Red in the Face: Wayne Coyne on Fake Blood
Flaming Lips ringmaster Wayne Coyne first bloodied himself on stage some 20 years ago at an Exorcist-themed concert. After learning a valuable lesson about coagulation, Coyne revisited the trick about a decade later when touring behind The Soft Bulletin and its trippy opus “The Spark That Bled,” initiating a now-famous ritual in which the Oklahoma City rocker appears to hemorrhage from the forehead.
First blood: “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.” Before long, the
blood congealed under the hot lights. “So 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.”
Red blood sells: When buying blood, Coyne shops locally. “There’s a guy who does clown makeup on the other side of town who has several tiers of fake blood. Some of the fake blood will stain clothes, some you can’t get in your eye, some is like candy.” Coyne uses the latter, which he totes in containers the size of hotel shampoo bottles and applies to his face during shows.
Blood bother: “So this fake blood is kind of like candy, having candy poured in your eye—if you can handle that. It gets on my clothes, and I’ve washed the clothes that it gets on. And it has to come out. I don’t want to ruin every suit that I have just to do this gag.”