Christina Fallin headdress

Wayne Coyne likes to pal around with other Oklahoma celebs — here he is hanging out with Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant — and one of those pals is Christina Fallin, the daughter of Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin. The younger Fallin drew a lot of criticism in March for posting a photo of herself wearing a Native American headdress on Instagram (now deleted but pictured above). Fallin caused even more of a stir at the Norman Music Festival last weekend when protestors showed up to her band Pink Pony’s set and she mocked them by again donning the headdress and doing a Native American dance. Sometime between the two incidents, in apparent solidarity with Fallin, Coyne posted a photo of his girlfriend, a roadie, Phantogram’s Sarah Barthel, and a dog wearing the headdress:

One of Fallin’s loudest critics was Kliph Scurlock, the drummer for the Flaming Lips, and it looks like that criticism caused Coyne to dismiss him from the band after 12 years. Scurlock parted ways from the band under mysterious circumstances several weeks ago, but has now explained the situation in a written statement to Indian Country Today: “I was fired for telling Christina to go fuck herself after her lame-ass ’apology’ when people got upset at her stupid headdress photo. That happened in mid-March. I wasn’t anywhere around during the performance [at Norman Music Festival] the other night.”

So essentially Scurlock is saying he was fired from the Flaming Lips for standing up against racism. It’s Coyne’s band, and he has the right to hire and fire whomever he pleases, but if this is the hill he wants to die on, that sucks. Scurlock also tweeted his support for Native Americans:

In other salacious Wayne Coyne news, he was kicked off Instagram again (again), much to the chagrin of Miley Cyrus.

UPDATE: Scurlock has issued a lengthy statement about his dismissal to Pitchfork. Here is an excerpt:

I have kept quiet about the circumstances surrounding Wayne Coyne firing me from The Flaming Lips thus far because I figured those who know and love me would know the truth and it probably wouldn’t be of much importance to anyone else. But it seems it’s quite an interesting topic to some, so for those of you who do care, here’s the story.

Some time in early March, the daughter of the Governor of Oklahoma, Christina Fallin, posted a photo of herself on Facebook wearing a full headdress with the caption, “Appropriate Culturation”, which I found disgusting. (For those who don’t know, a headdress is a symbol of respect which is earned. Each feather in a headdress is representative of a good deed or a fierce battle won. It is, in my opinion, not something to be worn the same way you would wear a t-shirt or a hat or whatever.) A number of people called her out for doing it and several tried explaining to her what the headdress signified, in case she had posted that photo out of ignorance rather than malice. (I’m on the side that thinks she knew exactly what she was doing – hence the caption “Appropriate Culturation”.) She responded with a very insincere non-apology, which I also found disgusting. I have several Native American friends who were very hurt by her combination of actions and I am nothing if not protective of my loved ones. I am also a big proponent of Native rights and one of the greatest tragedies in the history of humankind has been the treatment of the Natives by the white settlers, which continues to this day. So I responded by telling her to go fuck herself on a mutual friend’s Facebook page she was commenting on and posted something on my own page condemning her actions. In my upset over my friends’ upset, I went a little far and included some jabs at her mom. Her mother is someone whose politics I couldn’t possibly be on a more opposite side of and I think she has done many detrimental things to the good people of Oklahoma. So I deleted it because her mom, as vile of a human as I think she is, had nothing to do with it. I intended to post a reworded, on topic comment, but got busy with an Electric Würms song we were working on and didn’t get to it.

Some weeks go by and Wayne was apparently out when he ran into Christina, who proceeded to complain to Wayne. Wayne got upset and texted me at 12:13 a.m. on March 19 to ask me what was up. I explained to him what had happened and he responded, “You lost your mind dude…. that is some petty, sad, hater bullshit. You love to talk shit…. Like a punk coward… ” I stopped responding to him at that point. (By the way, all texts are quoted verbatim, with spelling and punctuation as they were sent to me.)

The following day, I texted him about something personal involving neither of us and we had what I thought was a friendly enough text conversation. I have become used to his lightning quick temper and the horrible things he’ll say in the heat of being upset (which is something I see a bit of in myself and am working to get rid of), but he usually cools off as quickly as he gets upset and things move on. For example, at what ended up being my last Flaming Lips practice, I made an error in judgement and and answered a text from George regarding liner notes for the “7 Skies H3″ CD while one of the other guys used the restroom. Wayne got upset and yelled and threatened to throw my phone and me along with it the next time I had my phone out during practice. 5 minutes later, we had run through the song and everything was fine and Wayne and I resumed our conversation about said liner notes. So, like I said, after we had the friendly conversation about our friend, I figured everything had blown over and gone back to “normal”. Unfortunately, it hadn’t.

