The Flaming Lips
Wayne Coyne continues to provide a tense
theatrical backdrop to the more conventional morphages of
rock. His last record with The Flaming Lips , The Soft Bulletin
maintained not only his lofty disregard for the mainstream
but also more than firmly chisled out his niche as narrative
crafsman, both with regard to his output on record and to
his beautifully conceived stage theatre. What follows is a
little look back to the vaults.
The full entire transcirpt of this interview can be found
at the official Flaming Lips site. The interview was actually
conducted as long ago as 1996, but with developments in technology
Crud has been able remaster it. And perhaps - maybe add something
in the process.
Drew: Are drugs an important
part of your existence and music:
Wayne: (shocked) Drugs?
You mean like aspirin, right?
Drew: So, you're not a
psychedelic band then - whatever that means
Wayne: No, no... people
seem to associate the event of your imagination veering away
from whatever is `normal' to like "Oh, that's because they
take drugs, or whatever.... Or any time that you seem to veer
into anything that has maybe a couple of melodies going on,
people seem to think that's psychedelic. and, well, sure -
if you think that's what psychedelic is. To me, I've always
thought of psychedelic as being... you know - kinda The Carpenters
and stuff like that. You remember that really core trippin'
song they had? Interstellarplanetarymostextraordinarycrap?
Yeah? There's a line you don't cross..and I always use that
song as somekind of measure. Y'know? It's out there. It's
just crazy. So, I don't really think of us as being sort of
psychedelic. We just like to do lots of different types of
songs - just.........
Drew: Interesting stuff?
Wayne: No. Not really.
Just things that come our heads.
Drew: Things like...I
Wayne: Look. I get all
goosepimply and nauseous just thinking about blacmange. Y'know
what I'm sayin'?
Drew:So, why do you write
songs about animals and jelly and stuff.
Wayne: You can write about
anything you want. Besides I kinda like jelly. Vaseline too.
Except for the fact that it encourages a strange downey hair
growth quality on your face. How about that for a title (sings)
she gets a strange kind of downy hair on her face using vaseline!
And then you could have a chorus, kinda like....
Drew: Yo, got it there
Wayne already. Maybe we should ask you some questions... do
you wanna be interviewed?
The Devil: No. No we don't..
Wayne: I ..(surprised)
I think I can field that question.
The Devil: We've got a
tough schedule to keep today, Wayne..
Drew: Wayne? Who are you
Wayne: Oh it's nothing.
The Devil: (crossing his
legs and leaning over to Drew) He has all the books, y'know.
Black magic and stuff, witchcraft. White supremacy. Thai dancing..
Wayne: I don't have the
books ..he's getting me confused with Faust or something?
The Devil: I wasn't aware
you knew Faust?
Wayne: We hang out...
The Devil: You hang out...Just
don't talk about the drugs f'chrissake. Sorry. Can I say that?
Wayne: Go away.... (turning
back to dictophone)... no, I think It's a valid question.
Bands often seem to have a sort of agenda - what they sing
about and talk about and stuff...
Drew: So, yours is to
have fun then?
The Devil: So who outlawed
fun in this town?
Drew: Sorry Wayne?
Wayne: Nah,... not really
to have fun. Just that it should be a limitless sort of thing.
That you should be able to have all kinds of emotions, all
kinds of ideas - why be just limited to what people think
rock and roll should be about.
The Devil: Yeah, I mean
why stop at Jelly?
Wayne: Leave it..
The Devil: You'll be saying
we're bigger than Jesus next.
Wayne: I said leave it..
Drew: Okay Wayne. No problem.
How do you cope with touring?
Wayne: Right - in a lot
of ways we're really lucky to be able to the kind of thing
music we do and have any kind of audience at all really. 'Cos
it's sort of.. really, there isn't any hope of becoming any
kind of a mainstream success. It just seems that we're lucky
to have any kind of an audience at all. and a record companty
that puts out our records and all that stuff.
Drew: So, are you looking
forward to a UK tour - you've not played here much in the
Wayne: Yeah, the brits
are fucking miserable. And I can't get to grips with their
culture. Y'know that whole Yorkshire pudding thing? I mean,
what do they use them for?
The Devil: It's an aquired
taste, I'll give you that. And there's a knack in the preparation..
Wayne: They still suck..
The Devil: Can we say
Drew: You guys seem to
live for music
Wayne: No. The music lives
Waynel: Dunno. Just sounds
Drew: Has the new record
lived up to expectations.
Wayne: Oh..yeah - everything
in the last couple of years has gone past anything we ever
expected. I really don't expect people to like our stuff at
The Devil: Oh don't be
so self-depracating, Wayne. Just 'cos you're in England.
