The art of the gimmick: an interview with the Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne
The Flaming Lips have never done anything small, from the “Parking Lot Experiments” of the mid-90s to this year’s Record Store Day album, “The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends.” Set for an April 21st release, the limited edition vinyl record features an odd cast of characters, including Bon Iver, Erykah Badu, Neon Indian, Nick Cave and Ke$ha, many of whom have lent their actual blood to the record.
“That is totally a gimmick,” Wayne Coyne answers with great relish. “It’s a beautiful gimmick. I think all things that we marvel over are based in gimmicks.”
He’s on the phone for a day of back-to-back interviews, a trapping of the job that would cause lesser, more jaded men to roll their eyes and submit with dragged heels, particularly those who’ve been playing the game through 30 years and 13 LPs. But Coyne, much to his credit, dives into everything he does headfirst with the manner of childlike wonder that’s come to be established with the vast majority of the Flaming Lips’ catalog.
At the beginning of our conversation, he lets it be known that he’s slightly distracted. His wife is photographing him. And he’s in his underwear. He didn’t bother putting anything else on, knowing that he’d be running a marathon of phone interviews all day. Maximum comfort is important. It’s a hard image to erase from my mind as Coyne settles in to explain the band’s decision to embrace Siri on a recent web-only track called “Now I Understand.”