At 9:54 p.m., he texted me again pressing the headdress photo issue. In my desire to have this done and over with, I apologized and said I wouldn’t do it again. He responded, “… Ha ha… You so full of shit … You’re a fucking coward !! Go stick up for your Indian friends if its so important to you !!” It devolved from there, with him later texting, “I think….. I am gonna make it so your ’beliefs’ no longer have any association with the Flaming Lips ..” More name calling followed with him finally sending me a text at 3:49 a.m. on March 20 that said I was fired. Along the way, he called me a “nazi punk coward Internet bully” and tried to claim that he was “sadly unaware” that I have taken a few jabs at Dave Grohl on Twitter, when he actually was very aware and, in fact, set me up to do several of them. (He also once tried to get me to talk shit on the Black Keys on Twitter when he got mad because they supposedly dissed Led Zeppelin in a Rolling Stone article (I didn’t read it), but I pretended to do it and never hit send.) He also brought up a tweet I had sent on January 1st saying, “I think Aspen has replaced Las Vegas as my least favorite place on Earth.” I tried explaining to him that I was far from the only person in our organization to post a pissy tweet while in the midst of a bad travel day, but I could tell he wasn’t looking for an actual debate. Whatever Christina had said to him had made up his mind and he was looking for justification. I do almost find humor in the irony that the guy who is known worldwide for talking shit in the press on Beck, Bob Dylan, Erykah Badu, the Arcade Fire, etc. was suddenly so concerned at what I might be saying to my 3000 “friends” on Facebook and 4000 followers on Twitter, but that’s beside the point; like I said, I know he was just looking for some kind of justification because it would make him look bad to kick out someone who had stuck by his side through thick and thin for 12 years (15 if you count the time since I first became a roadie for the band) for calling out a spoiled brat for doing something insensitive and stupid.

So, yeah, I was fired.

Read the rest of the statement at Pitchfork.

UPDATE 2: Flaming Lips members Wayne Coyne and Steven Drodz have responded on Twitter. Drodz says the band and Scurlock “parted ways because of the usual band musical differences” and the situation is being blown out of proportion, while Coyne posted a quote about betrayal and the label from a Kombucha bottle with a quote about love from Buddha. Here are the tweets:

Comments (64)
  1. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  2. Not knowing all the real behind the scenes stuff, I’d still side with Scurlock.

  3. The Flaming Lips has become a capitalistic business venture masquerading as an art project with the secondary goal of masturbating wayne’s inflated ego. (the primary goal is making $$$)

    • Sorta. I don;t know if a capitalistic business venture would release an album like the Terror. But maybe Coyne’s gone off his rocker, thinking that album COULD BE a #1 hit record.

  4. When earnest people express disapproval because they are hurt, even if you disagree with them, the absolute most obnoxious course of action is to double down on it.

  5. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  6. Unlike most beefs, this one actually makes me very sad.

  7. Kudos to Scurlock for standing up against this bullshit, and a hearty fuck you to the governor’s daughter and Wayne Coyne.

  8. #CancelWayne

  9. I’ve been seeing this stuff leak out over the last few days and getting progressively more depressed by the situation. I have a ticket to see the Lips in July, and don’t know if I can go.

    On the one hand, this is awful (obviously only if it’s true, but there is so much smoke here…), on the other I already paid for the ticket. At this point a boycott is pointless.

    Sigh.

    • I’d just sell that thing. I can’t really respect Wayne as much as I used to these days.

      • Strongly considering it.

        Also trying to figure out if there’s a way I can use it while making my objections to his (and not the rest of the band’s) actions. Not sure there is though.

      • This is going a little overboard. None of us know exactly why, Kliph was fired. Sure this could have been the last straw, but as with any 10+ year relationship, many things go into its demise.

        And don’t forget, Steven is as much the genius behind the lips as Wayne is.

      • He’s bananas!

  10. More power to you, Mr. Scurlock, IMHO that band is a sinking ship and you’re much better off without them.

  11. Props to Scurlock.

    I’m convinced that all of the stupid beefs Coyne starts, and firing Scurlock, and selling out Deerhoof for Kesha, and all the circus bullshit the Flaming Lips do, and also the good songs and cool things they’ve done – I’m convinced all of that stems from Wayne Coyne having a terrible singing voice and him being insecure about that.

