The Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne is the first to admit he has a vagina fixation.
First there are the gyrating video hips out of which the band emerges in the latest incarnation of its storied stage show. Then there's the female genitalia-headed aliens in the group's feature film, "Christmas On Mars." And finally, at today's (Sept. 23) video shoot in Portland, Ore., several hundred (or possibly thousand) naked bike riders will appear to emerge from one of Coyne's signature plastic space bubbles covered in fake fox fur, continued proof that vaginas loom ever larger in the oeuvre of the Flaming Lips.
"I'm not sure exactly what it means," Coyne told Billboard.com as he prepared for the video shoot. "But it has something to do with rebirth."
In fact, the video being shot today on Portland's Mt. Tabor is for "Watching the Planets," the last song from the Lips' latest, the aptly titled "Embryonic." The album, which is set for an Oct. 13 release on Warner Brothers, represents something of a rebirth for the band as well. "Embryonic" is the band's 12th full-length and Coyne and company weren't interested in repeating themselves.
"We didn't want to make another 'Soft Bulletin' or 'Yoshimi' or 'At War With they Mystics,'" he said. "When we tried recording songs that sounded like The Flaming Lips it wasn't that exciting. But we we just started to experiment with these long grooves and jams, that's when things got interesting."
The result is one of the most exciting and innovative Flaming Lips albums yet, less commercially accessible perhaps, but sure to reignite the passions of longtime fans while converting another generation of psych-loving heads to the Flaming Lips brand of freak-outs.
As for the video, Coyne was inspired by stories of Portland's record-breaking "World Naked Bike Ride," an annual event where naked Pacific Northwesterners take advantage of the city's relatively lax decency laws that allow for non-exhibistionist nudity. Last June's event drew more than 5000 riders. "I think i first heard about it on NPR," Coyne said. "I first thought, 'That's preposterous,' and then right away, 'That would be good for a video.'"
Coyne isn't expecting as huge a turnout, but he hopes that enough enthusiastic fans will take advantage of the late summer sunshine to help out. If all goes according to plan, the video should be finished and edited in time for the release of "Embryonic."
After the video is done, Coyne won't have time to slow down. He's busy preparing for the band's 3rd annual "March of 1000 Flaming Skeletons" Halloween parade in its hometown of Oklahoma City on Oct. 24, an appearance at New Orleans' "Voodoo Experience" festival and a European tour in November. The band will return home for a New Year's Eve gig at Oklahoma City's Cox Center.