Sigh. This is what it's come to? It's one thing for Rolling Stone to drop a quote in an interview with Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips dissing Win Butler and The Arcade Fire for being pompous (doesn't seem that hard to believe, does it?). But for them to run a headline in their "Smoking Section" that blasts, "Exclusive: Wayne Coyne Tears Apart Arcade Fire!" is quite another. Now the music-world is abuzz with the two iconic front men exchanging verbal blows through the media.
We have our own opinions of both (see the headline), but that's a whole other story, because yesterday Rolling Stone posted a quote from Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips accusing the Arcade Fire of being dicks in real life. In fact, the entire quote looks like this:
I'm a fan of them on one level, but on another level I get really tired of their pompousness. We've played some shows with them and they really treat people like shit. 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 thought, 'Who do they think they are?' I don't know why people put up with it. I wouldn't put up with it. 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. Who does Arcade Fire think they are? I've been around groups. I've been around the Edge from U2 and he's the fucking sweetest guy ever. I was around Justin Timberlake when he was young and he was just a normal, nice, kind person. Anyone can be polite and kind and people who have the privilege and money and attention should understand that. If they don't, then fuck 'em.
Again, we can only speculate, but considering we've rarely seen the Arcade Fire smile, it doesn't seem impossible to believe that they are not the most friendly of people. Still, it is rather unbecoming of Coyne to openly bash another band in one of the larger music publications of the world.
But don't fret effeminate Arcade Fire fans, your leading man is not taking Mr. Coyne's statements laying down. Today, Win Butler struck back by blogging (gasp!) about the incident on the Arcade Fire website (click on "Win"). If words could hurt, just imagine the pain Wayne would be feeling after getting verbally smacked up like this:
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.
So there you have it. Two grown men who each made about one great record apiece fighting through the media. If Oasis, Blur and hip-hop have taught us anything, this will keep both in the spotlight despite the ratio of good music coming out of either. So we figured, why take the high road? Might as well stoop to each of their levels and just make fun of them both. Congrats Mr. Coyne and Mr. Butler, we'll be looking forward to the inevitable big festival you guys play together and waiting with bated breath to see if you guys slap it out like real "indie" rockers. Now THAT would be news!