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Flaming Lips: Are they too communist for Oklahoma?

April 23, 2009 |  6:00 pm

Throughout their 25-plus-year career, the Flaming Lips have donned spacesuits and animal costumes on stage. But a T-shirt bearing the symbol of the Communist Party may have been over the line, at least according to some Oklahoma politicians.

The Oklahoman reported earlier today that Michael Ivins' decision to wear a shirt emblazoned with the symbol of the sickle and hammer of the Communist Party (picture here) almost derailed an effort to name the band's "Do You Realize?" as the official state rock song. Approved by the Oklahoma Senate last month 46-0, the resolution was shot down by the Oklahoma House today.

Reports the Oklahoman:

Rep. Corey Holland, R-Marlow, debated against the resolution, saying he was bothered one of the band members wore a red T-shirt with a yellow sickle and hammer on it when The Flaming Lips came last month to the Capitol when results of an online voting contest showed their song to be the clear-cut winner. "I was really offended by that," Holland said.

Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, also spoke against the measure, saying the band has a reputation for using obscene language, recalling band members used offensive language several years ago when the city of Oklahoma City named an alley after the band.

"Their lips ought to be on fire," Reynolds said.

But Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry has apparently come to the band's rescue.

The paper has updated its story to note that Henry will "sign an executive order on Tuesday naming the Flaming Lips song as the official rock song." The Official Oklahoma Rock Song Advisory Panel organized the vote for the official state song, and the Lips' tune received more than 10,000 votes.

Henry said he will honor the vote of the people, and added that the Flaming Lips are "a truly iconic rock 'n' roll band" and "are proud ambassadors of their home state." Amen, governor, as a recount could have put the All-American Rejects against the Call and Leon Russell, and the results probably would not have been pretty. The Flaming Lips' "Do You Realize?" is pure pop romanticism, a mediation of life, love and death, and one that comes with a rather grand orchestration.

From a cubicle in Los Angeles, it's a worthy choice, even if the Flaming Lips are getting a bit ornery these days.

-- Todd Martens

Photo credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times