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Vote Wayne Coyne
Positivity, great music and animal suits – why wouldn’t you vote for the Flaming Lips frontman as leader of the world. Campaign managers Eamon Sweeney & John Walshe
Eamon Sweeney & John Walshe, 01 Aug 2003
According to Al Sheehan of Woodstar, “Wayne Coyne should be world leader.” That was just one of the more memorable reactions I heard to the all-singing, all-dancing, life-affirming spectacle that was The Flaming Lips and their colourful animal-suited entourage at Witnness. Just before stage time, the great Wayne explains how a Lips show turned into such an awesome musical carnival and unbridled celebration of life.
“This whole thing keeps evolving and I don’t know where its going,” he muses. “At some point its going to get so elaborate that I fear it will overtake me, so I’m always in there battling for most of your attention. The rabbit suits started with a guy in Oklahoma city. He took some kind of drugs, I don’t know what kind, but he came to the show dressed as a rabbit.
“We were already doing an elaborate show even then with the films and smoke machines and all this junk. People thought it was our idea and that it was great that the Flaming Lips now had giant rabbit suits as part of their show. So we went out and got a couple of rabbit suits and a frog and a deer and some kind of blue bears. Little by little, we added to it and the more we got the more people seemed to like it. It really seemed to have no end in sight, so now it’s come to the point were we come to these festivals and bring all these animal suits with us.
“We’re backstage with literally hundreds of band members who are looking for any excuse to get up there and dance around and act crazy and stuff,” Coyne continues. “We keep saying that The Polyphonic Spree should come over, take off their robes and get into our suits and then we’re done! Even yesterday at T in the Park we had Peter Buck at the side of the stage singing ‘Happy Birthday’ with us. We had Har Mar Superstar up there, The Datsuns, Alfie, the actual Super Furry Animals dressed as yetis – anyone who was around – TV presenters and radio people.
“I never thought it would become this big birthday party kind of thing. I don’t know what it all means. Some people get too cynical about it and think it is bombastic and silly and overshadows the music. I say we’re only doing this on a level of entertainment. We’re not saying what we are doing is better than what the Cardigans are doing or whatever anybody else is doing. Life can be light and silly and it’s a good contrast to the way a lot of our songs are.”
Not to get too hippy dippy about it, but if you watched the Lips you could not help but feel love and positivity radiating off the crowd, visibly being blown away and immensely enjoying this momentous occasion.
“People don’t realise how contagious that is,” Wayne agrees. “I probably won’t say it today because we’re at a festival where people are already having a good time, but I remind people that some people come to concerts to escape some tragedy or sadness going on in their life and they want to get out of their heads for an hour or two. If you were sad and you came to a Flaming Lips concert to stand in that room with people smiling, laughing and caring about each other, it’s a great, great moment. I think its great for everyone but especially great for people who are experiencing some kind of struggle in their life. I know concerts have done that to me plenty of times.”
“Often there is all this talk about how evil and horrible the world is and we’re all going to die in the end anyway so what does it matter, Wayne concludes. “Well it matters, but you got to make it matter. Life is good, but you got to make it good. All the good things that happen in your life – some are going to happen to you, but others you have to make happen yourself. If you’re wondering why your life isn’t happy, you’ve got to make it happy. If you are not loved, you got to give love to receive love. All these things are part of what makes life worth living.”
Wayne Coyne for world leader? Hell yeah! Where do I vote?