Q&A: The Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne On Stephen Colbert, Ke$ha, And An Inadvertent Game Of Telephone With Lightning Bolt
Flaming Lips leader Wayne Coyne dreams weird and hard and big. What often starts off as a whimsical vision might just end up as a new world record (for the most live concerts in 24 hours) or a limited-edition vinyl release infused with the blood of other artists (as was the case for 2011's The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends). The Lips have an impressive track record of following through on their shenanigans, and that devotion to being endlessly irreverent and self-indulgent (in the most nurturing way) has helped them build a cult-like army of followers. The band has consistently grown creatively, too, its music morphing from scuzzy buzz-bin warmth to orchestral pop masterpieces to hard-edged, highly adventurous psych rock explorations. The band's most recent work, Heady Fwends, was made with people who spanned the gamut of popular musicYoko Ono, Prefuse 73, Ke$ha.
Few personalities are more outsized than Coyne's; when he talks, he uses what seem to be the most directly vague terms imaginable. It comes off almost like a brain-fried hippie having a conversation with a sped-up incarnation of the Dali Lama, but the trains of thought converge into a force of charisma and authority. Coyne has made a scholarly pursuit out of an obsession with examining trivialitiesthe little thingsin the most grandiose way possible.
But he may have met his match in comedian and faux pundit Stephen Colbert. Coyne and the Flaming Lips appear tonight on The Colbert Report, getting interviewed in a decommissioned space shuttle and performing aboard The U.S.S. Intrepid as the headliner of StePhest Colbchella '012 Rocktaugustfest, an over-the-top take on the music festival. During the taping of the event last Friday, the Voice sat down with Coyne to talk about the band's upcoming 30th anniversary, human skulls filled with blood and new music, and an accidental game of telephone that might just have turned into a LSD-filled night.More »