We were recording big, epic songs," says Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne, "and somebody told us we sounded like Queen." inspired by the comparison, the band recorded "Bohemian Rhapsody" for a covers disc and started channeling the spirit of Freddie Mercury and Co. in the studio. One of the Queen-inspired tracks, "The Wand," is a rare foray into political music, albeit of the extremely trippy variety. "When the election happened, I tried to remind people that we still have power within ourselves," says Coyne. "There's this homeless guy around here who thinks he can do magic things with his cane. Sometimes the belief empowers you more than your actual ability." After two years of work, the CD will come out early next year. "At some point you need a deadline," says Coyne. "That's how the Hoover Dam got built."
This story is from the July 28th, 2005 issue of Rolling Stone.