50 Years of Fearless Freakiness: The Quotable Wayne Coyne


Here at Flavorpill, one of our favorite musicians (and that’s saying a lot) is the Flaming Lips’ wonderful Wayne Coyne. He’s a songwriter, artist, general purveyor of good vibes — and also a kind of weirdo guru to an ever-growing legion of young fans. Since today is his 50th birthday, we’re paying him tribute with a brief roundup of our favorite Coyne quotes on everything from music’s power to make us feel understood to religion to growing old. Read, enjoy, and be sure to tweet Wayne a happy birthday message.

On improvising:

“Sometimes you just have to say, ‘Fuck, I don’t know what we are doing, let’s just go and see what happens.’ You have to embrace the experience itself, so that things you didn’t intend to happen can make your work more authentic. And you have to hope that it works.” — Wired, October 2008

On illegal downloading:

“I still sort of feel like, people should just download whatever they want. I mean, we’re only doing [Embryonic] as a double album for our own subjective, self indulgent bullshit reasons. It’s just really, it’s just songs, you know.” — Brooklyn Vegan, September 2009

On the power of music:

“Music is amazing. There’s some metaphysical comfort where it allows you to be isolated and alone while telling you that you are not alone.” — The Guardian, 2003

On doing more than just music:

“Music is a big part of what we do, but some people join bands for the art. It’s about presenting yourself in any form that you can; we take that as a given. Of course, we have movies, parades and candy bars, because that’s what we loved when we were growing up. The Beatles and Pink Floyd didn’t just make records, they stood for something. And all bands should do that, whether they are inspired by The Flaming Lips or New Kids on the Block. You have to have ideas and pictures; it’s never just about the music and it never has been. All art needs a bigger picture.” — Wired, October 2008

On honesty:

“When it comes to music, the most powerful thing is to be honest. I realised that I had nothing to lose by telling the truth. I stopped caring so much about what people might think if I sung about love and humanity. I thought, fuck it — I think those are my strongest songs, too. And it’s the best thing that ever happened to me.” — The Guardian, 2003

On religion:

“I don’t even really know what religion is but I’ve got no Jesus, no god. To me, it’s all just us.” — MOG, 2008

On solo projects:

“Everything about my life that is worth anything is because of not just the Flaming Lips, but because of the Flaming Lips’ audience. So if I was to make another movie, it would be a Flaming Lips movie. I would never do anything and say, oh, this isn’t the Flaming Lips. I am lucky that the Flaming Lips, this great vehicle, lets me do whatever I wanted. If I made a candy bar, it would be a Flaming Lips candy bar. If I made shoes, it would be Flaming Lips shoes… I do everything that I want to do. The Flaming Lips has allowed me to be everything that I could ever dream of.” — Brooklyn Vegan, September 2009

On life:

“The more you know about the world, the more you really should just want to kill yourself! It’s really not or will ever be this one-dimensional, beautiful happy place. It’s full of hell and suffering and pain….And we are all gonna get older and we are all gonna die and everything beautiful is decaying.

But somewhere along the way you can look at that and be like ‘Yeah I know. But I can love that and be happy in knowing that.’ ‘This is the life we have and let’s be happy.'” — MOG, 2008

On mortality:

“When you’re younger death is just death and when you’re older death gives you insight into the nuances of living. Death and life reflect off each other.” — The Quietus, 2009

On being old:

“I run into kids all the time that don’t really know how old I am. They’ll think I was alive in the ’40s. I’ve kind of gone from being young to being really old, instead of that having that weird middle area where you feel like trying to be young. People think I could already be like 60 years old. That’s perfect. I’ve always wanted people to view me as some kind of Santa Claus figure.” — Time Out Chicago, July 2009