May 2014 Archives

Ex-Flaming Lips drummer, Kliph Scurlock, has released a statement to Pitchfork detailing the circumstances of his dismissal from the band earlier this year.

As speculated, Scurlock's dismissal came as a result of comments that he made in response to a publicity photo posted by a friend of frontman Wayne Coyne, Christina Fallin, featuring her in a Native American headdress with the quote "Appropriate Culturation". Fallin is the daughter of the Governor of Oklahoma and is a member of Pink Pony, an electronica band.

Scurlock maintains that although his feud is with Coyne, he goes on to say that "Steven Drozd, Michael Ivins and Derek Brown are three of the kindest, most upstanding (and outstanding) people you could ever hope to meet".

Here is Scurlock's full statement to Pitchfork:

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. But it seems it's quite an interesting topic to some, so for those of you who do care, here's the story.

Some time in early March, the daughter of the Governor of Oklahoma, Christina Fallin, posted a photo of herself on Facebook wearing a full headdress with the caption, "Appropriate Culturation", which I found disgusting. (For those who don't know, a headdress is a symbol of respect which is earned. Each feather in a headdress is representative of a good deed or a fierce battle won. It is, in my opinion, not something to be worn the same way you would wear a t-shirt or a hat or whatever.) A number of people called her out for doing it and several tried explaining to her what the headdress signified, in case she had posted that photo out of ignorance rather than malice. (I'm on the side that thinks she knew exactly what she was doing - hence the caption "Appropriate Culturation".) She responded with a very insincere non-apology, which I also found disgusting. 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 am also a big proponent of Native rights and one of the greatest tragedies in the history of humankind has been the treatment of the Natives by the white settlers, which continues to this day. So I responded by telling her to go fuck herself on a mutual friend's Facebook page she was commenting on and posted something on my own page condemning her actions. 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. I intended to post a reworded, on topic comment, but got busy with an Electric W├╝rms song we were working on and didn't get to it.

Some weeks go by and Wayne was apparently out when he ran into Christina, who proceeded to complain to Wayne. Wayne got upset and texted me at 12:13 a.m. on March 19 to ask me what was up. 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. (By the way, all texts are quoted verbatim, with spelling and punctuation as they were sent to me.)

The following day, I texted him about something personal involving neither of us and we had what I thought was a friendly enough text conversation. 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. For example, at what ended up being my last Flaming Lips practice, I made an error in judgement and and answered a text from George regarding liner notes for the "7 Skies H3" CD while one of the other guys used the restroom. Wayne got upset and yelled and threatened to throw my phone and me along with it the next time I had my phone out during practice. 5 minutes later, we had run through the song and everything was fine and Wayne and I resumed our conversation about said liner notes. So, like I said, after we had the friendly conversation about our friend, I figured everything had blown over and gone back to "normal". Unfortunately, it hadn't.

At 9:54 p.m., he texted me again pressing the headdress photo issue. In my desire to have this done and over with, I apologized and said I wouldn't do it again. 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 at 3:49 a.m. on March 20 that said I was fired. Along the way, he called me a "nazi punk coward Internet bully" and tried to claim that he was "sadly unaware" that I have taken a few jabs at Dave Grohl on Twitter, when he actually was very aware and, in fact, set me up to do several of them. (He also once tried to get me to talk shit on the Black Keys on Twitter when he got mad because they supposedly dissed Led Zeppelin in a Rolling Stone article (I didn't read it), but I pretended to do it and never hit send.) He also brought up a tweet I had sent on January 1st saying, "I think Aspen has replaced Las Vegas as my least favorite place on Earth." I tried explaining to him that I was far from the only person in our organization to post a pissy tweet while in the midst of a bad travel day, but I could tell he wasn't looking for an actual debate. Whatever Christina had said to him had made up his mind and he was looking for justification. I do almost find humor in the irony that the guy who is known worldwide for talking shit in the press on Beck, Bob Dylan, Erykah Badu, the Arcade Fire, etc. was suddenly so concerned at what I might be saying to my 3000 "friends" on Facebook and 4000 followers on Twitter, but that's beside the point; like I said, I know he was just looking for some kind of justification because it would make him look bad to kick out someone who had stuck by his side through thick and thin for 12 years (15 if you count the time since I first became a roadie for the band) for calling out a spoiled brat for doing something insensitive and stupid.

