The Flaming Lips Suck Up to '90210'

By Robert Seidenberg
March 10, 1995 at 05:00 AM EST

The Flaming Lips never imagined Lollapalooza would lead to this. Seven months after playing the festival, their two-year-old ”She Don’t Use Jelly,” a trippy ode to Vaseline, tangerines, and toast, is a hit. Now they’re at the Peach Pit After Dark, taping a spot on Beverly Hills, 90210, watching as Valerie (Tiffani-Amber Thiessen) grabs the mike to ”welcome the cool, the crazy, the fabulous, the Flaming Lips.”

This is the kind of absurdity-lip-synching on a show full of spoiled, squeaky-clean kids-the four psychedelic oddballs in their 30s thrive on. ”When they called, we laughed all week,” says singer-guitarist Wayne Coyne. ”We hoped they wouldn’t come to their senses and change their minds.” And when 90210‘s Steve (Ian Ziering) proclaims, ”I’ve never been a fan of alternative music, but this band rocks the house,” they can’t help cracking up.

Still, after seeing what big-time exposure can do, they’re grateful. Following Lips’ tours with Stone Temple Pilots, Candlebox, and Lollapalooza, ”Jelly” entered MTV’s Buzz Bin and their album, 1993’s Transmissions From the Satellite Heart, started climbing the charts.

Perhaps the March 1 spot will ratchet it even higher. (Album sales for R&B trio Jade increased 23 percent the week of their 90210 visit.) ”For many people,” says bassist Michael Ivins, ”this will be the first they’ve heard of us.”

And that’s a win-win situation. ”There is no downside,” says Coyne. ”If people see this as us losing credibility, then they’re trying too hard to be cool. If this is selling out, let’s do it, ’cause it’s funny.”

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