  12. Coming later this month: a new Flaming Lips concept EP based on this whole situation. For only $10,000, you can get a chocolate Native American headdress that includes a gummy arrowhead in which the USB drive is contained. Coyne will be personally selling these at all of the hot spots on the Trail of Tears. Features appearances by Ke$ha, Miley Cyrus, and the dog from Wayne’s Instagram picture.

  13. Wayne is doing an amazing job of destroying the Flaming Lip’s legacy. I’m curious how people will view them ten years from now.

  14. The flaming lips are one of my favorite bands and have been since jr high. thus, i have such a strong urge to be oblvious to all this, but i can’t because its super upsetting and because wayne makes it REALLY FUCKING HARD TO IGNORE HIM EVER. please wayne coyne, stop supporting this headdress shit, and do something other than court media attention no matter the cost. get a hobby.

  15. Wow. this article actually made my stomach turn. fuck you, daughter of oklahoma governor whose name i will purposely forget. dug this info up:

    Fallin removed the Instagram photo and asked the Native American community to “forgive us if we innocently adorn ourselves in your beautiful things.”

    A statement from the band, however, insisted that Christina Fallin was not trying to offend the Native American community.

    According to Indian Country Today Media Network, Fallin mocked them from the stage by wearing “a Native American-style fringed shawl with the word ‘Sheep’ on the back and performed a fake war dance while her boyfriend Steven Battles ridiculed the protesters and flipped them off from the stage.

    A statement from the band, however, insisted that Christina Fallin was not trying to offend the Native American community.

    “Nothing about our performance was connected in any way to Native American culture,” the statement said. “We are sincerely sorry to anyone who was offended by the photograph that started this controversy.”

    ADVICE: educate your over-privileged brain with the possibility that the your “cool accessory” that you took selfies with that has deep meaning and is considered sacred and should be treated with respect.

    Kliph Scurlock, you’re a godsend, thank you for going against the grain. Wayne Coyne, you’ve been a joke for awhile.

  16. Ke$ha, Miley, this Fallin chick — Does anyone else see a trend here with a 53-year-old Wayne Coyne trying to impress girls who are half his age or more with his hippie rock star antics? Maybe he should form a band with Thurston Moore and they can both have a mid-life crisis circle jerk together.

  17. Now Coyne’s bullshit is really just too heavy for Superman to lift.

  18. Disclaimers:
    1. I love the Flaming Lips.
    2. I’m not a Native American.
    2. Kliph seems like a nice guy.
    3. Wayne seems like a huge dick.

    That being said, it’s hard for me to feel any outrage about the headdress. I agree that it was a terrible idea, especially since she’s the daughter of the governor of the state with the second largest Native American population in the U.S. I just feel left out whenever the internet gets riled up by people like this chick, or Sky Ferreira, or Lily Allen, or Joan Rivers, or whomever’s turn it is next week.

    • Is there a reason you’re only mentioning women? (I’m not trolling, just curious)

    • While you’re not personally obliged to feel outraged, I think the outcry is understandable, and it’s comparable to the ire that the Victoria’s Secret fashion show garnered a little over a year ago for pulling a similar “Look! A headdress! Fun!” thing. Further, I think native appropriations need to be called out because they are still so bewilderingly common and people seem to not give a shit (the staunch support that a number of professional sports teams with racist mascots continue to garner for said mascots being an especially germane example). In the case of natives, it’s especially damaging because this is seemingly done out of the assumption that Indians are somehow this relic of the past like a fucking penny farthing or a handlebar mustache, and not actual people who are still here and are understandably sensitive about white people taking important pieces of their heritage and repurposing them for kitsch value.

      Anyway, perhaps this a good time to shout out a wonderful blog that deals with the subject, http://nativeappropriations.com/

      • Upvoted for coming back at me with a calm, dispassionate response and restoring my faith in the internet.

        I totally agree with you on the fashion show, the racist mascots, and the fact that Native Americans are seen as relics of the past by way too many people. Like the internment of Japanese Americans during the World War II, the Trail of Tears and the Wounded Knee Massacre have been banished to the “Oh, yeah! I guess that DID happen!” part of our collective historical consciousness. My point is that I never have any trouble agreeing with and learning from comments like yours. It’s the “OMG CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE” comments that whittle away my faith in the internet.

        Thanks for the link!

