Published April 25, 2009
Oklahoma legislators who voted against a resolution naming a Flaming Lips tune as the official state rock song represent a minority of "small-minded religious wackos," the band's lead singer said.
Wayne Coyne on Friday weighed in on the controversy surrounding a vote in the state House on a resolution declaring the band's 2002 hit, "Do You Realize??" as the state rock song.
Most House members voted for Senate Joint Resolution 24, but conservatives who said they were offended by the band's clothing and language mustered enough votes to keep the resolution from being adopted.
The Senate voted 46-0 last month for the measure, but a 48-39 vote fell short of the 51 votes needed for passage in the 101-member chamber.
"Me, I just say look, it's a little minority of some small-minded religious wackos who think they can tell people what kind of T-shirts and what kind of music they can listen to, and the smart, rational, reasonable people of Oklahoma are never going to buy into that," Coyne said.
Gov. Brad Henry resolved the issue, announcing he would sign an executive order proclaiming "Do You Realize??" as the official rock song of Oklahoma. It will be signed during a public ceremony Tuesday at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City.
The song earned more than half of the 21,000 votes cast in an online contest involving 10 songs.
Rep. Corey Holland, R-Marlow, said he was offended when band member Michael Ivins wore a red T-shirt with a yellow hammer-and-sickle emblem during a visit to the Capitol on March 2. The hammer and sickle is a traditional symbol of the Communist Party.
"I don't know why he made the choice to do that," Holland said. "The great thing about this country is he has the right to make whatever statement he wants to make. I have the right to be offended by that."
The shirt was a Christmas present to Ivins from Coyne's wife, and he wore it to a rehearsal the band had earlier that day, said Coyne, who took offense at Holland's implication that the band is un-American.
"No, we're not communists," he said.
Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, denounced Coyne for using an expletive at a 2007 event christening Flaming Lips Alley in Bricktown, Oklahoma City's entertainment district.
"These naysayers who want to talk about me saying (profanities) and Michael wearing this T-shirt, everybody can see through how silly this stuff is," Coyne said. "I figured that no matter what happened, people would come to our rescue. People would have a reason to really fight for us and say, `No, this isn't what Oklahoma is all about.' ... And I think the governor is very cool, how he's come to our rescue."
The Grammy-winning group, formed in Norman in 1983, is known for its unique brand of psychedelic rock and lyrics.
The group is scheduled to attend the signing ceremony, which precedes the May 2 grand opening of the "Another Hot Oklahoma Night: A Rock and Roll Exhibit" at the history center, which helped organize the online vote for the Oklahoma Rock Song.