Transport Airports

Even rock stars forget to not pack grenades when they go to the airport

Nov 21, 2012 12:29 pm

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As the TSA’s Blogger Bob points out every Friday in his rundown of confiscated guns, knives, and other objects, an X-ray machine can’t tell the difference between a live grenade and a dead one. Just leave them at home.

— Jason Clampet

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Oklahoma City’s airport was shut down earlier this month because Wayne Coyne tried to pass through security with a grenade in his suitcase. “[I] had not quite thought about it,” the Flaming Lips’ singer said.

On 10 November, Coyne arrived at Will Rogers airport for a flight to Houston, Texas. As he passed through security, an X-ray scan of his luggage set off an alarm, according to a police statement obtained by Fuse. Officer Lindel Sides, who was summoned to the scene, learned that staff had discovered a grenade. “I looked at the object but could not tell if it was live,” Sides said in his report. “[Coyne] said it was given to him at a party in Arkansas on 4 November 2012. He advised it was a grenade but said it was dead and was painted.”

In a later interview with Pitchfork, Coyne explained that he picked up the “non-explodable” grenade at a house party. Nevertheless, officers went ahead and shut down the security checkpoint. According to one traveller, the whole airport was put on “lockdown”.

“I was stuck near the food court, wasn’t able to cross the airport to get to my gate,” the frustrated passenger said. “Flight left without me, all because of Wayne Coyne.” Finally, bomb technician Mike Calton arrived at the gate. “The grenade was painted gold and [Calton] took control of it,” Sides wrote. “It was not live and had a whole [sic] in the bottom.”

“They all believed what I was saying; they all believed it was just a dumb accident,” Coyne said. “[But] once [the bomb guy] comes out, there’s two weeks of paperwork that has to be filled out … It’s too late – the merry-go-round had to go its whole way around before you could get off.”

After the lockdown was lifted, Coyne was permitted to continue on his way. He “was very co-operative and up front with me”, Sides said. “[He] said he should have known better.” Coyne extended a further apology to his followers on Twitter: “Sorry Sorry Sorry!! Everyone that was inconvenienced because of my grenade at OKC airport!!”

At the time of the incident, Coyne was apparently on his way to preview a new musical based on the Flaming Lips’ music. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots premiered this week at Los Angeles’ La Jolla Playhouse, earning mixed reviews – here are the LA Times and Variety reports – for its mixture of hospital drama, automatons, and musical-theatre renditions of the Lips’ psychedelic songs.


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