Wayne Coyne Slams Ex-Flaming Lips Drummer as 'Pathological Liar'

Oklahoma band's frontman also apologizes for posts criticized as hurtful to Native Americans

Flaming Lips, Wayne Coyne, ex-drummer, Kip Scurlock
The guy from R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion" video has something to say Photo by David Andrako for SPIN
Marc Hogan WRITTEN BY
Marc Hogan

Wayne Coyne is dismissive. He's also contrite. The Flaming Lips frontman has rejected comments from former drummer Kliph Scurlock that generated a media firestorm last week. At the same time, though, the Oklahoma psych-rock band's leader has also apologized for social media posts that Scurlock had said were hurtful toward Native Americans. 

Coyne, in an interview with Rolling Stone, brushed off Scurlock's allegations as the statements of a "compulsive pathological liar." The band's former roadie-turned-drummer had claimed he was fired for criticizing Christina Fallin — a friend of Coyne, the daughter of Oklahoma's governor, and the frontwoman for a band called Pink Pony — over a controversial photo where she wore a Native American headdress. In a lengthy statement to Pitchfork, he also accused Coyne of "endless verbal (with physical) threats of abuse" and said Coyne urged him to start a Twitter feud with the Black Keys.

"The only thing that we would have to say about Kliph leaving is that he just was not very significant to us," Coyne told RS. "And all the things he's saying about the reason he was fired, it's all just made-up lies. He knows we struggled with him for years and it didn't occur to us that it seemed that significant. I don't even use the word 'fired.' He just doesn't play drums with us anymore — that's the way I'd put it." Coyne also said Scurlock had become a "lazier and more close-minded musician."

Coyne's account adds to what he and multi-instrumentalist Steven Drozd tweeted about the affair last week. Drozd wrote that "this Lips/Kliph bullshit has gone too far," adding, "We parted ways because of the usual band musical differences." Coyne shared an image containing the following cryptic message: "Fools take a knife and stab people in the back. The wise take a knife, cut the cord, and set themselves free from the fools." He also posted an image including a quote from Buddha.

While Coyne defended Fallin to RS, he also apologized to those who might've been offended by his social media activity in support of the singer, whose behavior toward Native American protestors after the headdress photo eventually led to a denunciation from her mother, Oklahoma Governor Mary Falin.

"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," Coyne said. "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."

He continued: "But Christina is our friend. She's young, and she's trying to feel her way through social media and I don't think she's very good at it. And Kliph is an online bully. He can jump on hating Dave Grohl, and we can be like 'whatever.' But when it's really someone that you actually know, and you're like 'Really? You're going to call her a cunt?'"

As for how Flaming Lips will replace Scurlock, Coyne said they plan to use two different drummers. One will be Clive Deamer, who has worked with Radiohead and Portishead. Elsewhere in the interview, which you can read here, the Lips boss also played down his reported beefs with Erykah Badu and Arcade Fire. "I don't even like talking about our ex-drummer," he said, "because it just uses up this space that we could be talking bout this cool shit we're doing with Sean Lennon and My Morning Jacket and Miley [Cyrus], and I don't want any of that tainted."

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