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Flaming controversy erupts over Okla.’s official rock song

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma lawmakers who voted against making a Flaming Lips tune the official state rock song represent a minority of “small-minded religious wackos,” the band’s lead singer says.

Most state House members voted for a resolution recognizing 2002′s “Do You Realize??,” but conservatives who said they were offended by the band’s clothing and language mustered enough votes to keep it from being adopted.

“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,’ ” frontman Wayne Coyne told Tulsa World in an interview Friday.

Gov. Brad Henry resolved the issue by announcing he would sign an executive order proclaiming “Do You Realize??” the official rock song of Oklahoma. The song earned more than half of the 21,000 votes cast in an online contest.

The Grammy-winning group, formed in Norman in 1983, is known for its psychedelic rock and lyrics.

Rep. Corey Holland, R-Marlow, was offended when band member Michael Ivins wore a red T-shirt with a yellow hammer-and-sickle emblem, a traditional symbol of the Communist Party, during a visit to the Capitol last month.

“The great thing about this country is he has the right to make whatever statement he wants to make,” Holland said. “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 earlier that day, said Coyne, who was offended by Holland’s implication that the band is un-American.

Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, also denounced Coyne for using an expletive at an event.

Despite the criticism, Coyne said he always expected state residents to stand up for their native sons.

“People would have a reason to really fight for us and say, ‘No, this isn’t what Oklahoma is all about,’ ” Coyne said. “And I think the governor is very cool, how he’s come to our rescue.”

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