Staring at Sound: The True Story of Oklahoma's Fabulous Flaming Lips
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Staring at Sound: The True Story of Oklahoma's Fabulous Flaming Lips

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  182 ratings  ·  23 reviews
An engrossing and intimate portrait of the Oklahoma-based psychedelic pop band the Flaming Lips, cult heroes to millions of indie-rock fans.

In July 2002, the Flaming Lips released an ambitious album called Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, which merged elements of orchestral pop, electronic dance music, and old-fashioned psychedelic rock with lyrical themes that were simult...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Three Rivers Press (first published March 14th 2006)
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My love for the Lips sprouted in 2007, when, at a coffee shop in southern Texas a friend of mine (was he a friend? I don't remember his name) hijacked my MacBook and implanted a digital copy of The Soft Bulletin into iTunes. Unlike the author of this book, music critic Jim Derogatis, who seems to have followed the band closely at least since the late 1980s, I came to know the band's various albums in the order I could find them (Yoshimi second; the Ego Tripping EP third; Satellite Heart fourth;...more
I learned more than I really needed to know about my favorite band, but they are my favorite band.
I've only read one other of DeRogatis's books - his history of psychedelic rock (published first as "Kaleidoscope Eyes", then revised as "Turn On Your Mind..."). I quite enjoyed that and while I didn't agree with all of his opinions, he's a solid enough writer to make the subject matter engaging at all times.

"Staring At Sound" doesn't let you down that much, either. He tackles the long history of The Flaming Lips without bogging down in too much detail. I personally found the earlier years more...more
the flaming lips have been a source of great debate among most of the people i know who are very into listening to, talking about, dissecting, and ruminating about music. for those of you who have been with the band since the early days ( i first started listening to them in 1992 and they seemed ancient then) the evolution of the band is undeniable. some still prefer the early love/noise sound, the ronald jones era and despise the later orchestral, less darkness, incarnation that is all over the...more
Mar 29, 2009 dirt rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Guys with headaches who accidently save the world
You might be on the right track if people think what you're doing is weird.

These past few weeks I went on a Flaming Lips bender. I used to be a huge fan in high school and college, but love for them waned after the borderline adult contemporary release of Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. Then three weeks ago I was reading Wayne Coyne's essay in This I Believe II and it jump started something in my mind and heart. I listened to the latest Lips album At War with the Mystics and it practically brou...more
I'd classify my self as a huge Flaming Lips fan, until I compare myself to the super fans they have, and then I'm just like medium-well. This book made me happy. I listened to each of the albums as DeRogatis worked though them and I heard new and interesting bits and pieces I'd never heard before. I kept reading chunks out loud to my husband until he told me to quit it because he now wanted to read it when I was done. There was a lot of new information and I was actually still entertained - unli...more
Liz Berry
Sep 21, 2008 Liz Berry rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: fLippy fans
I really enjoyed reading this as it answered a lot of questions that I had about pivotal moments in the band's history as well as the personal lives of the members: when did Wayne get together with Michelle, who are the other special ladies in the other guys' lives, etc.

The only thing I didn't like was the musical dissection of the albums -- obviously I know what they sound like or I wouldn't be interested enough in them to read a whole BOOK about them.

Overall, it was very easy to read and get i...more
Mar 24, 2007 Ryan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: anyone who loves music
this is a great rock n roll book, and a well-reported and researched look at the Flaming Lips. anyone from Oklahoma will get extra jollies from the stories about places and people you know. and there's lots of Okie culture stuff that DeRogatis gets surprisingly right.
This is a glowing portrayal of the Lips, one of the great bands of the last 25 years, but it could have used some more balance. DeRogatis doesn't quite veer into hagiography, but it's an authorized biography after all, and he clearl...more
If i idolize anyone, it's probably Wayne Coyne, or The Flaming Lips as an entity. This book is an easy, quick, interesting read. Derogatis's writing flows well- i would often realize it was late, and that i probably needed to sleep... i'd flip ahead to see how many pages were left in the chapter... 12? 15? They flew by. The later chapters seemed a bit sparse compared to the earlier ones, but all in all, i really like this book.
Jun 11, 2007 Jim rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: indie music nerds
This was a pleasant surprise. People who don't like the Flaming Lips probably have no interest in this book. but if you're curious about the band's history, this book paints a pretty complete picture. And it's not just the soap opera "behind the scenes" drama: there's a lot of interesting stuff in here about the band in the studio.

Although if you like soap opera rock stuff, the bashing of Beck will probably whet your appetite.
While I loved reading the story of the Flaming Lips, I absolutely hated the writer. Generally when I read a biography I like the author to keep himself out of the story unless the story is supposed to include him which wasn't the case here. There was way too much editorializing for my taste and I felt that he included certain details that weren't key components in the story just because he dug up some dirt.
I love the flaming lips and this book definitely adds a lot of the background to their legend. derogatis knows his shit about bands and he has an intimate history with the lips, so the book is honest. which means sometimes brutal (sorry, wayne's ego). good read for any fan though, for sho'.
Marissa Barbieri
I bought this just before moving and it somehow got lost in the shuffle for awhile there. I ADORE the Lips, and have heard good things from other fanatics about this book - now I just have to wait for the urge to read about some "facts" again.
Great band with an absolutely fascinating history. DeRogatis did a great job on this one. Together with the Fearless Freaks documentary it gives a great insight into this unique band.
Being a proud, born and bread Okie, I take a lot of pride in The Flaming Lips and have been a fan and listened to their music for going on a couple of decades now. Despite my familiarity with the band, their various stages of sound, the comings and goings of band members--I still found this history a worthy addition to the genre of rock biographies. My personal favorite era of the shape-shifting history of the band is the Ronald Jones on guitar diptych of "Transmissions from the Satellite Heart"...more
A decent biography of one of the greatest bands mankind has produced. I would have liked more of an insight into Steven Drozd, as he is a musical genius, but was still very satisfied with the book.
intriguing overview of the brand's history and eccentricities. album by album. only just an average fan of Flaming Lips music and got hooked into their story.
Chris Meger
I've always loved the Flaming Lips. After reading this book, I only love them more.
Absolutely excellent book; anyone who likes the Lips should read it!
Fantastic and incredible story, what a cool band!!
Fully-authorized and well-done by a real Lips fan.
An amazing story about a great GREAT band!
Nicholas Why
Nicholas Why is currently reading it
Apr 04, 2014
Herb Higson
Herb Higson marked it as to-read
Feb 15, 2014
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James "Jim" DeRogatis (born 1964 in Jersey City, New Jersey) is an American music critic. DeRogatis has written articles for magazines such as Spin, Guitar World and Modern Drummer. He is also the Pop Music Critic for the Chicago Sun-Times. He often tries to separate himself from other music critics by promoting bands that have not yet become widely popular, but are close to doing so.

More about Jim Derogatis...
Let it Blurt: The Life and Times of Lester Bangs, America's Greatest Rock Critic Milk It: Collected Musings on the Alternative Music Explosion of the '90s Kill Your Idols: A New Generation of Rock Writers Reconsiders the Classics Turn on Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock Kaleidoscope Eyes: Psychedelic Rock from the '60s to the '90s

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