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Wayne Coyne - 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 dunno...pure crack?

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 talking to?

Wayne: Oh it's nothing. 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 past.

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 suck?

Drew: You guys seem to live for music

Wayne: No. The music lives for us..

Drew: Meaning?

Waynel: Dunno. Just sounds really cool..

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 all.

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 bullshit...

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 kinda embarrasing.

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 or whatever.

The Devil: You've blown it. Happy now. You're eating on your own tonight, you know that?

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 this..

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 with that..

especially for my own sake. And when people say, "So, are you into peace and love?", I'm like, "Well....

The Devil: I'm into buggery and witchcraft actually...."

Wayne: ...(overiding).. 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 of it.

Drew: Wayne. Thank You

  © Crud Music Magazine/ 2001
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