Wayne Coyne’s armed robbery death lesson

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Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne is the subject of the latest Blank On Blank animated interview, which focuses on the moment he thought he was going to be shot dead during an armed robbery when he was 17 years old.

The PBS Digital Studios series seeks to enhance the power of words by presenting audio recordings with original artwork.

In the interview, which took place in 2002, Coyne says the experience changed him because it forced him to face up to the fact that life doesn’t last for ever – and that it freed him to explore the concept in his music.

“We all laid on the ground and I thought, ‘Fuck, this is it. I’m 17 and this is how it ends,’” he says. “You’re just working one second, the next second you’re laying on the ground and some guy puts a bullet in your head.”

But the robbery ended with no shots fired. Coyne continues: “I remember the elation. We couldn’t stop laughing and crying and jumping up and down. We were celebrating like we’d won a million dollars. I think it changed me.

“The idea of confronting the always-present idea makes living better. I hate the notion that I’d ever forget how temporary this whole thing is. Life is worth living, even though we’re all headed to the same hole at the end of the day. Without coming to terms with it, you’re not coming to terms with the joys of life.”

The Flaming Lips released Beatles tribute album With A Little Help From My Fwends last month – and Coyne admitted that tackling the Fab Four’s Sgt Pepper record was a risk.