appear on the new record – most of the Playing Hide and Seek contributors, Foxygen, Polica, Peaking Lights, et al – were also stupidly entertained, as will be their fans.
If you are opposed to independent stores having a special product to get customers into their shops, or musicians having fun playing music together and re-arranging classic tunes – then protest the new album (and “protest” here of course means write a smug response in the comment section of your favorite blog). If you don’t like the idea of Wayne playing with his fwends, rant away. If not, and are curious, best of luck getting your hands on a copy!