Reads: Books that Rock!
Staring at Sound: The True Story of Oklahoma's Fabulous Flaming Lips
review by Zane Ewton
Staring at Sound is a pleasant
little book that chronicles the career of the Flaming Lips. Many labels
have been attached to the Lips in their over 20 year career but none more
apparent that "hard-working band."
The book is a glossy read that really never
equates to much more than a long magazine article. Maybe it is the author's
background as a journalist or the simple fact that a quick internet search
would dig up the articles and interviews that provided the basis for the
Needless to say, the writer never scratches
the surface of the Flaming Lips. Their story goes beyond the cliché
of sex, drugs and rock and roll, all though there is a little of that in
there as well. The revolving line-up of musicians, out of control egos,
the environment of alternative music in the eighties and nineties, and
countless other factors could have fleshed the book out and gave it some
Instead, we get a portrait of founding
members Wayne Coyne as an oddly romantic and sentimental freak, the master
of ceremonies and Michael Ivins as the shy guy with enormous hair and an
interest n recording. The other musicians and hangers-on come and go without
ever really impacting the story, apart from Stephen Drozd, whose heroin
addiction and outstanding input within the band's music is treated with
less emotion than a Hallmark commercial.
Therein lies the problem with this book;
it is completely devoid of the passion, wistfulness, humor or any of the
other hundreds of adjectives that can be used to describe the Flaming Lips
There is no connection with the band or
any insight into much of anything. Staring at Sound shouldn't have
been a book it should have been the cover story in a Rolling Stone.
For the casual fan, Staring at Sound
explains the circumstances surrounding each Flaming Lips album, sometimes
providing background into individual songs. Each chapter is broken up between
albums, with the recording and subsequent tour comprising each chapter.
Nothing revelatory can be found for the Flaming Lips faithful. If you are
relatively new to the band, just check out the music, it is far more interesting
than this white bread biography.
CD Info and Links
Staring at Sound: The True Story of
Oklahoma's Fabulous Flaming Lips
the official homepage
articles for this artist
a friend about this review