Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne unleashes the dogs on Arcade Fire, some six years after doing the same to Beck.
Telling Rolling Stone: “Whenever I’ve been around them, I’ve found that they not only treated their crew like shit, they treated the audience like shit. They treated everybody in their vicinity like shit … I don’t care if it’s Arcade Fire or Brian Eno. If either of them walked into a room and treated people like shit I’d be like, ‘Fuck you, get outta here.’ … People treat Arcade Fire like they’re the greatest thing ever and they get away with it. Those sort of opinions change my view of their music. They have good tunes, but they’re pricks, so fuck ’em.”
His take down of Beck had more to do with Beck’s inability to please fans and his general detachment from everyday life. It irked Coyne that Beck would cover John Lennon, but rather than cover “Imagine” or one of his famous songs, to make the audience happy, Beck always insisted on covering something obscure.
This, of course, was around the Sea Change album when Beck was in “serious artist” mode and not so into dressing up in leisure suits and break dancing.
Still, it’s hard to say Coyne would be professionally jealous of Win Butler and Co., but you never know. Maybe he really is a swell guy and hates douchery. [Smoking Section/Rolling Stone via Stereogum]
Update: Win Butler of The Arcade Fire responds. Win definitely takes the high road and looks the better for it. We’ve reprinted his response in full.
If you want to read it in it’s original context go to the Arcade Fire site, click on “Win” in the upper left hand corner, and then click on “I still like clouds taste metallic.”
Wow, I can’t believe I am actually writing to defend my bands “real” personality. I wish I could not respond to something like this, but the reality is is that people will be asking me questions about it for the next 5 years. I also fear that people will base their opinion of our band on the media quotes of a guy who doesn’t even know us.
The only time we have ever shared a stage with the Flaming Lips was our last show on the Funeral tour at a festival in Las Vegas (over 3 years ago)…we arrived the morning of the show from Brazil, slept all day and awoke into some kind of surreal Vegas jet-lag dream in which we were playing after the Flaming Lips…how strange…I was really excited to meet Wayne. Clouds Taste Metallic was a huge record for me, and growing up in the weirdness of Houston, I always imagined Oklahoma City to be in the same universe. I was really nervous to meet him and I felt a little weird that we were playing after them. We traded a little hello, but he was a hard guy to get a read on. Steven Drodz was super nice, and I felt good after talking to him…
So…I am not sure Wayne is the best judge (based on seeing us play at a couple of festivals) if we are righteous, kind and goodhearted people like The Edge and Justin Timberlake (who I am sure he knows intimately as well). I can’t imagine a reason why we would have been pompous towards The Flaming Lips, a band we have always loved, on that particular night, all those years ago. Unless I was way more jet-lagged then I remember, I hope I was less of a “prick” then telling Rollingstone that a bunch of people I don’t know at all are really assholes.
As a closing note, the main point that I am offended by in this whole thing is for Wayne to say we treat our audience like shit…
At times like these I am comforted by knowing that even though Wayne slammed Beck all those years ago, he seems like a really nice guy to me. I guess everyone has a different idea of what being pompous means.