Wayne Coyne on the National Mall (Credit: Alex Pasternack)
Wayne Coyne, the gonzo front-man of the Flaming Lips, is a storehouse of renewable energy, a super musical dynamo who sometimes seems more suited for Mars than Earth. But when Coyne and company landed on the National Mall in grand style to close out Sunday's celebration of Earth Day at the Green Apple Festival concert in Washington, DC, he didn't need to preach environmental responsibility, which he thinks tends to divide people: his music was always about fighting for a good cause, consciousness and love. He wants a world, he told TreeHugger before hitting the stage, where "the hippies aren't doing it, the green people aren't doing it. it's just everybody doing it." In the interview below, he talks about responsibility, music and his support for green things (no, no that trees, at least not the TreeHugger kind).
Wayne -- who plants trees in his neighborhood and whose house sounds like a model of re-use -- wonders about some green-minded ideas, like recycling in his hometown of Oklahoma City. But he wishes people would be more aware of nature and of how things are made. "People spend three dollars on a bottle of water, but if it's gasoline people bitch about it," he says.
His music's come-on-everyone feel is one he thinks should be a greater part of environmental movement. "The people we really want to reach, they don't like us; they're not going to be at the show today," he says. But "we're all patient, we're all tolerant. These ideas if they're good or right, all that sort of bullshit, they'll prove themselves."
More tidbits from the oddball-rock god:
I feel an atmosphere of optimism hovering in the weeds out there... all these things we think are important can become possible.
When we go out to play a show, it's all about if you're here, you're one of us. Let's deal with that and have the best time we can. We don't try to force people to be one big thing.
When I was young everybody smoked everywhere in the world. Now people go into corners to do it now. When I started to drive I didn't put on a seatbelt. Now if people don't put on a seatbelt Right away, we're like, 'hey. what are you doing!'
It's never going to be possible if we walk around saying, I'm cool because of this thing and you're not because you're against it. ... I know I'm cool already.
I know these issues are a luxury item... It's not in the front of everybody's minds. And how can it be? I would never be one to preach any lifestyle. All I ask is that people try to be nice to each other and we can work it out from there.