On New Year's Eve, the Flaming Lips will play their 1999 psychedelic classic The Soft Bulletin in its entirety at Oklahoma City's Cox Convention Center. But the band has even more ambitious plans for 2011: Frontman Wayne Coyne tells Rolling Stone that the band will hit the studio soon and plans to release new songs every month, while filming the entire process.
"We'll start in late January, though I'm not sure if we'll get together exactly by then," Coyne says, adding that the band will convene in Oklahoma with longtime producer Dave Fridmann. "With this new thing, we're going to spend a lot of time recording at our houses or wherever we are at. We'll try to release a song a month and document the song in the making, whether it takes us three or five days or a week. It's gonna be, 'We're working on a song and it's gonna be up by Friday.' We just want to [release material] some other way."
The band has released 13 studio albums since 1986 — most recently Embryonic and a full reinterpretation of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, both of which came out in 2009.
"Not that I think the old way was boring, but to spend another two years with the same 13 songs, it's just like fuck," Coyne says. "I think we're going to just start to do things and put it out. Once we get 11 or 12 songs together, maybe we'll do something else with it. We want to try to live through our music as we create it instead of it being a collection of the last couple years of our lives."
Though Kanye West rolled out a new song every week beginning this summer with his G.O.O.D. Fridays – and Swizz Beatz and Timbaland followed his lead by announcing Monster Mondays and Timbo Thursdays – the Lips aren't sure exactly how their releases will be distributed.
"The dilemma is whether we're going to release it on vinyl, cereal boxes or some of it on toys that we make," Coyne says, explaining that the band is planning on offering additional items to fans at the same time as downloads. "Sometimes, the music is the simplest part of any of these things. We'll be making these little videos that connect in the end to a bigger movie we'll be making next year as well. It sounds like a bunch of fuckin' work, but it's different way of thinking about songs than just holing up."
For the toys that may accompany music, the frontman says, "I've been dealing with a guy who flies to China and Korea six times a year and he's always making these new fantastic looking toys and having companies manufacture them."
Coyne says he can't wait to play The Soft Bulletin live, and hints the band may play more of its albums live in the future. "It seemed as though we should start with this one and see if anybody gives a shit. People always ask us to do those types of shows. I know in recent shows there hasn't been very much Soft Bulletin live – that came out when a lot of our fans were 10 years old."