Oklahoma City News, Entertainment & Occasional Humor • Established 2007

What exactly is wrong with Wayne Coyne?


In this week’s installment of our new bi-weekly feature “We Told You So: The 2014 Fall of Wayne Coyne,” we’re going to take a look at what exactly we think is wrong with the Lips’ frontman. But before we get to that, let’s recap the continued fallout between Wayne and his former drummer, Kliph Scurlock.

A few weeks ago, Kliph posted something manic to Facebook where he detailed his firing from the band, and in the process, outed Wayne Coyne as a short-tempered, abusive asshole. The rant was picked up by the popular indie music site, Pitchfork, which published an article titled “Kliph Scurlock Accuses Wayne Coyne of Racism and Abuse in Detailed Account of Firing From Flaming Lips.” Obviously, that story hit every other music website, blog, zine, whatever out there, and although he’d never admit it, Wayne Coyne had a little crisis on his hands. Just like his band’s music, he went from being revered and loved to being questioned and criticized from his loyal fan base.

As the fallout from Kliph’s first Facebook post was settling, the drummer left another long, rambling Facebook post. This one was less publicized, and it’s too long and incoherent to post here, but let’s just say it read like Wayne sent Stardeath and the White Dwarves to Kliph’s house with a pair of pliers and a blow torch. Kliph spun a 180. He semi-apologized and defended Wayne from accusations of racism. He claimed there was more to his firing than just Hipster Boo Boo’s Cleveland Indians impersonation – something we told you – and essentially apologized for igniting the controversy.

Wayne repaid Kliph’s favor by giving an exclusive interview with Rolling Stone where he called the ex-drummer “a pathological liar,” “immature,” “asshole bully,” “cowardly Internet hater,” “closed-minded musician,” “non creative” and “hateful person.” All those things may be true, but Wayne came across looking like a dick. Although he distanced himself from Hipster Boo Boo and her philosopher bf, he was combative, entitled, hypocritical and other choice words used to describe a washed-up hero turned anti-hero. The hypocrite part really stood out.

For example:

[Kliph’s] an abusive, compulsive, pathological liar that will do anything he can do get attention. And of course, using my name gets him attention.

Yep, Wayne Coyne accused someone of being an abusive, pathological liar that will do anything for attention. Sound familiar, Miley Cyrus and Kesha? That’s like a rainbow pot calling a confetti kettle colorful. Seriously, you should really check the interview out. Wayne comes across as manic and lacking self-awareness. He used to have such a refreshing and unusual take on the world. Now he sounds like a hipster Charlie Sheen.

Of course, stuff like that is what we’ve now come to expect from the sex-crazed New Wayne Coyne. He’s obviously not the same guy we’ve all grown to respect and admire over the years. It’s something we first noticed a few years ago, and something the national music media is starting to pick up on, too. For example, check out this post from Flavor Wire:

You can’t believe everything you read on the Internet, but it’s been clear for the last few years that something is going on with [Wayne Coyne]. He was always an oddball, of course, but there’s been a thoroughly depressing cast to his antics of late — a sort of determined craziness, a studied wackiness that comes across as narcissistic and contrived…

The change first became apparent toward the end of the ’00s, so much so that local Oklahoma website The Lost Ogle has taken to referring to post-2010 Wayne Coyne as “New Wayne Coyne.” The easy conclusion to draw is that this is a big ol’ mid-life crisis, especially since the change corresponds roughly to the time when he broke up with his wife and started seeing a girl in her 20s (who’s also friends with, yes, Christina Fallin).

But look, I don’t know and ultimately I don’t care. Coyne’s hardly the first rock star to have a mid-life crisis, of course, and whatever happened between him and his wife is entirely their own business. All I care about is what he does. And dear god, he’s hanging out with people who think it’s hilarious to piss all over the culture of a people who’ve been screwed from pillar to post ever since Europeans set foot on this continent? He thinks it’s perfectly OK to publish a photo of a dog in a Native American headdress in response to their concerns?…

What the fuck, Wayne Coyne? What the fuck? Whatever happened to the fearless freaks? What happened to the man who claimed that you didn’t need drugs to have psychedelic experiences? What happened to the sincere songwriter who wrote “In the Morning of the Magicians” and “Waitin’ for a Superman” and “Do You Realize???” What happened to the man who wrote “The Spiderbite Song,” perhaps the most beautiful and compassionate song that you’ll ever hear about seeing a friend fight addiction? What happened to love and empathy? What happened to this guy? Will he ever come back? And if not, was it all worth it?

