Warner Bros Records 3rd Annual "Summer Sessions" - Flaming Lips

Earlier this month former Flaming Lips drummer Kliph Scurlock caused a stir by claiming that he was fired from the band for criticizing Wayne Coyne’s friend Christina Fallin, who had controversially posted a photo of herself in a Native American headdress on Instagram. Coyne responded by calling Scurlock an asshole, a hater, and a pathological liar. Now Scurlock seems to have changed his tune as to the reasons for his dismissal from the band. In a lengthy Facebook post today, Scurlock admitted that he was not a team player during his 12-year tenure in the Lips and affirms that Coyne is not a racist.

Scurlock says he never accused Coyne of racism and that in his statement he was trying to explain that Coyne’s Instagram post with the Native American headdress was a personal jab at him, not an expression of racism:

I never have and never will accuse Wayne of racism because I know he’s not racist. And racism can kill careers. Just look at that NBA dude from last week… Despite my “statement” trying to clarify that Wayne is absolutely not a racist and his actions that people are perceiving as racist actions were not done to be racist, but rather to jab at me, I still saw several headlines over the weekend that claimed I was accusing him of racism. Look, if I thought he was racist, I would say so. But I know that dude really, really well and I can say in no uncertain terms that he is absolutely NOT a racist. He’s a lot like me in that he doesn’t understand the depths of a lot of things. Because we, as a nation, do not understand. I’m certain he didn’t know what cultural appropriation is or how it affects people. And maybe he still doesn’t completely understand. I didn’t until relatively recently. (I’m almost 41, so relatively recently can be several years.) Anyway…..so, again, in all caps this time because it’s true – WAYNE COYNE IS NOT A RACIST. And I can say that because I know him. And I wouldn’t say it if it weren’t true because above all else, I value truth, no matter how shitty it is.

Scurlock also claims that the statement he released to Pitchfork was rushed in an attempt to gain some control over the story:

There were a lot of things that I would have taken out because I know how things get blown up and sensationalized and several things I would have clarified better and so on and so forth, but didn’t feel I had a chance to before Pitchfork grabbed ahold of the story and I reacted. So, again, it was the exact opposite of bravery.

Finally, Scurlock agrees that his own bad attitude played a part in his removal from the band and that calling Fallin a “cunt” on Instagram was too harsh:

I’ve also gained a lot of perspective in the last several days about Wayne as a human being and myself as a human being. Watching Wayne get piled on and receive death threats has really freaked me out. We’ve butted heads over the years and he’s done and said several things to me that I found unwarranted and borderline despicable and I thought I would enjoy watching him get his feet held to the fire when this stuff blew up. But I haven’t. At all. And it’s caused me to do a lot of deep thinking. And I see that I wasn’t the perfect soldier in the band I painted myself to be (and thought I was.) There were lots of things I wasn’t the least bit interested in – the Lipsha record, the Stone Roses cover album, the Sgt. Pepper cover album, working with Miley Cyrus, etc. – that I would just simply skate out of and not participate in. I operated under the delusion that it didn’t matter (and it ultimately didn’t. Those records got made or are getting made whether I’m around or not), but I can see how it might look to the other guys in the band and how it might cast doubts on my ultimate allegiance to said band. And, if that’s what they were or are thinking, they’re correct. While I did cast aside my personal feelings about working on the song with Kesha for the Heady Fwends album and worked on it as hard as I could, I didn’t do a single fucking thing on any of the songs earmarked for the Lipsha album. And I’m now of a mind to find that inexcusable. As far as the Flaming Lips are concerned, you’re either all in or you’re all out. And that’s an attitude I admire and part of what was so appealing to me when I joined that band in the first place. I have deluded myself over the past couple of years into thinking I was all in when I wasn’t. I thought I could participate when it was something I was interested in and go off and do other things when it was something I wasn’t. And that’s a bullshit attitude. And I’m ashamed that I’m only now realizing it. I’ve thought a lot about my time with that band in the month and a half since I was fired and I can’t believe I operated under the delusion of, “everything was great and then all of a sudden Wayne flipped out and fired me because I called a friend of his a spoiled rich wannabe-hipster socialite cunt” (at least that’s what I said to the best of my memory. And you can see why I thought that was overly harsh and deleted it.) But I was blinded by my love for the band and thought that was enough. And I thought I was completely in the right and that I had been done wrong by Wayne. And there’s part of me that still thinks that.

It’s a very long screed, and it sheds a lot of new light on the situation. This certainly doesn’t excuse anyone involved from making a mockery of Native American culture, but Coyne’s reasons for parting ways with Scurlock make a little more sense now. Honestly, if Scurlock isn’t into wacky stunt projects and Kesha collaborations, he probably doesn’t belong in the Flaming Lips these days, for better or worse.

[Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images.]

Comments (16)
  1. Being “all in” on a project doesn’t mean you should be working on things you have no interest in. If Scurlock didn’t want to participate in some of the projects (and I really can’t blame him), then he had every right to make that decision.

    Sounds like he’s backing down way more than he needs to, aside from the cunt comment.

