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Intimate Portrait: Wayne Coyne

You might think it’s difficult for Flaming Lips frontmanWayne Coyne to be so damn psychedelic all the time, but it’snot much trouble for a guy who loves to soak in fake blood anddance with furries. Every day. The Lips have been touringbehind their stellar Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots for ayear and a half and are now releasing a deluxe version plus an EPwith four new songs. We zoomed through the streets in a soapboxracer, and I totally let Wayne control the brakes.

So, the Lips were recently touring with the Red Hot Chili Peppers?Yeah, and Mike Watt [former Minutemen bassist] was also on the tour. Ithink the Chili Peppers just wanted to have opening bands who are evenolder than they are.

In 2002, you pulled double duty as the opening and backing band for Beck.That required total dedication. It was up to us to decide what to do –even with his own material. It’s a big responsibility to know he willbe playing to a couple of thousand rabid fans every night and couldeasily blame [debacles] on us.

So what’s the deal with this Christmas on Mars film you’ve been working on?It just seemed like all interesting bands have movies: Pink Floyd, theBeatles, the Ramones, the Spice Girls. In our film, people living in aspace station on Mars are getting ready to celebrate their firstChristmas there, and they’re losing a grip on what is real and whatChristmas means. I play a benevolent superbeing traveling home fromOrion’s Belt who is mistaken for Santa Claus. Most of it has been shotin Oklahoma, but I’ve been talking to this guy from a leg of NASA whohas Mars simulators at the North Pole and in Utah. I think I’ll go tothe one in Utah.

Sounds like you sure love Christmas. I like eating those damn dirty stinking turkeys. Gimme gimme! I do, too! We decorate our house as gaudy as we can get away with.

I’d imagine that’s pretty damn gaudy. In these wild political times, is there anything you’d like to throw your support behind?I think everybody is wondering what’s up with Jack white’s mustache. Hehas this weird little John Waters thing going on right now, and I justwant to go on the record saying that I think it looks marvelous.