Nardwuar vs The Flaming Lips

Nardwuar: Who are you?
Wayne Coyne: I'm Wayne from the band The Flaming Lips, who are you?

I'm Nardwuar, The Human Serviette.
And everybody probably already knows that, right, but I'm probably the first guy you ever interviewed that had a pre-bloodied Calvin Klein suit on right?

Yeah I want to know, is that real blood or is that fake blood, and does the audience ever throw real blood?
No, no, I hope they never do that because that would mean that someone had to bleed or someone's dead or something like that. No, that'd be horrible.

Is there any audience blood on you right now?
No, this is all blood that I put on myself just last night at the show. We had to come through the border this morning, because we were driving from outside of Seattle into Vancouver and I thought it would be a great challenge for the folks at the border to see me come through looking like this.

I thought the crowd throws blood on you.
Well they do sometimes, yeah, but it's not real blood.

Yeah I wanna know, how do you know it's not real blood if the crowd is throwing it on you?
Well, because if it was real blood it wouldn't come out, I mean I've had a lot of experience with blood and I've bled myself, and it doesn't come out of a suit. Plus, you know, it feels different and looks different. And really, what nut is gonna come to the show and throw blood? I mean I know a couple of people who have done it but that'd be rare.


Come on, you've played with the Butthole Surfers, they've had blood thrown at them.
They have bled onstage and they take their own blood onstage but no, I don't think anyone's ever actually thrown it. You've gotta imagine, you're gonna go all the way from home with some blood, you're gonna be out all night 'cause concerts are a long thing, what are you gonna do with that blood?

You guys are headlining and stuff, you know, they don't want to waste it on the opening band.
It wouldn't make sense. But I did know a guy who actually went to a concert and threw his own human feces. But you could say he carried it with him.

That's pretty good, but it's not as good as GG Allin, where he throws feces at the audience. Have you thrown any shit at the audience?
I would never do that. I would never ever do that.

What's the closest you've come to that?
No, I throw confetti, which is clean and smells fine and I throw balloons and I actually sometimes throw balloons that have things in them.

How about throw up? Have you ever thrown up onstage or shat your pants onstage?

In 20 years of rock, Wayne Coyne?
No, I've come close, but there's some magic that happens when you're up there onstage, that those things just clamp up. I've never sneezed onstage, or shat onstage.

Nick Cave almost did once. But I said "Look, I think you have to rely on nature's own"---

Were you onstage with him?
I was onstage with him, and he was having some trouble, because he had eaten some of the chicken on Lollapalooza 1994 and it didn't agree with him and he said, "I can't go up there, I'm Nick Cave, and if I do one of those "rrrraaarrrhh" sort of screams, the whole thing's going to let out," and I said "Nick, you've got to believe..."

You are Wayne Coyne, and Wayne what do you play? You play the recording studio don't you?
Well, I mean people have said that and that's a great compliment, and the way that music works that really is my instrument in a way. But when I'm onstage you know, I'm not actually playing the recording studio up there 'cause it would be too big, I mean I'd have to carry it up there every night. So onstage, I play sort of a fake guitar that has sounds coming out of it that I don't actually make. And I have some puppets that I play with, and I have lights that I swing around, I have some fireworks that I set off. I do things that are exciting, I keep the show going. It doesn't mean that music and singing and all that stuff isn't exciting, but I mean frankly, I don't dance. I don't do any kind of sexy dancing, so I sort of feel like you know, if you don't dance, you gotta do something. You gotta look crazy, like the way you do or something, you know. (laughs)

Thanks very much, Wayne Coyne. And now Wayne Coyne, welcome to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, home of Jason Priestley from Beverly Hills... did I spit on you there?
Three or four different times.

Sorry about that, at least it wasn't blood, Ba-boom!
Right, but I think blood's better, now that you've spat on me that much. No, I didn't know that he actually is from here.

Yes he is, and I guess I was wondering, did you ever hang Jason Priestley when you did Beverly Hills 90210 or did you ever get in any fights with Shannen Doherty?
No, I think they were actually both not on the show when we were there. I think they were already gone.

What a rip-off.
Well I agree, because we walked into it thinking "Man, we'll be walking into them." But I never followed the show that closely, I mean I knew what the show was all about, but when we were on there I think it was already the second rung of folks. Who would that be? I don't remember. But they were real nice to us, and they were all real famous. I didn't know who they were, but I was busy (laughs) that couple of years.