  2. “There were lots of things I wasn’t the least bit interested in – the Lipsha record, the Stone Roses cover album, the Sgt. Pepper cover album, working with Miley Cyrus, etc.”

    You and me both Kliph.

  3. looks like he’s been bullied behind the scenes. prob with threats of non-payment of salary etc.

  4. Everyone here seems to really be hating on the Flaming Lips recently. I thought we all knew this was a pop band. They have created a career on a hit pop song and they’ve play with Justin Timberlake. They have a hugely entertaining live show that caters to an extremely diverse audience. They made a god damn christmas movie. I still love the Flaming Lips. But ya know we should all bow at the alter of Coldplay and be pissed that Wayne Coyne and company want to make pop albums, cover albums, and bad ass experimental stuff. Jack White can have 35 easter eggs on his new record, Wu Tang can sell one album for a bazillion dollars, god forbid the Flaming Lips want to release albums in gummy skulls. I guess haters gonna hate.

    • I’ve always loved the Lips because they’re always strived to be different and weird. But they’ve just changed so much in the last decade. I always appreciate when an artist tries to branch out and do something different but if I can’t draw the line at Miley Cyrus and Kesha than I don’t really know what I’m doing as a Flaming Lips fan

    • Well, there are good pop ideas and bad ones. The Flaming Lips have been serving up a lot of bad ones. And let’s face it, it’s not like your reward for getting into the gummy skull is a USB drive with great tunes on it.

    • Also, people seem to be forgetting The Terror. That album was weird and dark and undeniably Flaming Lips-y, and it came out just last year. Just because they’re hanging out with pop stars doesn’t mean they’re changing their tune. Honestly, none of this drama makes a bit of difference to me when it comes down to it. I’ll still listen to their music and enjoy it and consider them to be brilliant, weird musicians.

  5. Seems like some immature behavior on all sides. Kliph–in calling Christina Fallin the c word. Taking someone to task for culturally insensitive/borderline racist behavior is no problem, but that definitely crosses a line IMO.

    Wayne went way too far with insulting Kliph, and it sure seemed like defending Fallin’s actions were part of the impetus in firing Kliph. If he had come out and simply made it clear that he doesn’t support her actions but that Kliph went over the line in slurring her, then he wouldn’t have seemed like such a gigantic dick. Kliph’s other behavior and its impact on the band are also understandable justifications for firing him.

    Overall, I would expect more reasonable and mature behavior from all sides, so this whole thing is pretty sad and pathetic.

    • And I meant that specifically seeing as Kliph’s 41 and Wayne’s 53. I definitely got involved in some drama like this back in college, but I’m 28 now would like to think most people my age and older would be over that kinda stuff.

  6. This is explanation seems refreshingly self-aware.

  7. Something to note – this post was made on the 7th of May (it says on the bottom of the original post, and I’m a FLips nerd), which was before the Wayne RS interview came out. It doesn’t mean much, but it does mean that he did some self-reflection and acknowledgement, and then got torn to shreds publicly by Wayne in Rolling Stone. It might just be me, but presenting this stuff out of order makes Kliph’s second ramble sound a little less genuine? Thought you guys should know.

  8. A lot of fans don’t like the direction the band have gone in, and Kliph was a fan first. Wayne says that Kliph wasn’t involved creatively, which I am pretty sure we all expected…I was under the impression that the band’s music was created by Stephen with Wayne. But if that’s not the case, and every member was expected to write their own parts, and be an equal part of that process, than it is fair that every member would have some sort of say or vote in what the band is doing. I know that if I were in the band, and the tides turned from these glorious, heart-swelling, inspirational, hope-filled genius songs, performed live with a hand over the heart, puppets and strap-on strobe lights, dancing animals on stage to…this? Pop stars, cover album after cover album, and goodness. Just look at Wayne Coyne’s Twitter. I think the last tweet I saw was about a vending machines with dildos and condoms in it, and he spelled FrEaKz like a fifteen-year-old on AOL in 1995. And throws around “hater” like a fucking kid, and comes off like a complete jerk, and tells us to not be fans if we don’t like it. I would have quit the job a long time before he got thrown out, and gotten into another band that delivers, inspires, and has a totally positive, feel good vibe again. If you had told me that this was what the Lips were going to be like ten-fifteen years ago…if you had told me this was their legacy? I never would have bought it, and would have argued you right out of the room. It’s just sad.

  9. I think everyone, kliph, wayne and internet commentors included need to take a deep breath.

  10. Take a listen to Fallin’s band. It’s the most trite, generic store-bought indie haze bullshit this side of Lana del Rey. Then look to her mother, a teabagging douche who just presided over one of the most disgustingly botched executions in recent American history. Slap that together with some incredibly tone-deaf cultural appropriation (and an even more tone-deaf response) and any sane individual couldn’t run in the opposite direction fast enough. Wayne Coyne is out of ideas and his head has inflated to such an astronomical scale he somehow thinks he’s infallible. This mea culpa comes with many strings attached, no doubt, and it’s a shame Scurlock must shirk his integrity to collect a paycheck.

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