12 September 2007
#3--The Fearless Freaks
dir: Bradley Beasley, 2005
Items I discovered about The Flaming Lips after watching The Fearless Freaks:
1. Essentially, The Flaming Lips are hicks who wound up creating an alternate persona for themselves as a means of survival.
2. Ronald Jones, the Lips' bassist, used to have an amazing head of luscious, afro-tastic hair. Then he went bald.
3. Wayne Coyne likes to hear himself talk. A lot.
4. Wayne Coyne's wife looks just as odd as he does.
5. Steven Drozd is missing some teeth.
6. The Flaming Lips faked it all in their early incarnation and, yet, somehow ended up weathering the trials of a young touring band and became better with age.
7. Wayne Coyne likes to curse. A lot.
7. The Flaming Lips genuinely enjoy playing the music they create.
True, I have left off a good many items from this list that will be surprises to first time Lips fans (e.g., Drozd's infamous heroin scene, Coyne giving us the tour of the Long John Silvers where he worked for 11 years as a fry cook). But in actuality, those tidbits don't matter when it comes to the masochistic spectacle that is The Flaming Lips.
I've missed seeing them in concert twice now; once, because I went to see Neko Case instead and another time I almost won backstage passes and tickets to their show (that's another story, though). After watching The Fearless Freaks and having seen the Lips on Austin City Limits (PBS, ya'll), I have no need of seeing them live. To me they peaked at The Soft Bulletin; Yoshimi and Mystics are only mediocre with a serious tilt towards boring. Their live shows are the meat here, as you genuinely experience what they offer. And while I applaud them for remaining childlike in an un-fairy tale-esque world, I can only go with them for a few hours--the exact length of this doc. Any longer and I might grow mutton chops and hang out on Haight and Ashbury playing a Green Day songs on acoustic guitar (well...I really only know one, The Time of Your Life--you know that one they played during the last episode of Seinfeld?).
Is The Fearless Freaks worthwhile? Yes. Will I always admire the Flaming Lips for what they've done and probably buy their albums or DVDs again? Yes. Will I be traveling to Oklahoma soon? No. Have I just convinced myself to give At War with the Mystics another listen? Sure. But not perform I brush up on my Green Day.