Lead singer, guitarist and songwriter Wayne Coyne said in an O Music Awards interview Thursday (June 28) that his band's "dust-up" with the R&B singer has been mostly in fun. But he admitted that he doesn't know if the nudity-filled video for "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," which Badu said made her feel "violated," will officially return.
"At the moment, I'm talking with [Dresden Dolls singer] Amanda Palmer about remaking the video and having Amanda sing it and just be in the video," Coyne said while onboard the O Music Awards bus, which is currently on a cross-country journey during which the band is likely to set a new Guinness World Record for most shows played in a day.
The controversy kicked off when the video arrived and Badu tweeted that the clip was released without her full approval. "As a director, I am unimpressed. As a sociologist, I understand your type. As your fellow artist, I am uninspired," she wrote, along with similar sentiments. Coyne took to his own Twitter account to respond to her request that he kiss her "glittery ass" then responded in more depth in an interview with BBC Radio's 6Music. On Thursday, he elaborated further.
"There's some of it I can't speak about, because I sort of feel like there's a sacred obligation anytime artists decide to go into a room together. But she's about controversy," he said. "When [Erykah] said she didn't want it out, we took it down," Coyne pointed out, noting that fans continued reposting it after the fact. "You can control it to a certain extent, and we tried to, but I think the more the Twitter war raged, the more people wanted to make sure the video was posted.
"I told her in the beginning, I said, 'If you don't like it, let's just not talk about it. And no one will care and within a day or two it'll probably go away.' "
Coyne said Badu "does crazy videos all the time" and implied that she was more likely responding to criticism from her own fans. "The Flaming Lips audience is this wonderful, loving audience that knows a lot about music and is very open to stuff. So the Flaming Lips audience, like me, loves Erykah Badu. And there's a segment of the Erykah Badu audience that I don't think like the Flaming Lips at all or doesn't even know we exist. And so when they see her doing this thing with us — and Erykah pointed this out: There's a segment of her audience that has ... " he trailed off, trying to find the words. "She doesn't know which way to play it.
"I think I convinced her that it was a Flaming Lips video and not to worry about it," he explained. "I think for a little while, she was maybe not necessarily completely at ease with that, but she was like, 'You're right, Wayne, it'll be fun.' Obviously, we made the video. But then I believe when the reaction from her audience to her was so vicious, I wanted her to defend herself. She's the only one that can do that. And I knew the Flaming Lips audience [would] know that some of this is in fun and some of it is in her way of protecting her 'brand' or whatever. And we would just play along with that. So I think that's really all there is to it."
You can follow all the Lips' OMA madness through the O Music Awards website.