Wayne Coyne, Canadian connections. On one of your records you have a Canadian flag. On Oh My Gawd there's a Canadian flag. What are the Canadian connections?
Well, I mean, we watched some, uh---

A Canadian flag on the Oh My Gawd record.
There is, I know, I'm trying to think---

You're friends with Heather Graham, aren't you?

And Heather Graham was in a movie with...


Myers, who is...?
Who's Canadian!

Who's Canadian, so there's a Canadian connection for you!
Right, but I don't know Mike Myers.

I know but you know Heather Graham, how do you know Heather Graham?
I guess because she takes a lot of drugs and listens to music, isn't that how we get all our Flaming Lips fans? (laughs)

Ba-boom! Now Wayne, talking about Canada, did you have some bad gigs in Canada early on? I read about some bad gigs happening in Canada.
No, I think when you travel across Canada you travel from what seems to be civilized, sophisticated metropolitan cities like Vancouver...

Be careful...
Over to Montreal or Toronto, but there are some places in between which are wonderful but aren't necessarily rock 'n' roll art Meccas... is that, I'm being polite, right?

Well not really, because The Guess Who are from Winnipeg. Don't dis Winnipeg, there, Wayne "Cone."
I'm not dissing anybody...

Wayne "Cone."

Wayne "Cone."
(laughs) I'm just saying that you don't expect that there's always going to be an audience there, but we want to go and sort of see what these places are like anyway. I remember playing in Calgary to probably about four people at one of the nice resorts there, where you go and sort of play while people drink beer and battle off their winter colds. But we did stay at a hotel that was right outside of the leftovers of the winter Olympics, and we watched, I think we watched porn for a couple of days. But we couldn't see it very well...

You watched the scrambled porn?
We did.

I've done that too. That's fun, isn't it!
Back in the late '80s, before there were satellites or anything, so it was scrambled, but if you got lucky, you could see it scrambled. And I think - this is just for me, and I don't think I'm a weirdo - I think porn looks better scrambled.

Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, tell me about Oklahoma City being a test market. Where you're from, Oklahoma City is a test market, very interesting, tell the people about that.
I think that is a polite way of saying that it's the bland middle area, where if it works there, it'll probably work anywhere, and this is the truth. The McRib was tested there, and it didn't work, and that's why you don't get the McRib now. But MTV was tested there, and it worked, see? That proves that we know what we're talking about. You're not going to give us some meat that's been pressed up to look like a rib, we're from Oklahoma, we know what a rib tastes like. But MTV, where you get women walking around with no clothes on, and you get to hear rock 'n' roll, now that's something that Oklahoman's want.

And here comes Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips testing quite a bit, now you're testing the blood thing, some achievement. A big achievement, testing the blood and stuff like that. Now what about this mic thing you have, the video mic, what's the video mic Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips?
We live in such a great scientifically diverse world these days that you can actually go online and go to one of these sort of spy stores and buy all these little things that you can spy on your friends with. So I got this little camera that's on my microphone up there, and I just sort of connect it up 'til you can see my head. And we have a screen that plays behind us, sometimes you can see my big head and my boogers up my nose and all that sort of stuff right there while I'm singing.

See that is a really great achievement.

It's great that you're going out and doing that, you know true Oklahoma City style there, Wayne Coyne.
I don't know if that would be called Oklahoma City style---

Test marketing, you're test marketing.
I agree. I have a curiosity about trying new things, you're exactly right.

And there is an achievement of The Flaming Lips recently, an achievement, many achievements but one specially.
I think the biggest achievement is---

Getting sponsored by...
Did we get sponsored by---?


Don't you have a sponsorship with Apple computers? That's amazing Wayne Coyne!
No, we do get a lot of free stuff from Apple, but I was actually in an HP commercial. That's why I think there's some confusion there.

Oh my God.
But we actually won a Grammy a couple of months ago as well.

That's amazing, congratulations. But the most amazing achievement you've done recently is, how the hell did you get Justin Timberlake into a dolphin outfit that was smelling of sex?
Exactly, well see, I was like wow, I like that. I hadn't used that. (laughs)

And you are Wayne Coyne of the Flaming...
I am, and I think it just goes to show that Justin Timberlake probably does a lot more drugs than everybody thought he really did to begin with, right?

Well there you go. No, it's because he's a nice guy, and he's up for doing weird things. He likes to have fun.

You like to have people dress up as animals, and you supply the animals, don't you?
We supply the animal costumes, and usually they don't smell of sex, they smell good, they smell fresh and clean like you just did the laundry. But occasionally people do things in them, in the suits.

