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Wayne Coyne

Wayne Coyne, 2006
Background information
Birth name Wayne Michael Coyne
Born January 13, 1961 (1961-01-13) (age 49)
Origin Norman, Oklahoma, U.S.
Genres Alternative rock
Occupations Musician, songwriter, actor, director
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 1983-present
Labels Warner Bros. Records
Associated acts The Flaming Lips

Wayne Michael Coyne (born January 13, 1961) is the lead singer, guitarist, and principal songwriter for the band The Flaming Lips.


Early life

Wayne Michael Coyne was born in a Mexican hospital January 13, 1961. He grew up in Oklahoma City and was the fifth of six children. Wayne preferred listening to music and playing pickup football. He and his brothers dubbed themselves “The Fearless Freaks” for their brutal backyard football games. Tommy Coyne, Wayne's older brother, described the games as a "semi-civilized gang fight." [1]

Wayne earned money in high school as a fry cook for a Long John Silver's restaurant in Oklahoma City. During his second year of employment, there was a rash of robberies in Oklahoma City. During his work, the restaurant was robbed. Wayne and other employees were held at gunpoint and forced to lie on the ground. Wayne was certain he was going to die.[2] Although the assistant manager couldn't open the safe, the robbers eventually fled. Wayne believes "this is really how you minute you're just cooking up someone's order of french fries and the next minute you're laying on the floor and they blow your brains out. There's no music, there's no significance, it's just random." [1]

With the Flaming Lips

Coyne at Lollapalooza, 2006 Grant Park, Illinois

Coyne formed the Flaming Lips in 1983 with brother Mark singing lead and Michael Ivins on bass guitar. Mark later left the band, and Wayne assumed vocal duties. Critics described Wayne as a punk rocker on acid.[3] Wayne admits that he often experimented with LSD: "When we were young, I think we took too many drugs. So we like to make weird music." Later in the same film in which this statement is made Wayne says that there are certain advantages to taking risks [Psychedelics, Marijuana mostly], and though he doesn't do drugs now, he took those risks when he was young and benefited from them. Also worthy to note that Wayne, in a recent interview, said that he would still take "LSD and things like that if they didn't last so long" [1]

During large-crowd festival performances, Wayne makes his entrance by descending from an alien mother ship (a nod to Parliament Funkadelic[4]) in a bubble, and floating across the audience. Coyne has also been known to pour fake blood down his face via a hidden tube during live shows. Wayne does this to pay homage to a famous picture of Miles Davis who, after a performance, had blood on his suit because a police officer had beaten him during the show.

Flaming Lips concerts also feature confetti cannons, lasers, images projected on to a screen, dozens of large balloons, and a stage filled with dancers dressed as Teletubbies.[5] Before performing, Wayne can be seen helping the stage crew. Their performances have been likened to Psychedelic Experiences rather than something so benign as music shows, a tradition that goes back to the band's formation.[1]

He has caused some controversy by advocating the use of violence against people who use animals in medical research at a concert in the UK[6]. The band were also criticised for their use of "crude propagandist" techniques in some of the visual imagery used at their gigs.[6]

Wayne’s Experimental Art

In 1996 and 1997, Wayne developed “The Parking Lot Experiments,” where forty different tapes were distributed. The band instructed forty cars to start the tapes at the same time, resulting in a surround sound. A parking lot of over 1,000 people gathered for this experiment.

The parking lot experiments led to the experimental album Zaireeka, which is made up of four stereo tracks, each on four different CDs. The four CDs are meant to be played simultaneously in order to hear the complete tracks. Wayne believes Zaireeka embraces "...a kind of anarchy in art. It was like an art happening -- you have to bring four sound systems together. Sometimes you get great synchronicity; other times, it sounds haphazard. You get to hear music in a whole new way."[7]

At the New Year's Eve Freakout in Oklahoma City on January 1, 2010, Coyne instructed the audience to set their cell phone alarms for 12:55 a.m. When the alarms went off, the alarm sounds were drown out by cheering. Coyne remarked that "someone has a loud fucking iPhone."

Wayne’s Directorial Debut

Wayne began making his science fiction film, Christmas on Mars, in 2001. It was a low budget project and principal photography was shot on a set in his backyard. The different parts of the spaceship set were built by Wayne.[1]

The film tells the story of the first Christmas on a colonized Mars. In the film, Wayne plays a super being who is curious about a baby being born on Mars.

Christmas on Mars was shown for the first time at the Sasquatch! Music Festival inside of a circus tent. The Flaming Lips took the tent with them on tour, showing the movie after each performance. "The concept was to come up with another one of those midnight movies, like 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show,' that I went to see as a teenager, all toked up, before the days of cable."[7]

Other projects/appearances

Wayne Coyne in Brighton Centre, UK in 2003
  • Bradley Beesley directed a 2005 film about Coyne and the Flaming Lips, The Fearless Freaks, which features much footage of Coyne's early life, as well as his narration about his experiences in the band.
  • On May 24, 2006, a video of Coyne was shown at the graduation ceremony at his old high school, the Classen School of Advanced Studies in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In the video he spoke of not being a high school graduate, working at Long John Silver's, selling marijuana out of his apartment, and the value of life experience.[8]
  • In 2006, Coyne appeared in a Swedish music program called 'Musikministeriet'[9] ('The Ministry Of Music'). He was featured in every episode, beginning and ending each one with a few eloquent words about that particular episode's theme, and his opinions about it.
  • Coyne and The Flaming Lips guest starred in an episode of the television show Charmed.
  • Coyne and The Flaming Lips appeared on an episode of Beverly Hills 90210, playing at the Peach Pit. They sometimes show the clip at live concerts.
  • Coyne sings on the track Colossal Gray Sunshine of Faultline's album Your Love Means Everything

Personal life

Wayne Coyne lives with his wife Michelle in a compound of four houses in the same neighborhood he grew up in. Each Halloween, Wayne dresses up to scare trick-or-treaters that come to his home. He feels that it is good to scare children, because when they grow older, there are things "that are horribly can't just run away from them or turn on a light and it runs away."[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f The Fearless Freaks. Dir. Beesely, Bradley. Perfs. Wayne Coyne. Shout Factory, 2005.
  2. ^ "The Wikipedia Files: The Flaming Lips on Chicago Public Radio Blog, July 20, 2009". Retrieved 2009-07-21.  
  3. ^ Curtis Ross. "Transmissions From The Lead Lip. " Knight Ridder Tribune Business News 13 April 2007
  4. ^ Joan Anderman, Globe Staff. . "The Flaming Lips: as honest as they are quirky: [THIRD Edition]. " Boston Globe [Boston, Mass.] 8 Sep. 2006,C.16.
  5. ^ Jon Niccum. . "Space Case: Wayne Coyne transports the Flaming Lips' extraterrestrial sounds back to Wakarusa. " McClatchy - Tribune Business News 6 June 2008
  6. ^ a b [1] Understanding Animal Research, 2009.
  7. ^ a b Jonathan Takiff. . "All about the Flaming Lips, straight from the psychedelic mouth of Wayne Coyne. " McClatchy - Tribune Business News 23 May 2008
  8. ^ James Montgomery (2006-05-26). "Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne Delivers Bizarre High School Graduation Address". Retrieved 2007-02-12.  
  9. ^ Musikministeriet info on SVT

External links



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