A Long Strange Month
What’s it like to be a member of Psychedelic Pop cult heroes The Flaming Lips? November’s Lips’ headlines offered a fittingly bizarre glimpse. The band saw its Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots album turned into a stage musical, released a full remake of King Crimson’s debut album and headed up a War of the Worlds-like “radio drama” broadcast (in conjunction with McSweeney’s) called “Wayne Coyne’s Human Head-Shaped Tumor.” Frontman Coyne also found time to shut down an entire terminal of the Oklahoma City airport after a grenade was found in his luggage (the “gift” was eventually determined to be deactivated). An inconvenienced traveler suggested payback in the form of an acid trip with Coyne and Yoko Ono. Coyne told Pitchfork he was down for the trip. Hopefully a grenade-free one this time. (If you'd like your very own replica of the grenade, click here.)
When excitable rocker Andrew W.K.
wrote online that he was asked by the State Department to go to the Middle East as part of a cultural exchange program — to be what he called the “Cultural Ambassador of Partying” — it seemed too weird to be true. That didn’t stop numerous websites (including Pitchfork and The Huffington Post) from running with stories about W.K.’s deployment based solely on that one post. Other outlets decided to verify W.K.’s claims; the DCist blog was told by officials that, while W.K. was invited to visit an embassy in Bahrain, the invitation was rescinded once officials checked out his “wild oeuvre.” W.K. tweeted his disappointment that the trip was cancelled, saying it was because he’s “too party.”
The Not-Particularly-Friendly Skies
Pop megastar Rihanna doesn’t need a costly publicity stunt to sell albums, but Def Jam still arranged an outlandish one recently. The ambitious “777 Tour” took the singer to seven countries for seven concerts in seven days on a 777 jet. The label invited 150 entertainment reporters to tag along, promising face time with the largely press-shy singer, but reports from the trip were more “nightmare travelogue” than “exclusive superstar profile,” as the press corps became increasingly frustrated with the total lack of access to the star. So if you make the press hate you, does it hurt sales? No. The album, ironically titled Unapologetic,