Jake Ingalls: Letterman, Lennons, and the Lips

Memphian on Letterman with the Flaming Lips and Sean Lennon

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Memphian Jake Ingalls is a touring member of the Flaming Lips. Last night, the Houston High graduate and the Lips played "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" on the David Letterman Show. The band was accompanied by Sean Lennon. For Ingalls, 22, it didn't seem like a big deal after a few years playing music at the highest level. His band Spaceface has a Valentine's Night show/food drive with Athens' New Madrid at the Sanctuary that reveals strong roots in Memphis. See our Q&A below.



Flyer: You had a big day yesterday.


Jake Ingalls: Yes sir. It’s been a big couple of days. We did Amnesty International before [Letterman]. We’ve done our load out three times in the last 48 hours. We pretty much didn’t sleep for three days. Amnesty International was with Yoko Ono, we played a song with her and her son. We loaded out from that and went straight to the David Letterman load in, and then into the Vance Warehouse in Brooklyn for a modern super-jam advertisement with Ben Folds. It was pretty cool.

What about the show here?

Valentines Day. We are doing a canned goods drive for the MidSouth Food Bank. We’re playing with New Madrid. We had this idea we should celebrate the relationship between these two bands on Valentine’s Day in Memphis. It’s at Cooper Walker Place. There’s a big sanctuary above the Abbey. 

You’re on the road with a fun band. Talk about having to pack out.

Well Spaceface does a big production too. The Lips have been my favorite band since before puberty. It went ‘I want to be Bat Man’ to Willie Wonka straight into the Flaming Lips are the best band ever. It’s a dream come true. But growing up and watching them do crazy stuff all the time, it had a huge impression on me. I always knew when I started a band that I wanted to be more than a bunch of dudes standing there playing instruments. We have a pretty large rig. We have roller disco lights. Our guitarist’s dad had a friend who was a DJ in the ’70s and had this roller disco light that he gave us. Our friend Big Red sits behind the amps and keys it up when we are playing. I wouldn’t want to book a giant sanctuary unless we were going to do it up, and we’re going to do it up. 

What’s it like playing with Sean Lennon?

We’ve played and hung out with him before. On my first tour with the Lips, his band was opening for a solid month. He was just hanging around. At first it was like ‘Oh my god, what am I supposed to say to that guy.’ Now it’s like he’s just a nice dude. He’s a good-spirited person.

You played with Tame Impala!

We were just in New York a month ago with them. That was a dream lineup. Then we did a tour with White Denim, Tame Impala, and the Flaming Lips. I kept telling those guys I had a dream when I was 17 that this show happened. But Ghost of a Sabertooth Tiger opened up those shows with the Lips and Tame Impala. Everybody was digging it.

[Tame Impala] are this really well-oiled machine. They’re all really tight, and there’s this clear focus on how the sound of every instrument is onstage and through the PA. Which is a crazy thing for me to see. It gives them their sound. The juxtaposition to me was hilarious. With the Lips, you plug something in and instantly Wayne says ‘Crank that shit up.’ Everything is at 11 all the time. It works for us. But it was insane watching Tame Impala. I was jealous of them. Not only are the one of the best bands that I've been getting into in the past couple of years, they’re also the humblest and coolest dudes I’ve ever met. It was insane to me how rad they were. 

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