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Wayne Coyne

(1961– )

Wayne Coyne

Wayne Coyne was born January 13, 1961 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and grew up in Oklahoma City. He began making art and music as a youngster, dropped out of high school, and formed the psychedelic rock band The Flaming Lips in 1983. Coyne worked for fifteen years as a fry cook at a local Long John Silver's, and, one night, armed intruders burst into the restaurant, held a gun to his head, and demanded money. Coyne recalls thinking, "This is really how you die—one minute you're cooking up someone's order of French fries and the next minute you're laying on the floor and they blow your brains out. There's no music, there's no significance; it's just random." After the robbers exited without harming anyone, Coyne and his coworkers felt an overwhelming surge of gratitude and began hugging one another. "It was as if we'd won a million dollars," he recalls. "It changed me."

The experience also unlocked a streak of fierce and hopeful creativity in Coyne, who transformed the Lips' live shows into visually-stunning, communal spectacles and penned songs with titles such as "All We Have Is Now" and "Enthusiasm for Life Defeats Existential Fear." He created enduring album cover art, released new music on flash drives embedded in Gummy skulls, produced an upbeat "10 Reasons for Living" set of postcards, opened a funhouse-style arts venue (The Womb) in Oklahoma City, and even directed a science fiction Christmas film.

Coyne's visual art—which is being exhibited for the first time in a museum setting—is similarly spirited, with elements of transcendent psychedelic fantasy mingling with the hopeful struggle that often infuses his music.

Inspired by The Big Hope Show theme, The Flaming Lips composed and recorded original music exclusively for The King's Mouth.

Links: To learn more about Wayne Coyne & The Flaming Lips, visit:

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