The Flaming Lips turned 30 this year and they've been celebrating in various ways – their 13th studio album The Terror came out this past April, they've played a host of career-spanning sets, danced on Letterman with Yoko Ono, and recorded a track for Ender's Game, which led to a new EP called Peace Sword. But don't think it's stopping there. Wayne Coyne has been busy over the past several months prepping a host of special releases for this year's Black Friday edition of Record Store Day, which range from the eccentric to the edible.
Musically, the group will be releasing a cover version of the Stone Roses' first LP, a collaborative EP with Tame Impala featuring each band covering the other's songs, and a vinyl edition of the Ender's Game soundtrack. Then there's the edible component, which Coyne hopes will be ready in time for Record Store Day. "It's all made out of chocolate, it's a life-size human skull, a life-sized human brain, and the brain is actually sliding out of the skull made with this brain fluid flavored hard-candy," Coyne tells Rolling Stone. "And there's a little magic coin inside that brain that you're supposed to dig out. I think it's supposed to get you into any Flaming Lips show in the world. I think that's our intention. So, a lot of stuff and always moving towards the deadline, but I think those first three for sure will happen and we'll see if the chocolate skull will happen. If not, it'll be around for Christmas."
Coyne says that the cover of the Stone Roses landmark debut features a lot of smaller acts that he's excited about, including Peaking Lights, Stardeath and White Dwarfs, New Fumes and Def Rain. He confirms that Poliça sings "She Bangs the Drums," Foxygen's Jonathan Rado takes on "This Is the One" and Spaceface perform "Fools Gold." "It doesn't really have a drum track, they're really good guitar players with a lot of effects and some cool things that we added in," he says of "Fools Gold." "We weren't really sure if that was part of the record or not but we added it in because their version was so great."
Also available on Record Store Day, if all goes to plan, will be a toy frog that contains an audio recording of the band's first-ever demo. They're dubbing it the "Fuck You Frog." It "got finished just literally yesterday and it's got a little seven-inch that goes with it. That is our very first demo that we ever recorded that's never been released before. So you get that in this packet. This little frog that’s kind of a recorder that you can manipulate the sound on."
One release that won't be seeing the light of day anytime soon is the long-gestating "Lip$ha" project, a collaboration between the Lips and pop-singer Ke$ha. Coyne broke the news on Twitter last week that it had fizzled and didn't want to speak too much about the reasons why. He did hint that he hopes to collaborate with her in the future. "Everything is driven by her schedule," he says. "Her situation is a lot different than mine. If I want to record a record today and put it out, I just do it."
Next up for the band is a handful of dates, including performing at My Morning Jacket's four-day One Big Holiday festival in Riviera Maya, Mexico, this coming January as well as recording Electric Worms, a "musical ensemble" the Lips' multi-instrumentalist Steven Drozd is putting together. "I'm part of the ensemble but it's mostly Steven's thing," Coyne says. "We're using a lot of musicians, but mostly there's a group out of Nashville called Linear Downfall that are amazing – they're such good musicians and such freaks. We only did a couple of days at the beginning of September. I forget what the Miles Davis song is called, we literally recorded one of these really complicated electronic Miles Davis tracks with them. We have a session that is going to happen in the next week or 10 days or so that will probably decide when that's going to come out."