Tonight in Seattle:  

Indie-Rock Thunderdome: The Flaming Lips vs. The Arcade Fire

Two bands enter, one band leaves...Wayne Coyne, frontman of big time psych-rockers The Flaming Lips, let loose in a phone interview with Rolling Stone, the site reported yesterday.

Talking candidly, Coyne took the gloves off and went on a tirade about everyone's other favorite indie band, The Arcade Fire, taking them to task for being big jerks. Well, okay, that's not quite how he put it.

Earmuffs, kids...


"I'm a fan of them on one level, but on another level I get really tired of their pompousness ... We've played some shows with them and they really treat people like shit. Whenever I've been around them, I've found that they not only treated their crew like shit, they treated the audience like shit. They treated everybody in their vicinity like shit. I thought, 'Who do they think they are?' I don't know why people put up with it. I wouldn't put up with it. I don't care if it's Arcade Fire or Brian Eno. If either of them walked into a room and treated people like shit I'd be like, 'Fuck you, get outta here.'

You kiss your mother with that mouth?

Coyne's never been one to shy away from bold conversation. In the past he's railed against Beck to The Guardian, as well as Arctic Monkeys and Oasis (who hasn't complained about them?) to The Daily Star. It appears Coyne is big on manners. Good on him.

But wait! Win Butler of The Arcade Fire wants to defend himself! In a post on the band's Flash-fueled website, Butler takes the high road while getting a subtle jab in.

So...I am not sure Wayne is the best judge (based on seeing us play at a couple of festivals) if we are righteous, kind and goodhearted people like The Edge and Justin Timberlake (who I am sure he knows intimately as well). I can't imagine a reason why we would have been pompous towards The Flaming Lips, a band we have always loved, on that particular night, all those years ago. Unless I was way more jet-lagged then I remember, I hope I was less of a "Prick" then telling Rollingstone that a bunch of people I don't know at all are really a bunch of assholes.

Interview fights like these are increasingly common in today's hyperactive news cycle, and predictably, the Internet has rushed to the aid of their respective favorite band, unleashing the fury of their Caps Locks key in the comments of various music blogs. Truly, this is what the Internet was made for.

So who wins? I'm not a fan of either band, honestly, though the Lips get points for referencing Pink Robots all those years ago. Butler's response is certainly more measured and not quite as erratic, but let's get real: Not only is this great publicity for both bands, it's so entertaining. I'm crossing my fingers for a Celebrity Boxing match in the near future.

Who's the bigger jerk? Wayne or Win? Drop a comment and let us know. But please, turn the Caps off.

Like you, Cory, I'm not really a partisan for either band, however...

This morning, Idolator posted this press photo of The Arcade Fire:

Calling a band that makes photos like that "pompous" is like saying Fleet Foxes have beards - arguing otherwise is just foolish.

I have money on the fact that the bands are BFFs and they are just doing this for publicity and to see how far they can take it.

well played, chris!

Wayne Coyne is by far the bigger jerk, since he chooses to publicly trash talk not just the Arcade Fire, but lots of other bands and performers as well. It comes off as petty, jealous and mean-spirited, and is just not cool AT ALL.

Seriously, if I had been a flaming lips fan, this kind of crap would have me erasing their music from my library. Luckily, I find them to be yet another mediocre act who distracts audiences from their mediocrity by putting on a over the top stage show.

And let's talk about 'Christmas on Mars' - really, wtf? Has anyone actually managed to sit through the entirety of this incoherent, self-indulgent, poorly acted Flaming Turd of a movie?

I'm a big fan of Arcade Fire, so-so fan on the Flaming lips, and I find these kind of internet feuds more entertaining than anything else. It would take a lot more than something like this to make me erase their music from my library. Maybe this is all just a good ole Texas/Oklahoma brawl. Those two states hate each other, and Coyne is from Oklahoma while I'm pretty sure Win grew up in Houston.

"I'm crossing my fingers for a Celebrity Boxing match in the near future."

