Kliph Scurlock, who played drums in the Flaming Lips for 12 years, recently parted ways with the band. And last week, after a great deal of online speculation, Scurlock gave his side of the story, claiming that frontman Wayne Coyne had been verbally abusive and threatening for years, and that the final breaking point came when Christina Fallin, the daughter of Oklahoma’s conservative governor, Instagrammed a photo of herself in a Native American headdress, an act of cultural appropriation that rankled many. Fallin and Coyne are friends, and when Scurlock called her out on social media, Coyne quickly ejected him from the band. The story has been all over the place for the past week, and it makes Coyne look really, really bad. And now Coyne has finally responded to those allegations, mostly by calling Scurlock an awful person.
In Coyne’s first interview since the story broke, he tells Rolling Stone many, many bad things about Scurlock, though most of it just amounts to name-calling. According to Coyne, Scurlock is the following things: “a typical cowardly Internet hater,” “a lazier and more close-minded musician,” “not creative,” “an abusive, compulsive, pathological liar that will do anything he can do get attention,” “a horrible, hateful person,” and “a bully.” He also claims that Scurlock called Fallin “a cunt” on social media and says that the band won’t be any different without Scurlock in it. Yee.
One of the main criticisms of Coyne in the past week has been the way he dealt with the whole headdress controversy. By way of defending Fallin, he posted a photo on his Instagram of some friends and a dog wearing headdresses. And when Fallin’s band Pink Pony played a recent music festival in Norman, Oklahoma, they mocked protesters, doing fake Native American war dances and flipping them off. Coyne was at the festival, and there are stories of him laughing at the protesters. And for all that stuff, Coyne apologizes in the interview. Sort of.
Here’s how Coyne phrases that apology: “ I would say that I’m very sorry, to anybody that is following my Instagram or my Twitter, if I offended anybody of any religion, any race, any belief system. I would say you shouldn’t follow my tweets; you shouldn’t even probably want to be a Flaming Lips fan because we don’t really have any agenda. We go about doing things through our imagination. And I would say that if we wrongly stepped on anybody’s sacredness, then we’re sorry about that. That was never our intention.”
Coyne also, bizarrely, defends the dog in the Instagram photo from any charges of racism, saying that this dog is “a famous Instagram dog.” And he offers this piece of information: “I don’t publicly ever say it, but I live in a neighborhood that was predominantly Native American in the late ’70s and ’80s. I haven’t done it publicly, but there’s cases of me helping Native Americans. It’s all just Internet hate, you know?” The interview is a fascinating, disturbing read, and you can check it out here.
Well, internet: Is this all just internet hate? Or is Coyne pulling the classic celebrity move of confusing “I’m sorry if you were offended” with “I’m sorry”? Is this a classic case of he-said/he-said, or is it another example of Coyne showing troubling, erratic, detached-from-reality tendencies. In the comments section, the floor is yours.
[Photo by Daniel Knighton/WireImage.]