I’m not saying that it’s surprising that Google Street View captured Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne sitting on his front lawn in a bathtub. But I am saying that it’s amazing.
The affable, outspoken Coyne — the man behind the indie hits “Do You Realize??” and “She Don’t Use Jelly,” an impressive 1995 appearance on Beverly Hills, 90210, and a weird 2008 space movie in which he plays a martian — was snapped by a Google mapping vehicle as it zipped down Coyne’s street in Oklahoma City, where the dude has lived all his life.
How do we know based on this blurry photo that this is actually Coyne? Well, there’s the fact that the subject in question seems to be wearing one of Coyne’s signature dapper suits, and that he also appears to have tell-tale bushy, salt-and-pepper hair. And there are these photos from the Flaming Lips’ MySpace page, depicting Coyne and his wife setting up the bathtub, with a gaudy sign reading “Blob in the Bath,” for a Halloween bash they threw in 2007.
But not wanting to risk posting about this only to find out later that it was all a clever hoax, I took it straight to the source.
“Yes, that’s me,” says Coyne by phone from Oklahoma City.
Coyne, who recently confirmed that the Flaming Lips will play a set of their own music as well as the entirety of their take on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon at this year’s Bonnaroo, says he (and his Google Street View costar Justin Duda, a former Lips roadie) had been working all day in the yard to prepare props that would “scare the shit out of these little kids from the neighborhood.” He didn’t see the Google car drive past.
“I’m sure the people who were in the car didn’t care either,” he laughs. “They were probably like, well, this is a street, so let’s drive down it!”
While news about his Google Maps appearance has spread only recently, Coyne first learned about it a week after Halloween in 2007. “It’s funny sometimes what will grab people’s attention when,” he says. “People have been coming up to me for the last month or so telling me about it — but it’s almost three years old.”
Still, he’s as amazed as anyone. “If you’re outside from when the moment the sun comes up to midnight,” he says, “you probably have a much better chance of being on Google Maps than if you’re only out there for a moment feeding the birds or something.
“But a car that drives around on every street with a 360 degree camera? We live in fucking good times, don’t we?”
Check out more views of Coyne from Google Maps on the next page, including an angle where he and the bathtub seem to disappear.