Okay, I really used Flavor Wire as an example because they mentioned us, but the writer does bring up a good point. What did happen to Wayne Coyne? The most common answer is that he’s having a midlife crisis. Although he hasn’t bought a Porsche (yet), he did leave his wife of 20-something years for a groupie who has only lived for 20-something years. Sounds like a reasonable answer, right?

I don’t think so. Wayne is having a midlife crisis, but it’s not root of the problem. Something caused it. It’s not like he woke up one day and said, “Fuck this amazing life I have! It sucks to be famous, wealthy, loved and respected. I need to rebel and party!”

TLO co-founder Tony speculated that maybe Wayne’s always been this way. Perhaps this era of 24-hour access to Twitter and Instagram is showing us a glimpse of Wayne we’ve never seen. That seems kind of logical, but it doesn’t match what I hear. I know a lot of people who were and are friends with Wayne, Michelle and Lip’s musical genius, Stephen Drozd. They’ve seen Wayne and the band grow from a one-hit wonder cult act into one of the most popular live bands on the planet. They’ll be the first to tell you that Wayne hasn’t always been this way. Although he has a controlling, mean-spirited side most people don’t see, the past couple of years he’s been way out of character. It’s like he’s changed into a different person. It’s a big reason so many of them have been Team Michelle during the separation and divorce. You know, the one we first reported almost two years ago.

Another theory that Wayne is just a desperate-for-attention rock star looking to stay relevant in his old age, and the easiest way to get that attention is by igniting controversy. I don’t buy that excuse either. Wayne Coyne has been a desperate-for-attention rock star looking to stay relevant for 20 years, and he accomplished it by co-writing and performing beautiful, cartoonish pop music that anyone with a soul or color wheel could enjoy. It’s the reason we all liked the Lips in the first place, and the reason (let’s be honest) why you probably can’t name any Lips song released since At War With The Mystics.

So, if it’s not a midlife crisis, Wayne being Wayne, or a contrived attempt for attention, why is Wayne pulling a Hulk Hogan and abandoning the Hulkamaniacs for his personal N.W.O.? I think I know the answer. It’s literally been hiding under Wayne’s nose the entire time.


It’s probably not a coincidence, but the arrival of New Wayne Coyne seems to directly coincide with the time Old Wayne Coyne started snorting and eating up the cocaine lifestyle. If I was an economist, I’d probably put some graph together that shows Wayne’s weird behavior and how it aligns with his abrupt departure from whimsical and whacky to disturbing and creepy. But I’m not an economist. I’m just a blogger watching one of my all-time favorite artists drive away in a priest driven ambulance.

“But wait a second. It’s Wayne Coyne. What’s next? Mary Fallin likes penis?”

Okay, decent point. However…

Even though the psychedelic music and glitter bombs may have made you think otherwise, Wayne Coyne apparently wasn’t a big drug addict during the band’s glory days from the 1990s through the 2000s. Go watch the 2005 documentary The Fearless Freaks. To paraphrase a scene, the philosophical Old Wayne Coyne says something like “I’ve certainly done my fair share of drugs, but not anymore.” And he didn’t just say that because he was on camera and trying to make himself marketable. According to several Moles, he was either really clean or really good at hiding it. In fact, Wayne would allegedly make fun of and criticize others who were loaded or using drugs around the band. (Note: I don’t think Wayne considered alcohol or marijuana to be drugs.)

But that was the Old Wayne Coyne. He’s been destroyed by those evil natured robots. Old Wayne Coyne liked to build spaceships in his backyard with his wife and friends and make silly movies. New Wayne Coyne likes to snort coke and take X and have orgies with young groupies. I’m not saying one is right and one is wrong, but VH1’s “Behind The Music” got old the first time. Old Wayne Coyne helped write The Soft Bulletin. The New Wayne Coyne… screw him. Let’s read about him bragging about drug abuse.

From a March 2013 interview in the Quiteus:

I only take MDMA (ecstasy) and coke and stuff. I’ve only done acid a few times, but these drugs are like the recreational fun drugs. That’s what I call them. I’m not doing them in any soul-searching way. Even mushrooms, I’m like [high voice] “ah, it’s fun, we’re awake and we’re having fun!” Never “I need to go inside myself and discover”. There are drugs that let you relax, there are drugs that let your mind not be whatever it is that’s torturing you for a while, and sometimes when you wake up you have a different perspective. “Why did I worry about that so much?” That, for me, is the beauty of those sorts of drugs. Your mind that can’t escape itself, drugs allow it to be not so intense.

