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BOTCHED: OKC's "Fearless Freak" blows it in RS interview

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Wayne Coyne prays for divine intervention at this point ...
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OKLAHOMA CITY – If you want to get seriously depressed, read Rolling Stone’s exclusive interview with Wayne Coyne, post-Pink Pony. The “fearless freak” has truly snapped. What is truly at the core of this mid-life meltdown, only Wayne can say.

Again, it's a depressing interview. Defensive. Condescending. And, frankly, hateful. Sadly, Wayne Coyne has seemingly become what he claims to hate. Why? I can only speculate. Talking to people who know him they indicate it's because for three decades he's surrounded himself with sycophants and scenester elites and as a result he has lost any real perspective. I suspect that's only part of what is going on here.

On a positive note, I can say that we support his comments in the Rolling Stone piece that are critical of the overpopulation of cats and dogs in Oklahoma CIty and that he does support the valiant efforts of the Central Oklahoma Humane Society. We stand alongside him on that subject.

But in the wake of his reported laughter at Native American protesters at the Norman Music Festival and his infantile behavior and negativity since then, even with the PR-speak in the Rolling Stone piece, it comes across as forced. So, what happened?

As some have said, Wayne is now the “Ted Nugent of indie-rock.” That's pretty harsh. But Ted had roots in the 1960's psychedelic-rock scene in Michigan with the Amboy Dukes, so there's that ...  

But seriously, Wayne Coyne has not handled this situation well at all, supporting Christina Fallin and Pink Pony and dismissing his former drummer out-of-hand. It's difficult to read and to understand. And then there was his insenstive behavior following the Christina headdress incident and the dog-in-a-headdress image he put on Instagram, further inflaming a situation that he could have handled in a sensitive manner.

And while fired Flaming Lips drummer Kliph Scurlock has clarified his Pitchfork/Facebook statements about Wayne by emphatically stating he is not a racist, Scurlock does not back down entirely. I sense a guy who is simply trying to move on with his life. 

Sure, Wayne apologizes for offending people and even admits Pink Pony sucks. But he defends Christina Fallin while adding he didn't vote for her mom. Umm. Okay. He still sounds like an out-of-touch narcissist. 

As Wayne told Rolling Stone's Patrick Doyle: "I understand now that if I'm a spokesperson for any kind of behavior, I shouldn't have done it, and I regret doing it now. I am sorry. I realize now that it goes deeply to the heart of some Native Americans. And I definitely regret it. I don't publicly ever say it, but I live in a neighborhood that was predominantly Native American in the late Seventies and Eighties. I haven't done it publicly, but there's cases of me helping Native Americans. It's all just Internet hate, you know?"

Meanwhile, Scurlock, back in Lawrence, Kansas, states that he will continue to make music with his friends and that he is happier to be away from the “unhealthy scene” that surrounds the Lips.

Writes Scurlock: “And I have enough money saved up to survive for 4-6 months, so I don't need to figure anything out right this second. I don't have an extravagant lifestyle, so I can live pretty cheaply. I rent a house with 2 wonderful roommates and my rent is $500 a month. And I don't consider myself "above" working a "straight" job; I (like every other person on this planet) would just much rather get paid to do something I love.”

And Wayne? He totally blasts the guy at every chance, calling him a liar, bully and a hater, while defending his “friend” Christina Fallin. It’s embarrassing and sad.

One example: “Kliph was fired because of a thousand hateful things that he's done. And he just wasn't a very significant musical part of the Flaming Lips anyway. I think the day after we fired him, we played a show in New Orleans without him. Steven's the drummer. Anybody that listens to those records and think they're hearing Kliph, they're hearing Steven. And Steven is with us and will always be with us.”

And out with the trash goes Kliph.

And just as Rolling Stones bassist Darryl Jones is on a salary and doesn’t appear in band photos typically, Kliph Scurlock was allegedly considered a full member and did appear in band photos. So, to dismiss his role or say he was insignificant is disingenuous at best. What would Mick and Keith say about Darryl were he to be fired? Well, we do know what the Glimmer Twins thought of Brian Jones ...

Ultimately, this all comes back to Wayne and how he treats people, so "beware" whoever the next drummer(s) is/are. Know that depending on Wayne's mood, you are more expendable than Spinal Tap's spontaneously-combusting drummer Mick Shrimpton.

I want to add that Steven Drozd, Michael Ivins and Derek Brown are good guys and good musicians. I don't know them, but I sense they are doing their best in a situation where Wayne's antics are putting them in a bad spot. 

So after waiting a week or so for him to offer a serious, heartfelt apology, me and plenty of others came away from this RS interview with a certain level of disgust. Many are just seriously bummed out. Outsider and weirdo Wayne was their hero. Hell, he stayed in Oklahoma City all this time and brought the spotlight to this windswept prairie town. 

And after many years of supporting the psychedelic trip offered by the Lips, I'm coming away from this whole incident with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. A bad trip, if you will. It's that feeling that seems to elude Wayne Coyne and Christina Fallin. I wish it wasn't the case.

Please read Frances Danger's guest column "The Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne puts a dog in a Native American headdress. Here's why it matters" to get a perspective on this issue from a Native American from here in Oklahoma City.


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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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