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Shooting from the lip
Annual article: Flaming Lip Wayne Coyne explains their metamorphosis from scuzzy little death-rock band to space-aged pantomime.
Peter Murphy, 20 Dec 2005
He had us all worried there for a while. Flaming Lips leader Wayne Coyne was the first Electric Picnic headline artist due to visit the packed Hot Press chatroom, but almost half an hour after the scheduled ETA, there was still no sign of this charming man in the white suit with the Shakespeare hair and weirdy beard.
Clipboards were consulted, watches checked, feet shuffled, portaloos visited – but eventually he showed, fresh from watching Goldfrapp, diffusing the tension with the mile-wide smile of a candidate in some alternative presidential campaign as dreamed up by Philip K Dick by way of Stanley Kubrick.
It was an interesting time to catch Mr. Coyne. Nearing the completion of the forthcoming Flaming Lips record, plus his long-awaited sci-fi shoestring epic Christmas On Mars, there was a sense that he and his bandmates had beamed into the Picnic, blinking and bleary from the recesses of various bunker studios and editing rooms. However, the release of Bradley Beasley’s cracked, candid and often moving FL documentary Fearless Freaks afforded plenty of retrospective opportunities. Yours truly took the interview chair and solicited questions from the floor, while Coyne, with the aplomb of a chatshow host, did the rest. Here are the edited highlights…
Wayne Coyne: My apologies…I was over watching Goldfrapp. It was good, but I swear I didn’t know this was happening now, otherwise I would have been here, so I’m sorry.
Peter Murphy: So how were Goldfrapp?
I hadn’t seen them before. I don’t know if it’s true but I heard that she (Alison Goldfrapp) occassionally gets mad and runs offstage after a couple of songs, and I was: "Shit, I’d better get over there, because if she gets mad at all these drunk Irish people and runs off stage…" But it was good. I was surprised.
Did she indulge in the theremin?
You got your money’s worth then.
Yeah, I like the way she plays the theremin. Do you think people know how she plays the theremin? I play the theremin, and usually it’s on a stand and you do the "woooooooh" thing, right? But she has a portable theremin device and she uses parts of her body to make the feel, the contact. And she’ll start off using her hands and then she’ll use her boobs, and then her crotch…