And a October 2013 interview with Stereogum:

We played a show with Diplo in Costa Rica about two years ago, and we all hung out together. And we went and explored some forest together and got drunk together and did some cocaine together and talked about music and live shows and all this and hung out with his people from his Major Lazer ensemble and stuff.

If you remember correctly, Old Wayne Coyne did stuff like this:

Serious question: could you imagine New Wayne Coyne doing anything like that today? I sure can’t. In 2006, Wayne turned a story about a man who had to pour urine on his face into a lesson so deep and profound that I don’t really know how to explain it. If they asked him to do this today, he’d probably get coked up and forget to show up. Well, technically he didn’t show up at 2006 graduation, but you get my point.


  1. He’s a strange, untreated and unmonitored mental patient that justifies his antics under the guise of a creative musician and social vagabond. Until you can understand that, nothing will make sense.

  2. Anybody who has worn the same (apparently) un-drycleaned suit for 10 years has some inherent issues

  3. The flamin shitz have always been Coynes, oh well. The only album I ever paid for of his was “Here it is” that kind of barely sucked. What do you expect from an OKC poster boy? of course he resorts to a nose bag. This guy is nothing more than manson workin VZD’s door with a Boa Constrictor around his neck. Oh well

  4. If Wayne/Flaming Lips had never reached the level it has, he would be the guy asking you for change on Friday’s in the Plaza. Luckily for him and his fans, his talent was discovered, but other than his musical talent he pretty much is either as said above “simply a mental patient not yet hospitalized” or ” a guy who cannot function in any world other than his music”
    I myself think an old fashioned, take him outside and give him a serious ass kicking would do him some major good.

  5. I suppose only the Lord, and maybe Wayne, knows what’s really going on. Just the same, that was a really interesting read, Patrick. You should get a nomination for a blog Pulitzer (Blogitzer?) prize.

  6. I’ve tried to post a comment on here before to no avail but I guess I’ll give it another go. I’m not defending Wayne’s recent douche-y behavior and a lot of it rubs me the wrong way -there’s no excuse for the headdress photos – but I have witnessed “Old Wayne Coyne” operate as such during this “New Wayne Coyne” era you outline above. He showed up out of the blue at the OKC heartwalk a year ago and walked with all the non-hipster parents and family members of children born with congenital heart defects. My wife and I being Lips fans asked him if he would take a picture with our kids and he lovingly and graciously obliged, hugging my son and daughter up against him as he knelt in the wet grass so my wife could snap a pic. This set off a continuous flow of walkers and children who asked for the same favor for the next 45 minutes to an hour and he obliged every one. I would bet a paycheck that the vast majority of these people had no idea who he was and had never heard of the Flaming Lips but sensed that he was someone of some renown and wanted a picture anyway. An hour plus later Wayne finally crossed the finish line with the last of the walkers and I apologized to him for getting the endless photo op line started and he waved it off and said “no big deal”. Then he spoke to a couple more people and casually strolled down the street as if he’d never been there at all. All of this doesn’t excuse other behaviors nor does it mean he’s the best guy in the world. I’m pretty sure though, that if he had wanted to be, he could have been home doing lines and plotting his next big attention getting spectacle or something. Point is, I think he’s still a good guy. Maybe a good guy who’s had some recent lapses in judgement or maybe made some choices that others(we) haven’t approved of(even though most of them aren’t any of our business anyway). Don’t get me wrong, I prefer “Old Wayne” as well…I think he’s probably still in there somewhere, just maybe took a couple walks down some shady streets lately. They don’t all have crowds of heartkids and soccer moms on them.

    • He probably just saw a crowd and decided to milk it, that’s his M.O. He can’t go to the grocery store without waving his arms around and shouting: “look at me! look at me!”

      • …except he didn’t do that at all. He just walked, kind of with his head down, until my wife approached him about the picture. My family has been participating in the heartwalk for 8 years. Guess how many Oklahoma “celebrities” I’ve seen participate in any way, shape or form…One: Wayne Coyne.

        • I guess that’s why TLO has written so much about him. Because that guy exists somewhere.

          • See, that’s the sad part about this whole story. He WAS such a great person to revere. He was publicly humble, but knew that he meant something to people. Since whatever happened, happened… he is just a dick. He doesn’t go out anymore, unless there are native americans to laugh at. He doesn’t take endless pictures. He isn’t good old Wayne anymore. In a very shallow way, it is kind of like losing an uncle. Sure the uncle always brought you penny whistles and laughy taffy, but he was fun and charming. Then, he got in with a group of Conservatives, drank the kool aid and now won’t shut up about how minorities should pick themselves up and stop complaining about only white people have money. It’s just sad.