Wayne: No. We've neve
really looked at ourselves as wanting to be `big'. I mean,
in the UK that's what being a band is all about. It's all
this, like, success and charts and all -but while that exists
in America, there's this whole other sub-level where people
just want to play at their own level and make records and
play to a whole different audience. And that's sort a where
we come from - we never wanted to be on the cover of Billboard
magazine or to be in Melody Maker. it's just really not our
trip you know...
Drew: So you do confess
to tripping ocassionally then?
The Devil: Wayne, he's
taking you out of context. I'll have to pull you from this
interview if the man is going to proceed any further along
these kind of lines...
Drew: You've had a good
few years at least..
The Devil: Of course.
I 'm the devil (shrugs) It's an etrenal thing.
Wayne: He was talking
to me. We don't expect MTV to play us every day.
The Devil: Well no. Not
on our budget, no..
Drew: Where did you get
your name? I've heard a lot of rumours:
Wayne: I don't know what
you've heard but we just made it up one day - there was never
any story. People tell me about things that were supposed
to have happened but there was never any story... people think
we must have had these bizarre experiences but we're just
normal guys. We just make up stuff, and at the time we thought
it was a pretty stupid name but we went by it and we thought
it was only gonna last a summer and we always thought we'd
just think of somethin' else.
Drew: Do you think it's
gonna keep going for ever, or what:
The Devil: This interview?
Wayne: Oh, I hope so.
We wouldn't wanna do it if we got in a situation where we
didn't like what was happening or if it was embarassing to
keep going. But I hope that the idea of a rock band can change
to where it isn't just this vehicle for views and revolution
and all that - which is good sometimes, but mostly is just
The Devil: All so packaged?
Wayne: Yeah, it comes
packaged - with haircuts and fashion and all that crap, you
know. But I hope that sooner or later that it can be just
about music and ideas and hopefully, in that way, we can keep
thinking of ways to do different things. I'd love to be able
to do this as long as I'd like to do it - until I'm ninety
or whatever. I was talkin to the guy from the Soup Dragons
just the other day, and then we were talkin about how Soup
Dragons are washed up.
The Devil: And their skin!
Wayne: Yeah, sometimes
I think about people like Paul McCartney.
The Devil: (quietly) Don't
Wayne, you said you wouldn't. Just quit while you're winning.
We've another appointment to make.
Wayne: What he does is
The Devil: This is England,
Wayne...Let it go.
Drew: Yeah, this man was
in the Beatles and he wrote some really cool songs. But, they
still wanna be in the Beatles and it's sad. It's just a pity
that sometimes people are more interested in the fame and
attention than really they are in the music or whatever. Paul
McCartney at one time was all about music and ideas and so
on - and it's really sad to need to be in the limelight. I
hope we can always make good music and keep being interesting
The Devil: You've blown
it. Happy now. You're eating on your own tonight, you know
Drew: Is there any music
that really excites you at the moment then? Stuff you listen
to - I know you were big on Smog a while back:
Wayne: Oh yeah, well -
the whole indie thing that was going on in America the last
three years or so - I think a lot of that was really good
but now it's real repetetive. Bands are indie now because
it's like noble to not be on a major label or something and
a lot of them really just want to rip off Pavement or a load
of other bands.
Drew: Yeah, so will this
kind of evil really prevail?
The Devil: Let me field
Wayne: Well you know,
there always that temptation. And the true evils of the world
are just so damn effective.
The Devil: You think?
Drew: Like if you want
something, then it's usually the easiest way....
Wayne: Yeah, just look
at the 'Revs. I mean is that right?
Drew: Well, at the end
of the day who knows what is actually right.
Wayne: Well, it's your
own trip - myself I'd much prefer people to be kind and try
to be nice to each other..
The Devil: I can concur
Wayne: especially for my own sake. And when people
say, "So, are you into peace and love?", I'm like, "Well....
The Devil: ...no- I'm
into buggery and witchcraft actually...."
i'm into peace and love as opposed to fuckin' hatred and war
The Devil: (silence)
Drew: Great. Well, I don't
have much else to ask you - so is there anything else you'd
like to say?
Wayne: Just thanks to
anybody who likes our music and stuff. I mean, really - I
really do applaud our audience because sometimes it is a struggle
to sort of know where we're goin and care and stuff. i just
think it's great that our audience is a lot like us, unlike
a lot of bands who go out and play and come back sayin, "Our
audience is a bunch of idiots," and they really hate playin
for them. We go out and play and our audience is full of people
who're just like us - we start playin obscure covers and they
already know them and it's sort of like `Oh, cool - that's
great', you know... . It's great bein' a Flaming Lip because
Drew: Wayne. Thank You