If I'm picking a winner of this match I'd have to go with Win. He's younger and he's like 6'8" or something so he would kill Wayne with that reach.

I'm with Liz on this one. The two bands publicists cooked this up over apple martinis at some swanky bar, if you ask me...

Wow, that sounded a lot more cynical than I intended.

I'm not a fan of Arcade Fire, and purely based on their music, I'd say I could picture them as pompous. Plus, Win used "then" when he should have used "than". So...automatic point deduction there.

well, I guess specifically @ randy but just in general, I worked for a vintage music dealer who dealt with tFL quite a bit. and I have to say... they're really, really nice. stupid nice. above and beyond nice.

just sayin'.

ps. hi, john in ballard! see you saturday!

I don't really like either band all that exceptionally, but do have to say that a couple years ago at SXSW, I randomly ended up standing behind Coyne at a show at Stubbs and watched him be innundated with fans pretty much nonstop to the point where he couldn't watch the show. Remarkably, he was *always* incredibly gracious and friendly with them (or least that's how it appeared, as it was too loud to hear him talk), even moreso than you'd expect.

I can't even remember what band I was there to see, but do remember talking with my friend about how ridiculously cool he was to his fans that night. On grace of that alone, I'm going to side with Wayne on this one.

When you find yourself performing night after night with a bunch of different bands, you see all kinds of behavior, and I can really identify with the urge to publicly call people out for being assholes. It can be incredibly frustrating to witness rude behavior being shielded by the sense of power that the stage gives them, and I wouldn't be surprised if this frustration is the source of Wayne's ire.

After all, nobody else is in a position to call out these folks and actually be heard.

Not a huge fan of either band, but based on websites alone, Arcade Fire wins the pompous award, hands down. I do think its funny that a little bit of controversy suddenly makes a band relevant again. What Coyne did was shine a light on Arcade Fire, basically doing them a favor, because people are paying attention again.

I saw Arcade Fire at one the their special small shows before the release of Neon Bible in montreal. Win Butler was such an @#$#hole to the audience that I can't even begin to describe. His banter in between songs consisted of insulting the crowd...blaming us for the fact that their sound was muddy and their groove just wasn't on for the new songs. It was humiliating, and it would take a first class jerk to do such a thing. To their credit, the other guys and gals in the band seemed nice enough.
So Wayne wins on this one.

Butler's defensive response is impressive in its non-response. Besides the needless jab about rock star friends, notice that he doesn't actually respond to Coyne's accusations that Arcade Fire was rude to their crew and audience. That said, it still doesn't mean anyone knows who is in the right here.

Well, as mentioned above, Wayne Coyne is ridiculously nice. The kind where you think someone's been brainwashed, but then, the Lips have music about giraffes and lightning postmen and jelly and jesus all in a positive happy way, I think he is definately creative crazy. Only instead of most eccentrics where they go to heroin and become douchebags, Coyne builds brains on his front lawn for Halloween and is courteous.

Which makes it obvious that either four things are going on.

1: Coyne's standards are super high because he is totally too nice, and AF slipped up and he took it harsh because he is a marshmallow at heart.

2: Win actually is a total asshole(very plausable from posts)

3: Publicity stunt(does that make Wayne nicer for given more attention to his indie contemporaries?)

4: It's a conspiracy, Wayne puts on a super nice front so that when he calls people assholes everyone will side with him and he's actually plotting something elaborate and dangerous while we're all distracted by the dancing Timberlake's in bunny costumes and cheesy effects.

As a Flaming Lips fan, I'm dead set on number 4. Wayne can't be trusted.

surprising to see how many of you are "not big fans" of either act. i guess its maybe because we are all so obsessed with smaller acts on sites like this, but both of these bands are influences on probably 90% of my favorite music. either way, i dont really care about the feud. i love the flaming lips for their music, their performance, and their general attitude. i love the arcade fire for their music and their consistent creativity. their personal lives will, for me, remain just that.

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