Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Flaming Lips Fracas

It almost didn't happen, but Oklahoma governor Brad Henry signed an executive order earlier this afternoon to make the Flaming Lips' song "Do You Realize?" the state's official rock song. High-five!

It all came to fruition last fall, when 20,000-plus people picked "Do You Realize," from the band's 2002 LP, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, to be the Sooner State's official anthem via an Internet poll. With more than 10,000 votes, the Lips beat out the likes of the All-American Rejects, J.J. Cale, the Call (yes, the new wave band!), the Ventures, and Wanda Jackson. The Oklahoma senate voted for it as well, however the House of Representatives kind of wrecked everything about a week ago, pulling the plug on featuring the song at all. It was all because of a silly t-shirt.

Rep. Corey Holland (R-Marlow) said he was "really offended" by Lips bassist/keyboardist Michael Ivins (pictured above in the shades and Red Wings jersey) for wearing a red t-shirt adorned with the familiar Communist symbols, a yellow sickle and a hammer, when the band visited the state Capitol last month. Uh, I guess the House of Representatives knows nothing about punk rock, let alone the basic idea that humans have the freedom of choice.

It doesn't end there, either. Republican representative Mike Reynolds also criticized frontman Wayne Coyne for dropping the f-bomb at the 2007 ceremony for the Oklahoma City alley named in the band's honor. Really.

In an interview with Billboard, frontman Wayne Coyne had a lot to say about the ridiculous controversy.

"You know, when it happened a couple of months back, that seemed surreal ... and then when all of this (controversy) started, I think everybody's knee-jerk reaction in the beginning was, 'Ah, we knew it was too good to be true. That's more of the Oklahoma we thought we were dealing with,'" Coyne said. "But it's not true, and I think that's the main reason I wanted to make sure I got to say something about it.

Coyne continued, "It's really just a few religious wackos that think they can tell everybody what to do. It's not even Democrats v Republicans. It's just a couple of these small-minded guys who are the most popular in their church and their little towns. In some ways it's so absurd, it can only make us look good and them look stupid. Honestly, it's just a dumb shirt. We're not communists."

"There are a lot of other great things that are happening in Oklahoma," exclaimed Coyne. "And you know for the governor to stand up and veto it and be on our side, it's such a great story in the end."

Truly awesome! What should New York's official state song be? And for my native Michigan? So many possibilities.

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