Flaming Lips flip bird to Arcade Fire: Band Warz!
- March 5, 2009 6:02 PM |
- By Arts Online
Illustration by Jillian Tamaki
Whoa. Wayne Coyne, frontman for wacky Oklahoman psych-rockers the Flaming Lips, is generally considered to be one of the most personable dudes in rock music. He came across as a salt-of-the-earth kinda guy in Bradley Beesley's excellent (and exhaustive) Lips documentary, The Fearless Freaks, and when I interviewed Coyne in Austin, TX, a few years back, he was gentlemanly and delightfully candid. So it was shocking to learn that he'd started an unprovoked war of words with Canada's Arcade FIre.
In the latest issue of Rolling Stone, Coyne goes rogue, taking the Fire to task for, as he puts it, "treat[ing] people like s***." This comment comes in the middle of a totally unrelated interview. While the Flaming Lips singer admits to liking the Arcade Fire's music "on one level," he claims to be so fed up with the Canadian act's "pompousness" that he was compelled to speak out about it.
"People treat Arcade Fire like they're the greatest thing ever and they get away with it. Those sort of opinions change my view of their music. They have good tunes, but they're pricks, so f*** 'em. Who does Arcade Fire think they are? I've been around groups. I've been around the Edge from U2 and he's the fucking sweetest guy ever. I was around Justin Timberlake when he was young and he was just a normal, nice, kind person. Anyone can be polite and kind and people who have the privilege and money and attention should understand that. If they don't, then f*** 'em."
Pretty harsh words from a guy given to dressing up in furry animal suits onstage.
According to Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler, who responded to Coyne's comments with a relatively restrained blog post on his band's website (click through to "Win's Scrapbook"), the two groups have only shared a stage once, over three years ago. Butler expresses admiration for the Flaming Lips' music, and claims that Coyne was "a hard guy to get a read on," though bandmate Steven Drozd was "super nice."
"I am not sure Wayne is the best judge (based on seeing us play at a couple festivals) if [sic] we are righteous, kind and goodhearted people like The Edge and Justin Timberlake ... I can't imagine a reason why we would have been pompous toward The Flaming Lips, a band we have always loved, on that particular night, all those years ago. Unless I was more jet-lagged than I remember, I hope I was less of a 'prick' then [sic] telling Rolling Stone that a bunch of people I don't know at all are really assholes."
And here I thought that floating out over festival crowds while enclosed in a massive transparent bubble was the extent of Coyne's craziness.
In honour of this Technicolour beef, I bring you Fight Test, one of the best tracks from the Lips' fantastic Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (2002) album:
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