Wayne Coyne

Wayne Coyne
Wayne Coyne from the Flaming Lips photographed by Kris Krug.jpg
Wayne Coyne
Background information
Birth name Wayne Michael Coyne
Born (1961-01-13) January 13, 1961 (age 57)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Origin Norman, Oklahoma, United States
Genres Alternative rock, experimental, neo-psychedelia
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, actor, director
Instruments Vocals, guitar, bass, theremin, percussion
Years active 1983–present
Labels Warner Bros.
Associated acts The Flaming Lips, Electric Würms

Wayne Michael Coyne (born January 13, 1961) is an American musician. He is the lead singer, occasional backing vocalist, guitarist, theremin player and songwriter for the band the Flaming Lips.

Early life[]

Coyne was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States, the son of Thomas Coyne and Dolores "Dolly" Jackson. The fifth of six children, Coyne moved with his family from Pittsburgh's Troy Hill neighborhood to Oklahoma in early 1961.[1] Coyne grew up in Oklahoma City. Coyne preferred listening to music and playing pickup football. He, his sister, and his brothers dubbed themselves "The Fearless Freaks" for their brutal backyard football games. Tommy Coyne, Coyne's older brother, described the games as a "semi-civilized gang fight."[2]

In 1977, while in high school, Coyne began working as a fry cook for a Long John Silver's restaurant in Oklahoma City.[3] During his second year of employment, there was a rash of robberies in Oklahoma City. The restaurant was robbed and Coyne and other employees were held at gunpoint and forced to lie on the ground. Coyne was certain he was going to die.[4] The assistant manager couldn't open the restaurant's safe, however, and the robbers eventually fled the scene. Coyne believes "this is really how you die...one 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."[2] Coyne continued working at Long John Silver's until 1990.[3]

With the Flaming Lips[]

Coyne at Lollapalooza, 2006 Grant Park, Chicago

Coyne formed the Flaming Lips in 1983 with brother Mark singing lead and Michael Ivins on bass guitar, and Richard English on drums. Mark later left the band and Wayne assumed vocal duties. Wayne and Michael have been the only two constant members of the band since its founding. (According to allmusic.com Coyne "became the primary singer and songwriter" of the band.[5]) [6]

During large-crowd festival performances, Coyne makes his entrance by descending from an alien mother ship (a nod to Parliament-Funkadelic[7]) in a bubble and floats across the audience. Coyne has also been known to pour fake blood down his face via a hidden tube during live shows. Coyne 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, laser pointers, images projected on to a screen, dozens of large balloons, a stage filled with dancers dressed as aliens, yetis, the gloves etc.[8] Before performing, Coyne can be seen helping the stage crew. Their performances have been likened to psychedelic experiences rather than simply music shows, a tradition that goes back to the band's formation.[2]

Experimental art[]

In 1996 and 1997, Coyne 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. Over 1,000 people gathered in a parking lot 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. Coyne 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."[9]

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 drowned out by cheering. Coyne remarked that "someone has a loud fucking iPhone."

In October 2010 Coyne created a screen print using his own blood. The poster commemorated The Flaming Lips' appearance at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. It has a picture of a skull drawn in a Wes Wilson style. Coyne printed it using his blood collected in a vial. The print will soon go on auction. The frontman stated, "We thought it would be silly to use chicken blood or something, they don't need to sacrifice their vital fluids any more than I need to" Livemusic.fm

Directorial debut[]

Coyne 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 Coyne.[2]

The film tells the story of the first Christmas on a colonized Mars. In the film, Coyne 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 in a circus tent. The Flaming Lips took the tent 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."[9]

Other projects/appearances[]

Wayne Coyne in Brighton Centre, UK in 2003

Personal life[]

Coyne lives on a compound of four houses in the same neighborhood in which he grew up. Each Halloween, Coyne dresses up to scare trick-or-treaters who come to his home. He feels that it is good to scare children, because when they grow older, there are things "that are horribly scary...you can't just run away from them or turn on a light and it runs away."[2] Though an atheist, Coyne says "I wish I did believe in God. It would be a great relief to think, 'God'll take care of it. God'll put gas in the car tomorrow.'"[15]

In 2012 Coyne separated from his common law wife, J. Michelle Martin-Coyne. In September 2013, Martin-Coyne filed for divorce on the grounds of "irreconcilable incompatibility." The two had no children together and disagree on how long they lived together (Martin-Coyne saying since 1989, Coyne saying since 2004.)[16]


  1. ^ Mervis, Scott (April 29, 2010). "Ex-'Burghers in the news: Michaels, MGMT, Flaming Lips". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved October 1, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e The Fearless Freaks. Dir. Beesely, Bradley. Perfs. Wayne Coyne. Shout Factory, 2005.
  3. ^ a b "The Colbert Report: THe Flaming Lips – Interview, August 16, 2012". Retrieved 2012-09-04. 
  4. ^ "The Wikipedia Files: The Flaming Lips on Chicago Public Radio Blog, July 20, 2009". Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  5. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Artist Biography". allmusic.com. Retrieved 21 June 2016. 
  6. ^ Richardson, Mark. "Flaming Lips and Drugs as Metaphor". Flaming Lips' Zaireeka. Bloomsbury. Retrieved 21 June 2016. 
  7. ^ Joan Anderman, Globe Staff. . "The Flaming Lips: as honest as they are quirky: [THIRD Edition]. " Boston Globe [Boston, Mass.] Sep. 8, 2006,C.16.
  8. ^ Jon Niccum. . "Space Case: Wayne Coyne transports the Flaming Lips' extraterrestrial sounds back to Wakarusa. " McClatchy – Tribune Business News June 6, 2008
  9. ^ a b Jonathan Takiff. . "All about the Flaming Lips, straight from the psychedelic mouth of Wayne Coyne. " McClatchy – Tribune Business News May 23, 2008
  10. ^ James Montgomery (May 26, 2006). "Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne Delivers Bizarre High School Graduation Address". MTV.com. Retrieved 2007-02-12. 
  11. ^ [1] Archived September 28, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ Minsker, Evan (March 13, 2013). "Watch: Wayne Coyne Stars in Extremely Weird Virgin Mobile Commercial". PitchforkMedia. Retrieved March 13, 2013. 
  13. ^ "innocents - new album from moby - moby.com". moby.com. Retrieved October 29, 2014. 
  14. ^ Edgar, Sean. "Flaming Lips Frontman Wayne Coyne Embraces the Absurd, Endearing in "The Sun is Sick" Comic". Paste Magazine. Retrieved September 15, 2013. 
  15. ^ McCormick, Neil (March 23, 2006). "I'm 45 and I'm going insane". Telegraph.co.uk. Archived from the original on September 12, 2010. Retrieved September 12, 2010. 
  16. ^ "When Rock Stars Divorce: The Flaming Lips Posted: Tuesday,". The Law Blog of Oklahoma. Law Firm of Oklahoma. 6 May 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2016. 

External links[]