And Justin Timberlake didn't care about climbing into the suit, he didn't care about the smell. He wanted to hear the music first, didn't he? He wanted to learn the dance moves!
Well he's got the dance moves down, that's why we wanted him to come up there and sort of rock out with us. And he was wonderful. I think it just goes to show, who would ever think that Justin Timberlake would care about The Flaming Lips? But when we met he said, "Yeah I'd love to come up there and play with you guys and do this song." He even went to his hotel room that night and learned the song.

Wayne Coyne, tell me a little bit about the animals and stuff that people climb into. Do they have sex in the outfits? Have you stopped them from having sex in the outfits? And just continuing on there, I'm just curious about, what do you do when that happens?
Well, I hope that they just get it over with quick when it does happen, but I don't know if they're having sex with anything other than themselves. I think a lot of times we're drawing that new craze of crowd that's called the Furries and the Plushies. You've heard of this? And I think that's really why we're drawing bigger audiences these days.

Is there any quality control of people coming to the shows in outfits? If someone comes to the show do you boycott any outfits going on stage? Because you encourage people to bring their own outfits don't you? What have been some questionable ones, like have you had Bin Laden up there, you know what I mean?
Well, we have Santa Claus up there---

That's pretty damn close to Bin Laden.
And a couple of times we've had people show up as Jesus, so on one side of me is Santa Claus and on the other side is Jesus. And of course it's Wayne from Oklahoma in the middle, right? Yeah you should come up tonight. You already look like you're ready to dance with us.

I want to play in the confetti! Now tell me about the confetti, a little bit about the confetti there, Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips. The confetti because you have confetti and so does Fischer...
So does... uh, Spooner!

Oh OK, right... you gotta be quick with you, right, I didn't know they did.

They have the confetti and when they play oftentimes they lip sync. They jump around, lip sync. Have you ever thought about doing that, just totally lip syncing?
I have, of course, we do that in our videos all the time.

But how about on stage, because that's what Fischerspooner does. It'd be a lot easier for you to do your show without actually singing.
To me it would really be more trouble than it's worth, because it's just so much easier just to sing. And I don't think one is better than the other, I just think it's a lot easier because you like to talk, and change things up a little bit, and it's just more personal.

Wayne Coyne there are some similarities between you and The Flaming Lips and Fischerspooner. Casey Spooner there, are you jealous of Casey Spooner, because he got to touch...
I don't know!

Whose ass did Casey Spooner get to touch?
It must be Kylie Minogue's---

Because that's the only ass that anybody really wants to touch, there's a lot of asses out there, but---

Yes! You see, Casey Spooner got to touch the ass, and all you got to do was cover the ass.
No, I think I will get to touch it, I've invited her to come backstage---

Because you've covered her tune.
Right, and that's the reason I say Kylie you've gotta come back here, and if she shows up I'm sure she'll let me touch it. I mean I don't want to do anything with it, other than I'll touch it, just so I could have one up on the Fischerspooner folks. How did he get to touch it?

I don't know, it was arranged through the record company or something like that.
Well was it a touch, or was it like a grab?

He got a nice little grab, he said it was awesome.
Did she like it? I mean, did she respond?

Of course, she came back for more!
I can't believe that---

She might have been contractually obligated, it might have been a contractual obligation.
I think if I get to touch Kylie's butt, it's going to be because she likes it.

It could have been one of those things that happened in the press, you know, like Lisa Marie kissing Michael Jackson. It could have been set up.
I wouldn't want mine to be in that way at all. I hope mine is a genuine, "Let me touch your butt," and she says, "Do it once and get outta here."

Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, the song you have, "Do You---

"Do you Realize." Are there dog whistles imbedded in that? When my friend listens to that song with his dog, the dog goes crazy! Have you embedded dog whistles?
That's because that dog is hearing the lyrics, and the lyrics are so moving that dog's going crazy, that's why.

No, but the whole album is filled with dog whistles.
No, no, no---

Is the whole album filled with subliminal dog whistles?
No, it's not.

Here I am asking a man covered in blood. Very Satanic. But are there dog whistles?
No there's not, and you can trust me on that, because I have dogs, and I play it all the time at the house and nothing happens to them.

There's none, you swear to God, Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, no dog whistles in "Do You Realize"?
No intentional ones.

So why do you think the dogs go crazy again?
I think it's because they're Canadian!


Now going back here to The Cramps...
Back to The Cramps?

Well we started talking about The Cramps.
Right, right we did.

