Connecting with The Flaming Lips front man Wayne Coyne on SpongeBob, Miley Cyrus and more

Flaming Lips Photo provided by George Salisbury

Ever since The Flaming Lips’ spaceship blasted off in the mid-1980s, Wayne Coyne and company have constructed one of the most unique and instantly recognizable concoctions of psychedelic, alternative, experimental and indie rock to ever emerge from the underground. Along the way, the group scored the fluke hit “She Don’t Use Jelly” in 1993, turned in the landmark album “Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots” in 2002 (which boasted the breakout track “Do You Realize??”) and garnered credits as diverse as “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie” soundtrack to collaborating with Miley Cyrus on numerous occasions.

Though the band continues to record and tour at a frenetic pace, often times headlining the world’s largest festivals, Coyne was able to clock out for a bit on Father’s Day and catch the pre-Broadway premiere of “The SpongeBob Musical.” However, it wasn’t only a fuzzy reunion with his favorite yellow pal, but as the front man told Chicago Concert Reviews on the yellow carpet, it was also his chance to hear the cast perform The Flaming Lips-penned tune “Tomorrow Is” for the very first time.

Man I run into people- I call them kids now, but they’re like 18-years-old- and they’ll say “the first time I ever heard you was your ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ song when I was five years old.”

Flaming Lips

Photo by Andy Argyrakis

I’ve been covering you since the days of the Riviera and the Aragon right up through Lollapalooza, so this is a treat.

Wayne Coyne: Wow, that’s a long time!

But this is a unique environment because we’re not at a rock show today. We’re at a Broadway musical. What’s your take on that?

Coyne: Yeah but SpongeBob SquarePants, that’s kind of rock n’ roll don’t you think?

Well I suppose.

Coyne: We had a song that was in the very first “SpongeBob SquarePants Movie” [called “SpongeBob & Patrick Confront The Psychic Wall Of Energy”], so you know we’ve been slightly connected. I can’t claim any responsibility for its success or anything, but I mean we’ve been connected with it for a little bit. Man I run into people- I call them kids now, but they’re like 18-years-old- and they’ll say “the first time I ever heard you was your ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ song when I was five years old.” And I’m, like, “oh yeah, there you go.”

Not “She Don’t Use Jelly”?

Coyne: Well I don’t think they were born then. They would be old by now! (laughter)

Tell me about being part of this all-star studded soundtrack.

Coyne: I’m not sure who’s all on it. I remember seeing lists, but I didn’t know who all made the cut.

David Bowie, members of Aerosmith, Cyndi Lauper, They Might Be Giants, John Legend and many more. You’re in some great company.

Coyne: I think so. Yeah, for sure.

So what are you most excited about seeing the show?

Coyne: Well I’m excited about our song. We did it as a demo knowing that there are going to be the singers and all that. We did it about three years ago now, so it’s been a long time in the making and I haven’t heard it beyond that. I keep thinking that it’s going to play here and then someone’s gonna say “you know, it’s a couple songs too long” and then our song’s gonna get cut out.

For what it’s worth, I vote that they keep it! So what’s next for your and the Lips in the meantime?

Coyne: I really don’t even know. We’re always doing so much stuff. We played just last night in Minneapolis and now we’re here. We’re doing a new record and we’re recording Miley Cyrus’ new record with her. I don’t know. It always just seems like we’re doing a billion things.

What’s she like to work with? You’ve done some collabs lately on your “With a Little Help from My Fwends” album and her “Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz” project.

Coyne: She’s like a cartoon character for sure, but the best cartoon character ever. She’s wonderful. I think anybody that’s ever worked with her knows that already. I think she gets a lot of flak because she’s such a flamboyant, outspoken freak, but she’s absolutely wonderful and I’m so glad that I get to be around her and make music with her and be part of her world. You know really, she’s like SpongeBob SquarePants, but she’s a real person.

Click here for “The SpongeBob Musical” Yellow Carpet photos from the Oriental Theatre.

For additional information on The Flaming Lips, visit

“The SpongeBob Musical” continues various dates and times at the Oriental Theatre through July 10. For additional details, visit and