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.]