What are the artistic benefits of drugs?
They let your mind relax and not think about your failures or insecurities. They make you feel superhuman, which makes you more assertive and extrovert. Because a lot of artists are introverted weirdos.
Are there Flaming Lips albums where you took certain drugs?
No. I wouldn’t want anything where I had my perception changed even a little bit.
Even when you made Hear It Is (1986) and Oh My Gawd!!! (1987)?
No. You have to remember, we were very poor back then. There’d be some acid here and there, we’d do some mushrooms once in a while. But I was always afraid I’d attack the person next to me because I thought they were a fire-breathing purple dragon.
Your elder brother was a crack addict…
Luckily he’s been drug-free for seven or eight years. It was either get straight, spend the rest of your life in jail, or die. He struggles with it still. It’s an unstoppable urge. I used to see how my older brothers couldn’t control themselves, and that made me realise I had that in me as well. Not that they’re horrible people, but they all became drug addicts at one time or another.
When you’re collaborating with people, are drugs involved?
Not heavy drugs. Everybody’s always doing a little bit of pot, or Adderalls or cocaine. It’s just a way for people not to be nervous, but to continue to have fun.