MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

April 12, 2013

Flaming Lips song loses state status


Associated Press

— OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Gov. Mary Fallin has taken The Flaming Lips' "Do You Realize??" out of rotation, pulling the tune as Oklahoma's official rock song in a move that her office says has more to do with priorities than musical taste.

The Republican passed on renewing an executive order that gave the song the designation when she took office in January 2011, the governor's office confirmed Friday. Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz said the governor had other more pressing priorities.

"When the governor was elected to office, we had a $500 million budget shortfall, we were in the middle of a recession, and we had a huge number of pardon and parole cases left over from the (former Gov. Brad) Henry administration," Weintz said. "As we were clearing our backlog, renewing executive orders and pursuing our priorities, addressing the state rock 'n' roll song did not make the cut."

Fallin renewed dozens of executive orders when she took office, including some dating back to the 1950s.

Her predecessor, Henry, a Democrat, signed an executive order proclaiming the tune Oklahoma's official rock song in 2009 after the Republican-controlled House rejected a resolution to do it.

At least one lawmaker at the time complained that a member of the Oklahoma band wore a T-shirt bearing a hammer and sickle, a symbol of communism, while visiting the state Capitol. Another said he was offended by lead singer Wayne Coyne's foul language when the rockers were honored at an event sponsored by Oklahoma City officials.

Telephone messages left Friday for The Flaming Lips' manager and agent were not immediately returned.

Almost 11,000 people picked "Do You Realize??" as their choice in a survey in which more than 21,000 people voted from a list of 10 songs selected by a panel of experts.

Rep. Joe Dorman said the move by Fallin, which he called a political one, was disappointing.

"I'm sure it's politically motivated to make her look more conservative," said Dorman, D-Rush Springs, who sponsored the resolution for the rock song three years ago. "The sad thing is it was done in fun to bring attention to Oklahoma's history of rock 'n' roll.

"It's just a shame, because so many people voted in that survey, and it was just fun and lighthearted."