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Flaming Lips rock for Tibet

The Tibet House U.S. Benefit Concert commemorates a fifth century prayer festival from Tibetan Buddhism called Monlam, which is said to promote peace and harmony.

The Tibet House U.S. Benefit Concert commemorates a fifth century prayer festival from Tibetan Buddhism called Monlam, which is said to promote peace and harmony. Composer Philip Glass selected artists like Michael Stipe, The Roots, Taj Mahal, Patti Smith and The Flaming Lips to perform, and proceeds go towards the preservation of the endangered Tibetan culture.

“It’s that assemblage of people that made me want to do it,” says Flaming Lips singer Wayne Coyne. “I know that sounds bad.”

He chuckles to himself, sounding almost surprised by his trademark sincerity.

“I’m glad that Tibet still exists, and I’m glad there’s a consciousness about it nee-ding constant help and care,” he continues. “But for me, it’s always a selfish musical thing of, ‘S—, that’d be cool! We get to do music with some cool people!’”

This sincerity seems to be a trait among all Flaming Lips. As conversation turns to individuals on the bill, Coyne recalls when Lips drummer and multi-instrumentalist Steven Drozd shared his candid thoughts with a magazine in Athens, Ga., about the town’s flagship band, R.E.M.

“He said honestly that he doesn’t like their new records, but he really loves their old records,” says Coyne. “And when we’ve been around Michael Stipe he’s made it clear that he doesn’t like our drummer.”

But Coyne is hoping that tomorrow they can celebrate the peace and harmony that is the root of the Tibetan celebration: “We’re thinking that Michael Stipe will be there and if we get the chance, we’ll say hi and act like nothing’s wrong.”

Put out the Fire

R.E.M. isn’t the only band that the Lips have spoken frankly about in the press. Two years ago, Coyne said Arcade Fire bothered him. Arcade Fire singer Win Butler took to the Web to express his dismay at the remarks, and thus a Flaming/Fire feud was born. So what’s Coyne say about Arcade Fire winning the Grammy for Album of the Year?

“Good for them,” he says. “I don’t listen to their music that much, but I have secretly met up with Win Butler. … We both agreed that it was a lot funner for bands to be bickering and having fights and have people thinking I’m kicking the TV in when they win.”

 
 
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