Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne has labelled former drummer Kliph Scurlock a "hateful" person.
His 12-year stint with the band ended in March, and he later claimed he’d been fired after criticising Coyne for “tasteless publicity stunts.”
Tensions boiled over after musician Christina Fallin, a friend of Coyne’s, was photographed wearing a Native American headdress. She was criticised for potentially racist behaviour and apologised for causing upset. Coyne voiced his support for her but Scurlock took an opposing view – and that’s what he says got him kicked out of the band.
The drummer told Pitchfork: “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 ones.
“I responded by telling her to go fuck herself on a mutual friend’s Facebook page, and posted something on my own page condemning her actions.
“Christina proceeded to complain to Wayne. Wayne got upset and texted me. I explained to him what had happened and he responded, ‘You lost your mind dude… that is some petty, sad, hater bullshit. You love to talk shit… Like a punk coward…’ I stopped responding to him at that point.
“I have become used to his 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.”
This time it was different, says Scurlock. “He texted me again pressing the headdress photo issue. In my desire to have this done, I apologised. He responded, ‘Ha ha… You so full of shit… You’re a fucking coward! Go stick up for your Indian friends if its so important to you!’ It devolved from there, with him later texting, ‘I think… I am gonna make it so your ‘beliefs’ no longer have any association with the Flaming Lips.’ More name-calling followed, with him finally sending me a text that said I was fired.”
But Coyne has called Scurlock a “compulsive pathological liar,” telling Rolling Stone: “All the things he’s saying about the reason he was fired, it’s all just made-up lies.
“He knows we struggled with him for years and it didn’t occur to us that it seemed that significant. I don’t even use the word ‘fired.’ He just doesn’t play drums with us any more.
“I absolutely loved Kliph – but he had a lot of problems with being immature and he would just hate everything. I never thought about it very much. It was only brought to my attention because I’m friends with Christina.
“He’s an asshole bully who thinks he can just call someone a ‘cunt’ on Twitter and on Facebook and think he’s changing the world. And I’m like, ‘Hey dude, that’s our friend. Why are you doing that? Why are you just being a typical cowardly Internet hater?’
“As time went on, he got to be a lazier and more close-minded musician. He’s not creative. We never wrote songs together. He was a guy that we thought was, I guess, good enough technically that could do stuff in performance. But we know a lot of musicians, so it was not that big of a deal.”
Addressing the suggestion of racism, Coyne says: “That was never our intention. I realise now that it goes deeply to the heart of some Native Americans – and I definitely regret it.”