So, yeah, I was fired. No longer a Flaming Lip. Seriously?!?! FUCK!

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.) 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. 

[Update: Scurlock clarifies: "The song that we were going to work on with Deerhoof was completely separate from the track that we ended up doing with Kesha.  It's just that there were x amount of 'slots' on the album and Wayne decided to do the song with Kesha rather than the one with Deerhoof."]

And, even though I was incredibly disappointed to suddenly not be working with one of my all-time favorite bands because he had decided on behalf of the whole band that we were going to instead work with someone whose music I couldn't possibly care less about, I put my head down and gave it my all and my best - because that's what I did in the Flaming Lips. Sure, I have grown apart from Wayne on a personal level over the last several years, but never did I once let it affect my job performance. I just merely didn't speak to him unless we had business to conduct. It bothered me for a while until I thought about other people that have been in bands together for a long time. I mean, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones didn't even attend Robert Plant's infant son's funeral in 1977, but Led Zeppelin still kept going until the death of John Bonham. Paul Stanley didn't invite Gene Simmons to his wedding in 2005, but Kiss is still going. So, I figured it was okay to not be friends with him for the time being. And it was my choice to distance myself from him on a personal level. We were at Tarbox Road Studio and he wanted me to run an errand for him. I was having a high anxiety day and asked him if I could do it in a little bit when my anxiety had subsided. He got upset and used some personal things from my past to jab at me. And I decided right then and there that that is not the kind of behavior a friend exhibits. But we didn't need to be friends to make music, right? It worked for a couple of years, at least. But, throughout all of this, as I said before, I never used it as an excuse to make the music suffer. Even if he laid into me right before we went on stage (as he did a number of times), I put it aside and played the absolute best show I could possibly play. Blah, blah, blah, etc., etc., etc.

As I stated earlier, I decided to keep publicly silent about the reason behind my firing for a number of reasons. At first, I thought he would likely have a change of heart and I would be back where I felt I belonged and everything would move forward. But then he posted the photo on Instagram of his girlfriend, a roadie, Sarah from Phantogram and (to really drive his point home) A DOG wearing a headdress with a caption giving a shout out to Christina Fallin as a jab at me. That's the moment I knew he wasn't going to change his mind and was, in fact, doubling down on his reason for firing me. Still, I kept quiet publicly because I figured it wouldn't matter that much in the grand scheme of things. The Flaming Lips have had drummers before me (in fact, as you probably know, the best drummer they've ever had - and the greatest drummer walking Planet Earth today - is still in the band and plays a multitude of instruments). And the Flaming Lips are greater than the sum of their parts. So, what does it matter if I'm gone? Well, it matters to me, but that doesn't mean it will matter to you. I also kept quiet out of respect for the other members of the band. Steven is one of my best friends and I also love Michael and Derek. Any noise coming from me would surely impact them and I didn't want this whole firing nonsense to affect them negatively any more than it already has. I told my friends and other people I care about the real reason and I've seen it seeping out here and there, but nothing too extreme. Until recently.

Christina Fallin and the rest of her lame band tried to get publicity for a recent live performance by spreading the rumor that they were going to perform in full Native regalia. My good friend (and someone I admire deeply) Samantha Crain organized a peaceful protest. The band mocked Native culture and was very antagonistic towards the protesters by flipping them off and trying to get security to remove them, despite them being out of the sight lines of the audience. Wayne and his girlfriend were apparently there making fun of the protesters (I can't confirm this because none of it is on video and I wasn't there) which enraged a lot of people, which led to someone telling the local press the reason I was fired, which led to the furor over the past several days. I can't lie and say that some part of me isn't happy to see Wayne finally catch heat for some of his actions, but I do feel that some of the reactions I've seen have been extreme. I've seen a couple of things written that wish death upon him and I don't agree with that. I've seen some things calling for bad things to happen to all of the members of the band, which I most certainly don't agree with. I know those guys about as well as it's possible to know a person and I can say in no uncertain terms that Steven Drozd, Michael Ivins and Derek Brown are three of the kindest, most upstanding (and outstanding) people you could ever hope to meet. I was spoiled getting to play alongside them and spend so much time with them for so long. Those three have absolutely NOTHING to do with Wayne's antics (or his decision to fire me). I love them all very deeply and it bums me out to see them lumped in with any of this.

