“I hope I could inspire you guys as much as The Flaming Lips have inspired me and encouraged me to always be myself and to make music because I love it,” Miley told the Los Angeles’ Staples Center as she introduced Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd on February 22, incidentally the anniversary of the band. As you probably know by now Miley and Wayne, backed by Steven and her band, proceeded to play “Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots.” Twice.
The performance wasn’t a surprise – Miley and Lips are mutual admirers – though some fans were hoping it would be a one night stand.
Those fans will be disappointed by the rest of this post.
“Anybody that does writing, painting, music, anything, they know that the enemy of all that is the desire to be taken seriously,” Wayne explained to the Tampa Bay Times after the show. “That’s why last weekend we were out with Miley Cyrus, because the idea that you just don’t give fuck is where you get all your power. If you don’t give fuck — meaning I don’t really care if people think I’m the greatest artist ever — you usually are in at least an area where you may possibly do something that is the greatest art ever made. You kind of have to be the biggest fool in the room.”
“Someone like a Miley Cyrus: There’s a lot that you can find out about her just from seeing interviews in USA Today while you’re sitting in a hotel lobby waiting for a van. You don’t have to dig very deep to see how she feels about things, and I love that….
And being around people that mega-popular, that’s just another world. It’s fun. It’s like being with an alien from outer space. It’s like, “Oh, this is how you go to the bathroom. This is cool.” If an alien came down here to visit, I would hope I’d get to go out with them and have a good time. That’s what I do with all these people.”
It’s not just Wayne that digs the pop star.
“Just like a lot of other people,” Steven Drozd explained to Rock Sucker, “when I first heard about the Miley Cyrus stuff, I thought, ‘Who gives a shit? Whatever” You know? But Wayne is interested in all areas of the absurd, he’s interested in things that people aren’t expecting – I have to give him credit once again for saying, “Let’s pursue this.”
He found out that she’s a Flaming Lips fan – I think her favourite record is “Yoshimi…” – and every once in a while for the last couple of years she would quote lyrics from one of our songs on Twitter, and I think on Wayne’s birthday she tweeted him happy birthday. Wayne was like, “Oh my god, Miley Cyrus is tweeting me.”
He started corresponding with her and she said, “Hey, why don’t you guys come and play a song with me during one of my concerts?” She had a show at the Staples Center last Saturday, I think, and Wayne and I got up onstage to play “Yoshimi…” with her and her band, and I don’t know what to say – all my expectations, everything I thought I knew, were shattered. I have a completely different opinion of her now. You just never know. There was no “I’m a big rock star and you guys are old men” bullshit, which is actually the truth – she was just very open and friendly and there was no rock star attitude. You can always tell how people are by watching their backing band and their crew – you can always tell if someone sucks by the way the people who work for them act. You could just tell that everyone who works for her, down to the last person, just loves her.
Then she went to sing and she can actually really sing. I wasn’t sure if she even sang live, and there she was belting out this Dolly Parton cover. Everything that happened surprised me. It’s like we were sucked into a bubble – when we left LA and I came back home, I was like, “Oh my god, that was such a weird thing.”
I’m sitting talking to her dad in the dressing room and he was trying to get heavy on me, like “How’d you write that song, man?” and I’m like, “‘Yoshimi’? Well, it’s kind of like classic rock chord changes with a simple pop melody, and the twist is with the lyrics.” And he’s like, “Oh man, that’s it! The twist is the lyrics, man! It’s about the lyrics.” If someone had told us twenty years ago that we’d be hanging out with the guy from Achy Breaky Heart, I’d’ve said, “Fuck you, no way. I quit.” I wanna see what happens with this Miley Cyrus thing because, I have to say, she’s pretty interesting. I was surprised.”
Steven has also joked about Miley’s fans following him on twitter, and the righteous that turned on him for playing with her. “A lot of people are pissed off about it. People get so angry about something like this, we’ve sold out or whatever, but I don’t know what people expect from us. I would think that people would expect it to be absurd enough that we would do that, going back to Beverly Hills 90210 in 1995. That was as much of a sell-out cheeseball move as going onstage with Miley Cyrus, who it turns out is extremely talented. I’ve seen some people on Twitter bummed out, so maybe in time they’ll come around to it, or maybe we’ve lost a fan!”
The Flaming Lips have recently been writing material for Miley’s next album. In the meantime you can catch Miley tonight as the Bangerz tour rolls into Oklahoma with a special guest.
Yep, you guessed it . . .
UPDATE – March 15, 2014
Wayne and Steven played with Miley Cyrus in Tulsa as expected. See pictures and videos from that show – plus details on their recording session together the day after the concert – here. Miley also recorded “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” for The Flaming Lips and friends upcoming full album remake of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
UPDATE – May 9, 2014
The new issue of Rolling Stone – dated May 22nd, 2014 – notes Miley “hopes to cut with her new friends [The Flaming Lips] after the Bangerz tour wraps. ‘On my last record, everything we did was with computers,’ she says. ‘But they’re real musicians – they can change keys on a whim. I’ve never seen anything like it. They’ve had me on this journey that’s greater than anything I’ve been on. It’s really deep.'”