Now when I was listening to your early records, it really does sound a bit Crampish.
There is an element of The Cramps in there. But The Cramps are one of those inspirations, because they're just such weirdos, and people don't know how old they are, and where they come from, and all that sort of stuff, and I think there's an element of that to The Flaming Lips---

But you don't do any of that any more. You only go as far back as "Jelly," you only go to the "Jelly."
Well, it's because we have been around for so long and our audience is perpetually like a new audience, and you're always playing to people who just know your last couple of records, which I think is wonderful. And so, we try to play songs that we think everybody out there will know. And so I could play some old songs, but there'd only be like three or four weirdos like yourself in the audience who would know what we're playing, and so I play songs that they want to hear. And when we do radio shows or shows at record stores or something, then we know we're really connecting to the people who are weirdo, weirdo fans and who are perhaps even weirder than you, and then we will play some of the older stuff, just because we know... [laughs]

Thank you so much Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips. Now I have a little joke here for you. I was listening to your early records, going way, way back, and your early records don't sound like the Polyphonic Spree.
But that's a good joke, right? Because I love the Polyphonic Spree...

You're supposed to laugh at that.
Oh, OK. [laughs]

Is that funny? Is that funny? Can you tell the people the joke I was trying to get across?
Right, the joke is that people think that they sound like the The Flaming Lips now, the Polyphonic Spree, right? That's the joke? But I don't think so, I think they sound like them.

But people have ripped you off, Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips---
No, no, ---

Yes, touring with STP and Candlebox, they ripped you off, didn't they? Tell me the story about that.
No, they didn't rip us off. We actually played up here in Vancouver with both of those bands.

I thought you played with Candlebox, and then they ripped you off, and then they failed, because they couldn't copy The Flaming Lips!
No, they failed, who knows why they failed---

You said---

In an interview that they copied you, and then they only sold 400 records.
No, I think because we were on tour with them, and we got to be friends and they really admired our music, and I think they thought "We want to be more weird and experimental like you guys." And as you know, a band like Candlebox being experimental, that sounds---

You see I was wondering about that, because Redd Kross toured with Stone Temple Pilots, and then Stone Temple Pilots totally ripped off Redd Kross. Would you admit to that, Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips?
No, I think music is one of those things---

Come on, Redd Kross were completely ripped off by the Stone Temple Pilots! "Big Bang Baby" - that's total Redd Kross!
Nobody owns a certain element of what you can do in music. Everybody is always influenced---

What sort of kickback are you getting back from the Stone Temple Pilots?
(laughs) I'm not, I just wouldn't make... I don't think anybody's even ripped us off, I think you can just do whatever you want.

[quickly] Polyphonic Spree.
No, Polyphonic Spree are great.

Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, De La Soul. You toured with De La Soul. What's it like touring with a rap band and what other rap bands have you toured with?
De La Soul are really gentle, loving, peace-and-love sort of guys, which is great, but you hope that when you're touring with rap acts and hip-hop acts that it's a constant barrage of smoking crack and having sex and guns and all that sort of stuff, but it wasn't.

Have you played with any other rap groups? Any other rap groups, have you met any other rap groups?
Of course, we played with Jurassic 5 just last night, and about a month ago with Public Enemy, so yeah.

What was that like? That must have been a bit of a downer.
No, it was great.

Flava Flav is getting pretty big isn't he?
What do you mean?

You've kept very fit and trim, and you exercise.
Flava Flav looks virtually the same, only I think the clocks are getting bigger, he still had the clocks on and everything.


I love you guys because you were like covering Dark Side Of The Moon, the entire album opening for punk bands years ago---

I mean that is punk, that is punk when did this happen, quickly winding up here, doing that for punk bands.
We didn't cover the whole thing---

Yes, there's a punk band called No Trend from Washington, DC that says you opened for them and you did the entire album .
I know, but they're exaggerating that we did the entire album, we would play Pink Floyd songs and that was indeed confrontational to that crowd at the time. But in defense of ourselves we didn't do it because it was confrontational, we did it because we liked the music and we thought, "Well, these people are punk rock, they should like it that we're doing what we like." I thought that's what it was all about, but in some ways you see it's very restricted in other ways.

Just quickly, this interview's winding up. But why did your Brian Wilson interview never see the light of day. You interviewed Brian Wilson! Why did it not see the light of day!?! What the hell happened?
Because Brian Wilson, I mean, I know me and you are a pair of weirdos, but compared to us Brian Wilson is just too weird. Its unsettling to see him interviewed with me on TV to tell you the truth, I have the interview with me and maybe some day we'll just prove it.

Do you have it in your bus right now?
Well I don't know if I have it. I carried on the Beck tour so we played it a bunch on the Beck tour and, um, I think it's disturbing, it really is.

