The Flaming Lips’ visionary antics are renowned far and wide. The band has even been celebrated by Oklahoma politicians for regularly being “creative, fun and provocative”—not qualities that are often offered as praise by Oklahoma politicians. To be fair, Oklahoma is the home state of The Flaming Lips, so there exists some inherent bias—so much so that “Do You Realize” was proclaimed (by Oklahoma politicians) the official rock song of the state.
The Grammy winning band, acclaimed in equal parts for its musicianship and vibrant live shows, has continued its "fun and provocative" ways, announcing Thursday that it will be releasing a track-for-track version of The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Reinterpreting legendary albums is becoming a habit for Wayne Coyne and company; in 2009 they commandeered Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon,” added their patented erratic flair, and released “The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and White Dwarfs with Henry Rollins and Peaches Doing The Dark Side of the Moon.”
The Flaming Lips are now taking aim at another of the most consequential concept albums of the history of ever. “With a Little Help From My Fwends”—again, an album title worthy of the Lips—is quite a literal designation for the upcoming collection. Coyne told Rolling Stone with blithe optimism, "It's really just a lot of great friends of mine who are all contributing. Sometimes it's two groups doing a song; sometimes it's one. And it's not always the Flaming Lips and someone; sometimes it's just other groups. But I think all that's gonna be great."
Moby and Miley Cyrus are at least two of those friends, and if you pre-order the album by May 18, you’ll receive a free download of a cover of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” featuring both of the artists. The Flaming Lips sampled that collaboration on Wednesday night as they joined Cyrus’s “Bangerz” tour to play live the Beatles’ psychedelic track. Expect the list of “fwends” employed by the band to be as diverse as the outfits in Cyrus's wardrobe.
Some of the proceeds for the album will go to the Bella Foundation, which helps low-income, elderly and terminally ill pet owners in Oklahoma City pay for veterinary care. According to Coyne, the city has desperate need for such aid. It’s an atypical endeavor that is both necessary and heartwarming—seems like the perfect cause for a band that has embraced those same qualities for more than thirty years.