Coyne, wearing a silver tinsel jacket and skintight body suit with tinsel dangling from his crotch, traded verses with the singer, crashed a nearby cymbal with timpani mallets and dropped to his knees to kiss Cyrus’ feet. The pair slowed down the original track, extending and repeating the word “gone” while blasts of confetti festooned the duo.
The collaboration is less incongruous as it may seem. As Rolling Stone reported earlier this month, Cyrus turned to the Flaming Lips’ music after she called off her engagement and her dog Floyd was killed by coyotes. “Floyd and I always listened to the Flaming Lips,” she said. “So now when I listen to that music, I totally feel the presence of him still being there, you know?”
Coyne and Cyrus’ friendship started last year when Cyrus read a Rolling Stone interview with Coyne complimenting her show. In February, Cyrus invited Coyne and Drozd in Los Angeles to perform the band’s “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.” “Our shows are very childlike, like kids on acid, and hers are too,” says Coyne. “We’re so much alike in believing art is supposed to be fun. She’s just a freak. I love her to death.”
Cyrus joined the lips last year in a Tulsa, Oklahoma studio to record what Coyne calls “completely weird” versions of “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” and “A Day in the Life.” “They taught me to sing into the sadness, and that’s helped me a lot on tour,” Cyrus says. “Because I would’ve felt like I can’t keep smiling, and I can’t, like, go dance on this gold car, and act like I’m happy when I’m fucking not.”
Coyne discussed the Flaming Lips’ upcoming Sgt. Pepper’s tribute album to Rolling Stone earlier this month, noting that the album “is stunning.” A portion of the proceeds from the tribute album will go to Bella Foundation, which helps low-income, elderly or terminally ill pet owners in the Lips’ hometown of Oklahoma City pay for veterinary care. The frontman was blunt when asked why he wanted to cover the iconic group. “People are like, ‘Why do you do Beatles songs?’ and I’m like, ‘Because people love them,'” said Coyne.