    • It’s psychological. A lot of people get excited when somebody crosses one of these lines, because it means they get to feel feelings. I don’t really get it. It’s like a hive mind superego thing. It gets pretty scary.

      I’m guessing some of these people who rage post about these incidents are really angry at somebody else who had an actual impact on their lives, but idiot, racist celebrities are an easier target than whoever it is they’re really mad at (themselves, their parents, God, etc.)

      Raging at people who break politically correct taboos is a liberal thing. For conservatives the rage is a lot more straightforward. Just go to any news story online about any crime, scroll down to the comments and you’ll find the conservatives describing the horrible ways they want to murder the accused.

      • I don’t really get it either. What’s unfortunate is how counter-productive it is. Overreactions like that can scare away the undecided readers whose minds they might have changed. (See saturnian’s excellent comment from the other week: http://www.stereogum.com/1676240/sky-ferreira-denies-charges-of-racism-surrounding-i-blame-myself-video/news/) I’m reminded of the Laura Jane grace article, when the commenters came down like so many sledgehammers on Tom for his “So: Good for her? I guess?” instead of calmly explaining the situation and giving him a chance to catch up. Anger – even righteous indignation – is rarely productive.

  19. marko  |   Posted on May 2nd +7

    The comments in this old thread about how nice Wayne Coyne is seem more and more like their from several universe away:
    http://www.stereogum.com/56431/wayne_coyne_tears_arcade_fire_a_new_asshole/franchises/wheres-the-beef/

  20. fuck.

    Based on p4k’s front page and this article, she got the attention she wanted. fuck.

    I really hoped this shit would’ve stayed on my facebook feed but I guess that damn NMF performance was enough for this to go to the big leagues. (I did not see Pink Pony’s show in Norman because I was in Tulsa seeing HAIM that same night).

    Does Wayne realize (??) that kicking Kliph out of the band because of Feathergate makes The Lips look absolutely fucking awful now? How can they be ambassadors of a state with such a rich Native American history now? I don’t think they can. Most people you meet in Oklahoma have some Native American heritage, which is why this has become a big deal.

    Based on my feed the backlash is just beginning. I saw one friend of mine ask if he needs to be the one to suckerpunch Wayne the next time he runs into him. Christina has been compared to Lohan and most girls I know won’t stop from calling her out.

    *sigh*

    Such a weird time. I have friends that are friends with Fallin ( I’ve spoken to her once) and friends who WERE friends with her but probably not now. I’ve always felt bad for her because of who her mother is, but if she wants attention she should start by making decent music. It worked for the Flaming Lips once upon a time…

  21. what’s the roadie’s name?

  22. if i had to weigh my listening choices against the personalities of the people who created the music i’d be rocking out to silence.

    • cobra  |   Posted on May 2nd +1

      I’m going to proceed believing that Wayne suddenly became no good after Yoshimi came out.

  23. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  24. I love flaming lips 1987′s oh my gawd to 1995′s clouds taste metallic. If you live in okc and aren’t a hipster jack off than you’ll realize(pun??) nobody likes Wayne. He’s just a douche. Steven drozd is the flaming lips and to quote Gibby Haynes’ “Wayne’s biggest asset. I don’t go out that much but I rarely see him and it’s good because all he spouts is ego bullshit. The flaming lips are a business. If Michael Ivins left than Wayne would replace him, I don’t know about Steven. But I like Steven even more because he’s really private. It’s about the money!!!!

    Ps omg back in 2002-2003 size records on 89th and western had the originally painting of oh my gawd it’s the flaming lips. Dustin the owner bought it off Wayne’s old girlfriend and Wayne wanted that painting back so badly, he begged for it but they later sold it to a friend in Austin.

  25. I feel like if my dad happened to front a band that happened to be cool, he’d be a lot like Wayne Coyne.

  26. This could just be an extremely intricate new performance of their new multimedia album “Kliph Spurlock Battles the Pink Douchebag”.

  27. q: what do you call an egomaniac that jangles in your pocket?

  28. byers  |   Posted on May 3rd -6

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  29. onceler  |   Posted on May 3rd +24

    Some rich tea-bagger pseudo rocker lady wearing a headdress with the caption “appropriate culturation” is fucking gross. F her and her moronic execution-botching mother.

