The Flaming Lips Present...The Gummy Skull!!

(Photo by Angela De Marco)

You wouldn't think that a band like The Flaming Lips would have come from Oklahoma back in the 80's, much less carved out a three-decade career at the major label level. The fact that they are still a vital, ongoing concern is proof that not all who choose to color outside of the lines get crushed by the gravity of mainstream normalcy. Near as we can tell, their tenure with mighty giant Warner Brothers Records saw the band make nary a concession to conventional wisdom. Instead, we were treated to one strange musical trip after another - from the 4-CD set Zaireeka (all four CD's meant to be played simultaneously on four different players to achieve maximum effect) to the groundbreaking musical statement that was The Soft Bulletin.

For any who think the band may have slowed the pace, or lost a step as they venture into their fourth decade of operation, the Lips (and their cult of mega-devoted fans) will kindly beg to differ. First off this year, the band re-recorded Pink Floyd's brilliant career-defining opus Dark Side Of The Moon in its entirety. If that weren't enough, the band will also be performing the album in its entirety at Dave Matthews' Caravan Festival in July.

Not weird enough for ya?

Okay, then you may just want to feast your eyes on the packaging for the band's new collection of music. Nicknamed The Gummy Skull, the band's new EP, if you will, comes on a USB drive housed within a custom-made full-size gummy bear skull. To get to the music, you've got to eat your way through the skull.

Me thinks a fair amount of cannabis was smoked in hatching that idea. Of course, the main difference between the Lips and lesser chemically-enhanced bands is that they actually wake up the next day and not only remember the crazy shit they came up with the night beforel, but then they take steps to make it a reality. Can you imagine trying to find a company to manufacture gummy bear skulls? Where would one look in the Yellow Pages for that?

Thankfully, the band happened upon such a manufacturer right in their own backyard. As if that weren't enough, it turns out the man behind the company capable of creating the edible skulls is a fan of the band. An arrangment was soon reached and, earlier this year, the band began selling The Gummy Skull via their website.

The downside, of course, is that the skull costs $150 and the USB drive it houses contains a mere four songs. Also, the band has promised to make very limited quantities of the skulls available on a weekly basis, but, as of late, they seem to have fallen a little behind on that promise. Maybe being out on tour might have something to do with this. Still, it would be nice to get our hands on one before we spend the money on Ju Ju Fruits and Pop Rocks - neither of which will come with any cool music at all.

Why only four songs on the USB drive, though? One would think this to be the move of a more conventional band. Obviously, the Lips wish to make the music exclusive to those who buy the skull. If they made the songs available on their own, they might not sell as many skulls. So, the conventional thinking would be to include just enough music to make the whole package seem workable to fans eager to eat their way to the new music. The unconventional thinking (for which the Lips are known and loved) would have been to include at least a full album's worth of material.

Give the diehard fans something to really sink their teeth into, pun intended.

While none are currently available, as the LINK to acquire them currently reads "ACCESS DENIED. You are not authorized to access this page.", we are hopeful that this will change in the near future.

Gummy Song Skull track listing:

1. Drug Chart
2. In Our Bodies, Out Of Our Heads
3. Walk With Me
4. Hillary's Time Machine Machine?

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