Well what does he do?
Well he doesn't answer questions very easily, like if you interviewed him he would cry and he may shit himself or whatever you know? I mean---

That's my dream to interview Brian Wilson, Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips
I know but you'll never do it because he's just too uncomfortable.

Well, actually it's my second dream because to interview you is a real dream---
Well that is what I was told---

Because I was researching a bit about you there "Flaming Lipper," "Wayner Coyner" and I heard that you don't do interviews before you play, that you only communicate non-verbally.

Somebody saw you before a show doing and you were like [makes choking noises].
Oh well, that was true. If we play too many nights in a row and then I talk, and then I talk too much and 'cause I only have so much of the voice and then bam! You've talked too much and you can't sing that night. So I had to do a bunch of interviews, where I was just sort of faking it, they'd ask me questions and I'd shake my head, yes or no---

You're not faking it today!
Exactly, because I knew if I talked too much then I wouldn't be able to sing that night. But it was really only for one day where I had to do two interviews that were going to be on TV and stuff.

Have the boom-box experiments ever gone wrong?
Everything goes wrong all the time but that's the beauty of being in a band and accepting whatever challenges come along. Yeah they would go wrong all the time, but I like it when you're kind of forced to improvise or just do things, yeah of course, yeah.

Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, will My Bloody Valentine ever make another record?
No, no they won't, no.

Why is that?
Because I don't really think they exist anymore. But, um, I think its just lost its meaning. But Kevin Shields, he's still a wonderful guy who will probably play weird, strange guitar and make weird recordings for the rest of his life, but I don't actually think it'll be called My Bloody Valentine.

Did you ever feel The Flaming Lips were used as bait at all because you've been on Warner Brothers all these years. Are you bait because, "Hey we got The Flaming Lips, they've been here 13, 15 years you gotta sign with us."
(laughs) Well I only recently felt that because yesterday we played----

Do you feel a bit guilty then?
No, I love it now I never knew how good it felt to be bait before, but I do know because yesterday we played with this band, the girl who sings in the band is 14 years old so that's bait-ish already.

I know ! They're big fans of The Flaming Lips because we've played their hometown Dallas, Texas probably about 100 times, so they grew up with us and so when Warner Brothers went to sign them one of the reasons they signed to Warner Brothers is because they loved The Flaming Lips.

Aw and you felt terrible about that.
I think they're 14, 17 and 20, yeah.

Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, thank you very much for your time I really appreciate it.
Well thank you sir, thank you.

Is there anything else you want to add to the people out there at all?
Um, to the Canadian folks, um, we love playing everywhere where we go or we wouldn't play if we didn't love it. But I don't want anyone to think that we would ever avoid Canada because of its, um, you know these are weird times and getting over borders and that sort of stuff can be more difficult. No, it's wonderful that we have an audience here and hopefully we'll get to travel to go to Montreal and Toronto regardless of the mad cow disease.

And it's cool that you like it because you're a test market, if you like it, you're a test market, you're a test band.
And some of my greatest adventures, I've actually seen the Northern Lights three times while I've been in Canada and that's marvelous, so yeah. Here's the trip---

And as soon as you said that, look the sun just came out.
Of course.

Isn't that awesome?
I've been in Oklahoma for almost 43 years and I've never seen a tornado and a thousand of them come through there every year and a couple of them came through when I was home just last week, but I've only been to Canada you know, maybe 12 times and I've seen the Northern Lights three times, isn't that wonderful?

It is Wayne Coyne. Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips why should people care about The Flaming Lips? Why should people care?
Well they shouldn't care if they don't want to. I mean we make music and we hope people like it and music is a wonderful, wonderful thing so if you don't like music, I'm sure you won't like us. But if you like music you should be hopefully looking for weird, wonderful things and we would be one of those hopefully that people should stumble upon. But the main reason is because I think we make optimistic music, you know when you have some sadness or some tragedy in your life or something, um, sometimes you want to hear people, who are seeing brighter side of the universe or seeing another way out of this thing or whatever. And I think we represent that here and there, sure.

Wayne Coyne, I'm so sorry to take your time but I've got one last question if that's OK---
Ahh, come on. What do you got---

One last question here. Michael Stipe, you scared him with like UFO stories years ago.
I know---

Has he always been weird? Has that dude always been weird?
He has and I thought maybe in the last few years, maybe he finally wouldn't be weird, but recently we played Athens, Georgia and we scared him off again.

Thanks very much Wayne Coyne, keep on rockin' in the free world and doot doola doot doo?
[laughs] What? You always do that "bum bum."

Yes! Thank you!