    • you let him near your child? WOW can you say MERSA? are you 2 related? Er wha??????????????????

    • He was high duh….. Such accolades for a struggling artist, a heart walk is a photo op idiot……………

      • i guess what i’m saying, you asshole moron, is that it wasnt like that. if he had wanted a true photo op, prick, he would have showed up where the actual news cameras were, dipshit. not on some side street with a bunch of rural families who have no idea who he is.

        • …and maybe, just maybe, Patrick sees in him what you described and wonders what happened to that guy. Stay tuned for further answers from… Captain Obvious!

  7. Yeah and now he’s doing a remake of sgt peppers lonelt hearts club band with miley cyrus. what the fuck happened wayne?

  8. listen up groupies, the guys high!!!!!!!!! he would show up at a heart walk HIGH! How else could he buy a replacement…….. you give coyne to much street cred, he’s a suszie this side of hades. Ask me more……….

    • I don’t think anyone is arguing that he has been high for the better part of, at least, 3 decades. I just don’t understand what you are trying to prove… Saying he was high is like trying to make an argument that he had hair. Yes, we all know he had a love for weed and a love for public events, and he was probably stoned at more than a few of them. That has nothing to do with the fact that his persona has changed for the worse in the last few years. If you are going to troll, be better at it.

  9. and I paid for “Here It Is” 7 bux at rainbow records , bite me Coyne. i got skrewed buyin your poster insert, pink vinyl SLUT, howa bout i pour some MUDHONEY right on that sweet arse of yours , I play a sax

  10. Personally, I want to imagine that this is all just some big performance piece that was kicked off by “Governor” Fallin removing “Do You Realize” as the state song. He has nuzzled next to Hipster Boo Boo to get close to Fallin and within a year, he is going to call her a fraud, tell some awful secrets about the family, and then return to Old Uncle Wayne while doing some more prepaid wireless commercials.

  11. Back to the meat and taters of this article, this is not the first time coynes crapped on a band mate. In 89-91(its been a min. since i graduated John marshall) The Lipshitz drummer was a regular employee at Rainbow Records (I will not mention his name) He was canned for speaking out of turn. As for coynes sobriety? Id believe it, this guy never made a show unless it was his own. I never saw him at the Velvet Underground(13th and shartell) hey it was a BlackFlag 87-88? show everybody was there, I didnt see him at Fugazi 91-93? (edmond armory) I was workin the door at that one, And he certainly wasnt at the Ramones tribute at Bowl 66 in 2001? (Joey or dee dee) I forget who took the roachcoach first. My point is that sure he was sober then, he sure as hell wasnt hangin with us and we owned the block, I guess he could have been in Norman painting mannequins pink in his front yard, does anybody remember that crap?????? A nose bleed is the price of fame, he and Gov. Mary Failin (me on a daily basis) are made for each other. I cant wait to see the love child

  12. gotta admit to a clerical error, I think the Lipshitz opened for Fugazi at the Edmond Armory, ( id have to look in a box of stubs and backstage tech passes to be sure) Im pretty sure that show opened with Angry Son, Shoe PAPA Blue, then the LipShitz and Fugazi. Its the only time Ive seen coynes band, and I dont think i missed much.

  13. bazz, bash away all you want, I enjoy it, but The Lips were there before the beginning. And you are correct, Wayne wasn’t drugged up then. Maybe that’s why they were good then. That, and Michael.

    • I know this article is four days old but, after catching Coynes bit part at the Billboard awards this evening, I stand by every bit of what I posted in the last four days. What a chode, I gotta bust into a box of sub pop 45s just to clear that crap from my head.

  14. I agree with this article. I also think it’s the coke that’s to blame. Speaking as a musician who’s worked with a couple of nose powder addicts in the past, the personality change he’s undergoing in public looks awfully familiar. When I read Kliph Scurlock’s account of his firing that was the first thing that to entered my mind.

  15. Does Mary Fallin do cocaine? She just had a political ally get caught with some. And her friend Wayne openly does coke. Birds of a feather.

  16. Nothing has changed with Wayne Coyne. He’s the same as he always has been. It’s the world that has changed.

  17. Listen to the words: wayne coyne is recording sgt peppers lonely hearts club band with miley cyrus — hillarious — this is punk rock — I dont think wayne has ever lost it!- he keeps doing new things ! Keeps seaching even in dark places ..– NEVER repeating themselves — i love that !! Flaming lips is a living organism unlike so many other bands … Flaming lips is not just a band — it is art — with a heart —

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