Flaming Lips Drummer Says He Was Fired for Criticizing Wayne Coyne's Friend
But a current member insists the band and Scurlock "parted ways because of the usual band musical differences. The rest has been blown way out"
New information on the March firing of Flaming Lips drummer Kliph Scurlock is exposing an alleged dark side of frontman Wayne Coyne. A Gawker report (since corroborated by Scurlock) explains that the drummer was dismissed after criticizing one of Coyne's close friends via Facebook for wearing a Native American headdress in a controversial photo shoot. The wearer was Christina Fallin, daughter of Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin.
Scurlock shared a lengthy explanation of the ordeal with Pitchfork today, as the issue continued to pick up steam. He details Coyne's "endless verbal (with threats of physical) abuse" during his 12 years with the band. During the headdress controversy, Coyne allegedly texted him, "… Ha ha… You so full of shit … You're a fucking coward !! Go stick up for your Indian friends if its so important to you !!"
Christina Fallin, singer of the band Pink Pony, received considerable opposition for wearing the headdress in a photoshoot (pictured above). Soon after, she apologized to Oklahoma's Native American community, which makes up nine percent of the state's population: "Forgive us if we innocently adorn ourselves in your beautiful things."
Coyne didn't appear to take the matter too seriously. In a since-deleted, late-March Instagram post (pictured below), he shot three friends (including Phantogram's Sarah Barthel) and a dog wearing similar headdresses.
On April 26, Coyne attended Pink Pony's performance at Oklahoma's Norman Music Festival, the site of a peaceful protest against Fallin's actions. According to Gawker, witnesses say Fallin and Coyne both mocked protestors, with the former even performing a "fake war dance."
Scurlock's issues with Coyne didn't begin with the Native American controversy, however. According to Scurlock, Coyne tried to goad him into "talk(ing) shit" on the Black Keys after the duo supposedly insulted Led Zeppelin in a Rolling Stone article. He also says Coyne unfairly dropped the ball on a collaboration with Deerhoof in order to work with Kesha instead.
On a somewhat lighter note, Scurlock insists that the three other members of the Lips -- Steven Drozd, Michael Ivins and Derek Brown -- are three of the "kindest, most upstanding (and outstanding) people you could ever hope to meet."
Since Scurlock made his claims public, two members of the Lips have responded. Multi-instrumentalist Steven Drozd said Friday on Twitter that the band and Scurlock "parted ways because of the usual band musical differences." Also on Twitter, Coyne posted an unattributed quote stating that, "Fools take a knife and stab people in the back."
NOTE: This article was updated after publication to include comments from two current members of the Flaming Lips.