Sound Bites: The Flaming Lips, The Who, R.E.M.

Flaming Lips Bring Christmas to Mars

Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne is taking his loopy aesthetic to the world of cinema, according to band Web site "This is intended to be a full independent feature," the site says of the film, whose subject will be the first Christmas on Mars. "They are currently sorting out screen testing, effects testing, props, and the like, and also looking for further backing for the filming costs." Drummer Steven Drozd will reportedly star, Coyne will play a Martian, and the other members of the band will probably also appear in the project. The group has also reportedly begun work on its follow-up to 1999's The Soft Bulletin, though Coyne and Co. are known for taking their time in the studio.

Saluting The Who

Pearl Jam, David Bowie, and Sheryl Crow will all contribute tracks to Substitute — The Songs of The Who, the first tribute album to get the green light from Who songwriter Pete Townsend. Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder will substitute his booming voice for Roger Daltrey's in "The Kids Are Alright," while Bowie will interpret "Pictures of Lily." Crow is penciled in for "Behind Blue Eyes," Fastball will perform "The Real Me," and Phish will perform "5:15."

R.E.M., Santana Sign South African AIDS Petition

Big-name acts R.E.M., Sarah McLachlan, and Carlos Santana have signed an Internet petition, sponsored by Doctors Without Borders, asking 39 pharmaceutical companies to drop their lawsuits over AIDS legislation in South Africa. Former South African president Nelson Mandela signed new laws in 1997 to improve his country's access to medicine to combat AIDS, but the drug companies insist the laws violate their rights. The petition, posted at, will be presented to the companies at a press conference on April 17.