Ex-Flaming Lips Drummer Says He was Fired for Railing Against Wayne Coyne’s Racist Friend
By Scott T. Sterling
Rumors have been swirling around why exactly the Flaming Lips abruptly let go of their drummer Kliph Scurlock last month, but now it seems that the dismissed percussionist is more than happy to reveal the reason himself.
In a lengthy letter on Pitchfork, Scurlock gives his side of the story, revealing that his firing was the direct result of standing against what he believes are racist actions by Christina Fallin, daughter of Oklahoma’s conservative Republican governor, Mary Fallin, and friend of Coyne.
“I have kept quiet about the circumstances surrounding Wayne Coyne firing me from The Flaming Lips thus far because I figured those who know and love me would know the truth and it probably wouldn’t be of much importance to anyone else,” Scurlok wrote. “But it seems it’s quite an interesting topic to some, so for those of you who do care, here’s the story.”
In the letter, Scurlock explained how the young Fallin posted a picture of herself on Facebook wearing a full Native American headdress, which he deemed “disgusting.” When she issued what he called a “non-apology,” Scurlock lashed out at her and her mother with some terse and profane jabs on a mutual friend’s Facebook page, which he later came to regret.
“I have several Native American friends who were very hurt by her combination of actions and I am nothing if not protective of my loved one,” he wrote. “In my upset over my friends’ upset, I went a little far and included some jabs at her mom. Her mother is someone whose politics I couldn’t possibly be on a more opposite side of and I think she has done many detrimental things to the good people of Oklahoma. So I deleted it because her mom, as vile of a human as I think she is, had nothing to do with it.”
Weeks later after Christina Fallin complained to Coyne about Scurlock’s posts, the Flaming Lips frontman sent the drummer a series of angry texts, which he eventually ignored citing a less than ideal band dynamic within the Flaming Lips: “I have become used to [Coyne's] lightning quick temper and the horrible things he’ll say in the heat of being upset (which is something I see a bit of in myself and am working to get rid of), but he usually cools off as quickly as he gets upset and things move on.”
According to Scurlock, Coyne continued to send scathing texts the following day leading up to Coyne’s dismissal of him from the band. Coyne cited a laundry list of reasons for the firing including the drummer “taking jabs” at Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl online. He also uses this detail to dish that Coyne had once tried to goad him to “talk s–t” about the Black Keys over an alleged Led Zeppelin diss in Rolling Stone.
“I can’t even begin to express what a devastating blow that was to me. I have loved that band since the early 1990s and becoming a member of that band in 2002 is probably the proudest moment I’ve had in my life thus far. I lived and breathed that band. I put up with endless verbal (with threats of physical) abuse from Wayne because I absolutely loved the music we were making and playing (and also because I love Steven, Michael and Derek.)” Scurlock wrote. “I turned a blind eye when he pulled several of his (what I consider to be) tasteless publicity stunts. I kept my mouth shut when he threw away the track Deerhoof had sent us to work on because he had suddenly decided that song was going to be done with Kesha.”
The drummer went on to thank the people who’ve supported him through the dismissal, and keeping him from “sinking into an abyss of depression and self-loathing.”
Hours after the letter went live, Coyne responded to Scurlock’s letter in the most Wayne Coyne way possible, by tweeting non-specific messages aimed at the ex-drummer.
Wayne Coyne (@waynecoyne) May 02, 2014
Wayne Coyne (@waynecoyne) May 02, 2014
Bandmate Steven Drozd also responded to the letter, in a tweet that seemed to against Scurlock’s claims: “This Lips/Kliph bullshit has gone too far. We parted ways because of the usual band musical differences. The rest has been blown way out.”
Read the entire letter from Kliph Scurlock here.