“They don’t need to sacrifice their vital fluids any more than I need to.”
-Wayne Coyne, being nice to animals
Wayne Coyne printed one – and only one – copy of his poster art for The Flaming Lips appearance at Austin City Limits on Sunday 10/10/10 with his own blood. On October 12th the Flaming Lips uploaded the above video of Wayne making the poster to YouTube with a short description “There’s only 1… let the bidding begin!”
At the time it was not clear whether the “bidding” reference was a joke or if there was actually going to be an auction. In December 2010 the poster was auctioned via eBay for $10,000.00 – all proceeds go to The Flaming Lips associated music college and the Central Oklahoma Humane Society (self-described “nonprofit animal welfare organization; promotes adoption, trap/neuter/return and spay/neuter programs to help end pet overpopulation in the OKC metro area“).
When news first hit the internet that Wayne made a poster with his own blood it was a web sensation – countless posts (most of which were nothing more than the above video with a brief description of what’s on it) were posted on seemingly every music news blog – even sites that didn’t usually cover The Flaming Lips. The pure sensationalism of printing a concert poster with the blood of the band’s frontman – and making a video of it – was too attention-grabbing to ignore and some blogs used this as the final confirmation that Wayne Coyne wasn’t just pretending or trying- to-be weird – he really was a nutcase.
And there was more…
Though virtually no blogs (other than the very one you’re reading right now) picked up on it, supposedly all the other ACL posters (that is, the ones printed normally) have Wayne’s bloody thumb print:
Even with the news of the charity generated by the blood poster two and half months after the initial posts, it still seemed odd to some… but it’s really just business as usual for The Flaming Lips. Uh, let me explain…
Blood is nothing new to the imagery of The Flaming Lips. Throughout their 27 years as a band, they’ve posed for loads of pictures with fake blood – which Wayne has also used many times in performance, most famously while performing “The Spark That Bled” and less famously in the ’80s for their Exorcist shows.
One of the most famous of Wayne’s blood pictures is the cover of their first photo book, Waking Up with a Placebo Headwound. This picture comes from Wayne’s period of wearing white suits constantly, partly for dramatic contrast with his fake blood (inspired by a tragic photo of Miles Davis after being beat by racist cops).
Blood features heavily in some of their videos – “Waiting for a Superman” had so much blood they had to make a “clean edit” and “The Sparrow Looks Up At The Machine” seems designed to be a NSFW viral disturbance. Wayne even went so far as becoming a “blood brother” with Andrew W. K. (at least that’s what he said) back when the latter was at the peak of his party hard days. When Ben Kweller had a nose bleed at Austin City Limits 2006 and generous fans helped him by throwing tampons up to the stage, Wayne asked for the same treatment when the Flaming Lips took the stage on the next day of the festival….
Aside from photos, videos, concert showmanship, books and lyrics there’s also Wayne twitter – which he uses, among other things, to tweet pictures of his blood. In fact, though news of this poster is spread like wild-fire on the web on October 12, it’s not new. The poster Austin City blood poster was actually posted last week on his twitter, and for weeks before that he tweeted related photos. Two recent examples:
http://yfrog.com/nfbd7pj: “Blood drip with sunshine magic marker…”
http://yfrog.com/0xudhlj: “Poster blood… I once mopped up about a quart of human blood .. Dude shot himself in the arm”
…And lets not forget the influence of Iggy Pop on the Lips, and moreover, KISS – the band that spat up blood as a regular part of their show and famously printed their own line of comic books with their own blood.
Wayne talked about blood in the violence issue of Paste, on the shelves exactly two years before the blood poster. He said, “At one point all of us had fake blood, and we poured it all over our heads—more like Carrie, I guess, than The Exorcist… I knew when I went to do it again, you can’t just grab this shit and get it all over the place because musicians are trying to play some intricate little things, and stickiness is the enemy of all that.”
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