Governor Ready To Back The Flaming Lips

Thursday, April 23rd 2009, 9:50 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A legislative effort to pick a song by the Oklahoma-based alternative rock band Flaming Lips as the official state song was blocked Thursday by conservatives in the state House, who said they were offended by band members' clothing and language.

Almost 11,000 people chose the band's "Do You Realize??" as their choice for the official state song in an online survey in which more than 21,000 people voted from a list of 10 songs
selected by a panel of experts.

The Senate voted 46-0 last month for a resolution making it the official state song, but the House voted 48-39 when it takes at least 51 votes to pass a measure in the 101-member chamber. 

"We might as well have had a stack of their records on the House floor and burned them," said the resolution's House author, Rep. Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs.

"Censorship and voting against the will of the people is alive and well in the state of Oklahoma," Dorman said.

Gov. Brad Henry announced Thursday evening that he will sign an executive order on Tuesday naming the Flaming Lips song as the official rock song. Henry had planned to sign the resolution into law at a Tuesday ceremony that members of the band as well as national music and entertainment writers planned to attend.

Henry said that for more than 20 years the Flaming Lips have produced "creative, fun and provocative rock music."

"The music of the Flaming Lips has earned Grammys, glowing critical acclaim and fans all over the world," the governor said.  "A truly iconic rock n' roll band, they are proud ambassadors of
their home state.  They were clearly the people's choice, and I intend to honor that vote."

The resolution ran into trouble after two lawmakers said they were offended by the Oklahoma City rock band.

Rep. Corey Holland, R-Marlow, said one band member wore a T-shirt bearing a hammer and sickle, a symbol of communism, when the band was introduced in the House earlier this year.

Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, said he was offended by band members' foul language when they were feted at an event last year that was sponsored by city officials.

"Their lips ought to be on fire," Reynolds said. 

Dorman said members of the band live in a free country and can express themselves how they wish. He also said the band's popularity is based on their nonconformity.

"They hate marching to the beat of their own drum," Dorman said following the vote. "I'm very disappointed in this vote. Over 10,000 fans voted for that song. This is one the people brought to us and asked us to pass into law."

In a statement, the band's manager, Scott Booker of Hellfire Enterprises LTD of Edmond, said that only a minority of House members voted against the resolution.

"As many people around the world know, the Flaming Lips are proud to be from Oklahoma," Booker said. "Regardless of what the minority in the House of Representatives wish, the Flaming Lips remain proud ambassadors of the state."

The chairman of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee, Rep. Ken Miller, R-Edmond, said he voted against the resolution and believes many House members were offended by the T-shirt display.

Republican House Speaker Chris Benge of Tulsa, who voted for the resolution, said he believes the vote does not indicate that some House members are out of touch with their constituents.

"I was a little surprised it didn't pass," Benge said. "It's sometimes hard to predict what's going to happen out there on the House floor. Once you bring something out in that political atmosphere, it's subject to a lot of factors."