    I don’t care how many contrarian, white whiney young men with zero life experience here think that flat-out mocking and disrespecting Native Americans is just more fodder for ‘pc vs un-pc’ debates, it’s not. It hurts real people who are already beyond marginalized and who’s culture is used as mascots for others’ entertainment. In short, yeah, it’s racist. Fallin is a racist. Wayne Coyne, it appears, wants to align himself with racists and teabaggers. OK, Wayne, go ahead. F you too. I’ll never send another $ your way for anything. He has the gall to call someone a ‘nazi’ for complaining about white privilege? What is with this ignorant old white dudes in rock who don’t have the slightest understanding of how power dynamics actually work?

    Also I just hate when people become famous and use it as a reason to excuse their bullying, their temper explosions, and generally mistreating people because they know no one will call them on it. The world can use a few less people who are this morally weak.

  30. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  31. This is now like Example #78 of Wayne Coyne being an egotistical, temperamental asshole. I wanted to give him the benefit of a doubt after the first couple of stories broke back a few years ago, just because I loved the band so much, but it’s pretty clear now he is the problem and has really devolved into a pile of crap. The pattern is pretty clear. Man, what a bummer.

    Combine this with all the endless perverted and juvenile nonsense he surrounds himself with, either in his twitter/instagram feed, or the videos he releases without consent and I think we’ve got ourselves a grade A a-hole here. And enough with the grey suits bro. Get a new outfit.

  32. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  33. Wow, after reading all of this, I’ve concluded that Wayne is a pretty big asshole, a fake individual, and possibly a bit racist.

  34. I mean Kliph is a sweet drummer, Wayne is a great frontman, this situation sucks but doesn’t make me dislike Wayne, The albums speak for themselves and I will absolutely look forward to new Lips stuff even if Kliph isn’t involved- And to speak the comments above about the Lips being a money hungry stunt band, I agree with whoever brought up The Terror… That album doesn’t scream accessibility at all, it doesn’t contain a “happy” or “dark horse” in any sense

    The whole Miley, Kesha, etc… gimmick I cant speak on, I’m with Kliph on that, worst collab decisions, especially when chosen over DEERHOOF.

    Oh the crazy world of rock n rollers…

  35. Wayne Coyne is a hypocritical dick with an enormous ego. Always has been. Always will be. Big egos can produce amazing pieces of work. And he has. The Flaming Lips have put out a handful of fantastic albums. But let’s shove that fact aside. Kliph simply called Coyne out for being a dick which was pretty ballsy and brave. Coyne is not some god. He’s not untouchable. Coyne certainly wasn’t going to react to the criticism in a more professional and thoughtful way. He can dish out criticism. Calling Guided By Voices “sell outs” after making a record with Rick Ocasek. Said he was going to burn his GBV collection. For making an album that was more produced and less lo fi. C’mon, Wayne. You’ll plaster your music anywhere for a buck. You’ve been a sell out for years.
    It’s his band. His way or the highway. Kliph is probably better off. He’s a well respected musician and one heck of a nice guy who really gives a shit about his fans. Coyne’s the opposite.

  36. that whole doing lines with Kei$ha thing is where I started to get really worried. That and the Buthole Surfers acusing them of plagerism in Fearless Freaks.

  37. Oh Wayne, Wayne…I am so heart-sick at this. That you have shown such racial insensitivity as an ‘alternative’ and provocative artist hurts me very badly. I am one too and we are drawn to the ‘other’, those who are not in the economic mainstream or dominant ethnic paradigm because they see the world differently and we crave to be challenged by that. But to show such contempt by not only abusing your friend and fellow artist for standing up for civil rights but also mockingly reinforcing the contempt by placing a sacred symbol on the head of a dog dismays me.

    I am from Australia where this conflict deals mostly with what is sacred to Australian Aboriginal people. For example, respecting their wish that we don’t climb Uluru or enter their lands without permit etc (in case we upset or interfere with sacred practices as so on). We wouldnt ride a motorbike through the middle of a church service to offend people so why would we do equivalent actions to communities and people whose sacredness is not confined within buildings and has defined physical representations, such as headresses?

    There are people who take delight in mocking such symbolism, but that is usual because they loathe themselves and want to bring their own sense of misery to other people. Wayne are you one of those people? Oh it’s so sad. I’ve loved your music for 20 years but until I read that you have sought out and earned a true apology from those you have offended I’m afraid I can’t ever listen to your music again.

    It breaks my heart…

  38. Seems pretty clear, the drummer has a big “mouth”, online, and doesn’t know when to stop. I don’t blame Wayne for firing him. Most people don’t get what happened and are making Coyne the scapegoat. Artists are often misunderstood……

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