In closing, I've been asked constantly the past month and change since my firing what I plan on doing next. The answer is, "a lot." I'm not one to count chickens before they hatch, so I don't want to mention anything specific at the moment in case one thing or the other doesn't pan out. But I do really, truly from the bottom of my heart love and appreciate every single person who has reached out to me in the last month and a half and offered their love and support. The immediate aftermath of being fired from my favorite band was one of the darkest times in my life and your support kept me from sinking into an abyss of depression and self-loathing. I hope to see you all very soon.

Love, Kliph

2 May 2014

Are you the only person in your social circle who is not going to Groovin' The Moo? Are you dreading being left out of all of the cool star-ridden conversations your friends will be having over the next few months? Fear no longer! I have spent the better part of an afternoon compiling this guide of what you need to know about some of the festival's key acts so you don't have to be left afloat in a conversational winter.


Architecture In Helsinki

Few people probably realise that this five piece indie pop group from Fitzroy actually started out as a trio of high school chums in Albury, but the cool thing about these guys is their approach to marketing. As part of the promotion of their new album, NOW + 4EVA, they set up a temporary store in Melbourne Central Shopping Centre for the first week of April 2014. Available at this store, among other things, was jewellery, drink bottles, candy figurines of the band, a small fashion line, and of course the album itself, available on vinyl, CD, USB, and cassette. Other cool things about the band include singer Cameron Bird's surname and guitarist Jamie Mildren's beard.

Tracks to check out: "In The Future", "It'5".



Holy Fuck

Aside from having a band name that is awkward to say on some radio stations, these Canadians like to use live instruments over more popular electronic methods to create their dance beats. These guys have a love of musical experimentation that will surely make them a must see live act. One of their music videos has cats in it.

Tracks to check out: "Red Lights", "Latin America".



The Jezabels

These fellows are two lads and two ladies from Sydney who formed in 2007. One of their songs, "Long Highway", was allegedly considered for use in one of the films in the Twilight Saga but was rejected for being "too mature". The band's name is taken from a character in the Hebrew Book of Kings.

Tracks to check out: "Long Highway", "Endless Summer".

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Karnivool

These Perth guys got together in high school in 1997 performing covers of songs by Nirvana and Carcass at parties. In 2010, they performed in Mumbai, India. The band had not been to the country before and none of their records had been released there. The show attracted 10,000 punters on the back of the band's internet popularity.

Tracks to check out: "Eidolon", "We Are".



Kingswood

Say what you want about Kingswood, these dudes have style. They recorded their upcoming debut album in Nashville with acclaimed producer Vance Powell, and they are currently touring the country with Groovin' while performing plenty of sideshows before their big appearance at Splendour In The Grass this July. The biggest tragedy about this band seems to be that they are yet to have their own Wikipedia page.

Tracks to check out: "Ohio", "Yeah Go Die".



The Presets

You all already know about the Presets. They had that song that was huge a few years back. But did you know that they are good pals with Daniel Johns? Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes were in the Dissociatives live band and Johns played guitar on a few tracks from their debut EP Blow Up, including track "Cookie" which received a share of early radio play for the band.

Tracks to check out: "Cookie", "If I Know You".



Robert DeLong

I had not heard of Robert DeLong before earlier this week and am listening his music for the first time ever as I write this. The reason why I am talking about him is because he recently did a Take 5 on Triple J Mornings, and some of the songs he chose are some of my favourite songs ever. He started out as an indie rock drummer and Wikipedia lists his current genres as electronica and something called moombahton, which is one of the coolest genre names I have heard.

Tracks to check out: "Basically, I", "Global Concepts".



Violent Soho

Two of the members of Violent Soho are called Luke. Considering they are a four piece, that makes 50% of the band. These guys from Brisbane love to party and love to play music, so they will likely be doing a lot of what they love as they tour around regional Australia with the festival. The band will be doing a free show in Mildura on May 17 for Triple J's One Night Stand.

Tracks to check out: "Dope Calypso", "Jesus Stole My Girlfriend".



There you have it. With this handy guide you will have no chance of being left out in the cold when all of your hip friends are talking about what a great time they had at Groovin' The Moo. That is, of course, unless reading this article just reminded you of what you are missing out on by not being there. If that is the case, I recommend you race to Bunbury in Western Australia this Saturday May 10. You still might be able to get a ticket. Quick! Go!

More information about Groovin' The Moo can be found at gtm.net.au.

More information about these bands can be found on Google.

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2014 listed from newest to oldest.

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