Two days ago, the Flaming Lips issued a press release announcing a new album entitled Flaming Side of the Moon. The album was described as follows:
Designed as an immersive companion piece to the original 1973 album, DARK SIDE OF THE MOON, listeners are encouraged to listen to the new LIPS album while listening to DARK SIDE at the same time. FLAMING SIDE OF THE MOON was also carefully crafted to sync up perfectly with the 1939 film, THE WIZARD OF OZ. For ideal listening conditions, fans are encouraged to seek out the original Alan Parsons’ engineered quadraphonic LP mix of DARK SIDE, but it will work with the album on any format. Available now through all participating digital outlets.
The concept of the album seemed par for the course for the notoriously oddball Oklahoma psychedelic space rockers as they had already released a critically-acclaimed album covering Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon back in 2009, a collaboration with Stardeath and White Dwarfs, Henry Rollins, and Peaches. In 2012, the Flaming Lips independently released another collaborative project in the same vein, Playing Hide and Seek with the Ghosts of Dawn, a track-by-track reinterpretation of King Crimson’s 1969 prog rock masterpiece In the Court of the Crimson King. The following year saw them produce The Time Has Come To Shoot You Down…What A Sound, a similar reworking of the Stone Roses’ self-titled debut album, featuring Stardeath and White Dwarfs, Foxygen, and others. The Lips made headlines with news of another tackling of a classic album when it was reported that Miley Cyrus and one-half of MGMT had recorded a version of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” with the band as part of a cover of the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album.
Today, on every prankster’s favorite day, we were treated to the rest of story in a good display of that other thing the Flaming Lips are notorious for: their sense of humor. Turns out the companion album was part of an elaborate April Fool’s gag. In a series of videos posted to the Funny or Die website, we are treated to the Lips holding a corporate meeting on how to cash in, comedian and Portlandia star Fred Armisen temporarily joining the band as a new lead singer, and a mock trailer for Yoshimi: Fall of the Chosen, a Michael Bay-directed blockbuster film adaptation of the Flaming Lips’ 2002 ‘break through’ album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. Also included are a page ad for a Flaming Lips’ breakfast cereal, “Flames & Lips”, as well as a mock article allegedly written by lead singer Wayne Coyne for New York Magazine entitled “I’m All In” (a send-up of Alec Baldwin’s recent article), in which he details his reasons for finally ‘selling out’:
I’m tired of playing live shows at only-somewhat-large venues for thousands of devoted music fans. I want to play in stunning 1080p, between Doritos commercials, for MILLIONS of half-interested football fans. I want to play the Super Bowl. I want Slash to be catapulted up from beneath the stage, and to rip a gnarly guitar solo alongside Joe Perry on a surprise “Walk This Way”/”November Rain” medley. And I want to drive up to the stadium in an all-new 2014 Cadillac CTS sedan, only $539/month for 36 months with $1,500 due at signing for well-qualified lessees. Cadillac: Break Through™. I’m all in.
The best part of the whole April Fool’s gag? The Flaming Lips recorded an entire album simply for a gag, one that pokes fun at rock band indulgence and corporatism, all while reminding us why we love the band in the first place: trippy, fun and all-too-self-aware music that refuses to repeat itself for too long.
You can hear Flaming Side of the Moon via the Funny or Die post, which includes a video of the recording session for the entire 43 minute 27 second album, or you can head over to Soundcloud.com, where the Flaming Lips posted the album in its entirety.