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Miley Cyrus collaboration raises eyebrows of Flaming Lips fans

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Flaming Lips takes a bit of pride in doing "weird" things with its music. Or at least things other people consider weird.

"If someone thinks it's strange that means we're doing something original, which we like," says frontman Wayne Coyne, who co-founded the arty Oklahoma group 31 years ago. But even by Flaming Lips' standards, some of its current projects are REALLY out there.

Coyne and company are in the midst of creating a new version of the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," which follows Lips recreations of Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon" and Stone Roses' debut album. Several other artists are involved in the project, but the first blush -- "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" with Miley Cyrus, a collaboration debuted on last month's Billboard Music Awards -- has really raised eyebrows.

"It's all mostly from her," says Coyne, 53. "Back when she was still considered Hannah Montana I was aware she -- and her whole family, for that matter -- liked the Flaming Lips. And with someone like her, when they tweet something about you it goes to, like, 20 million people who then go, 'Hey, who are these guys...' "

Coyne says a tweet from Cyrus on his birthday in January led to some direct communication, which subsequently led to her getting into the studio wtih the band for the Beatles song and other recording. "Mostly, she's just cool," Coyne reports. "She really loves music and loves doing interesting things. And she gets to control her own stuff. She's the one saying, 'I'm doing this,' 'I want to do this,' and that isn't true of everybody, especially in the kind of (pop) world she inhabits."

Coyne says Cyrus has done a couple days of recording with the Lips and is planning on doing more during the summer, when both are off the road. But the end result, he says, is anybody's guess.

"I think we'll end up working on a lot of music," Coyne predicts. "If someone records with me, they don't usually ask, 'What's gonna happen?' or say, 'Well, if I'm recording with you, we're gonna put this out.' We're just like being around each other and having fun and are interested in the way each other are doing things.

"I don't know if it'll be any good. It's just the sense that, 'Yeah, this is what we're doing, and we'll see what turns out.' That's the way we like to work, generally, and I don't think that'll ever change."

Flaming Lips and Morgan Delt perform Thursday, June 12, at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets $49.50 and $36.50. Call 313-961-5450 or visit www.livenation.com.


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