Arcade Fire @ Not So Silent Night 2013

Arcade Fire’s fourth LP was an artistic triumph that came with oversized buzz thanks to a well-constructed marketing campaign. It was one of our favorite albums of 2013. But not everyone loved Reflektor and now frontman Win Butler has responded to one high-profile pan.

Last fall, we learned how Arcade Fire’s publicist arranged for an early rave for Reflektor in Rolling Stone:

I had people completely outside this business saying to me, “Oh, those reviews have been great! … Oh my god, they’re everywhere.” And it was just one [Rolling Stone] review that all these people were linking back to because that was their only resource.

Of course once the album came out, not every review was as kind. According to a new Arcade Fire feature also in Rolling Stone, the one that got the most attention came from The Washington Post’s Chris Richards: Arcade Fire’s ‘Reflektor’: Still Devoid Of Wit, Subtlety And Danger, Now With Bongos.

It began…

Look, I’m sure they’re very nice people, but on their fourth album, “Reflektor,” Arcade Fire still sound like gigantic dorks with boring sex lives.

Ouch. RS asked Butler about it:

“Yeah, I read it,” Butler says, frowning. “I don’t want to say it was racist – but it was mildly uneducated.” He was particularly annoyed by the three jokes about the band’s new bongos, pointing out (rightly) that a professional music critic should know they were congas. He also says, not unfairly, that there may be some sour grapes: “The guy who wrote it played in a band that we used to open for. It seems like a bit of a conflict of interest.”

But when I jokingly ask if he wants to confirm or deny that he’s a gigantic dork, Butler rolls his eyes. “Whatever,” he says, his voice dripping sarcasm. “I’m a super-dork because I play with David Bowie. Bruce Springsteen wants to cover my songs because I’m such a dork. I’m not a dork,” he says earnestly. “I’m a fucking rock star.”

(Richards was in the D.C. post-hardcore trio Q And Not U.)

Rolling Stone’s Arcade Fire feature can be found in the 1/16 issue on newsstands now.

Comments (121)
  1. no matter how funny it is, responding to a negative review means he already lost

  2. who cares?

  3. hilarious? o.O

  4. Earnestly referring to yourself as a fucking rock star is just douchey. But calling someone a dork with a boring sex life in a music review is also a dick move.

  5. FRX  |   Posted on Jan 14th +8

    Look out Win, your ego’s showing…

  6. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  7. “I’m a super-dork because I play with David Bowie. Bruce Springsteen wants to cover my songs because I’m such a dork. I’m not a dork,” he says earnestly. “I’m a fucking rock star.”

    God, he sounds like Corgan.
    At least Corgan can play guitar.

  8. yeah, but there are a ton of “indie rockers” that really are massive dorks and it’s getting boring and too polite anyway. Arcade Fire, by comparison, are not boring (but you know, maybe a little dorky). I’m glad he responded that way.

    i think there need to be more good rock stars out there that will make a big sound and say big nasty things. and clearly he knew the guy who wrote it, so there was a little bit of a personal dig in there too.

    It’s not like he responds to every negative review or he called up Rolling Stone to vent about a review. A journalist asked him a question, and he answered it with a tasty soundbite.

  9. Am I allowed to generally care more about Q and Not U than I do about Arcade Fire? In my defense, I’m a DC native and Arcade Fire more or less totally suck.

    • No, you can’t.

      • Yeah I haven’t gotten to read Ris Paul Ric’s Washington Post article yet, but my knee jerk reaction aside from whatever he-said she-said is, Q AND NOT U >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> ARCADE FIRE. Q and not U was what I was fucking RAISED on! In my mind there is absolutely no question as to which bumps so much harder.

    • Aaron Cunningham  |   Posted on Jan 14th +1

      You’re totally allowed to feel that way. Anyone between Gaithersburg and Fredericksburg is allowed to feel that way. It’s ridiculous, but have at it.

      • Naw man. Q and not U destroys arcade fire in each and every manner that is both conceivable and also utterly teeth-kickingly mind-bendingly whup-ass to the point of being inconceivable. Listen to Black Plastic Bag ONE TIME and tell me that’s not gonna backhand slap the taste of arcade fire right out of your mouth.

        It’s songs like Black Plastic Bag, and albums like Different Damage, and bands like Q and not U which should be the REASON individuals seek out something like Stereogum in the first place. I have a feeling it’s the other way around for many of you and there is something terribly wrong with that.

        • Have listened to Q & NA, when did Mission of Burma change their name and start sucking?

        • Just listened to Black Plastic Bag. Can I have some music with those guttural screams? If you’re going to be a pretentious asshole, at least use some good music to back up your pathetic claim.

    • If you were really Jeff Mangum, yes. But I think you’re an impostor. Everyone knows Jeff Mangum is from Louisiana.

    • If you’ve ever heard a Q and Not U record then you couldn’t possibly be surprised to learn that one of their member’s is an obnoxious music critic. Not saying they’re bad, just that there’s a lot of wankery via nutty time signatures and 2-minute songs and “clever” lyrics and sometimes it holds together and frequently it doesn’t. But it’s that approach to making music, where you basically just regurgitate every avant-garde signifier you were force-fed in art school, which would lead to, a decade later, being an embittered journo who has an axe to grind with all the bands that aren’t as witty and subtle and dangerous as you remember your own band being.

      • Yeah Q were pretty famous for their use of nutty time signatures, like you know, 4/4 and 3/4. And for their “wankery” a la 2-minute songs, which was positively “avant-garde” around the year 2000.

        • I didn’t say they succeeded at making avant-garde music, I said they regurgitated a bunch of the previous decades’ avant-garde in all kinds of predictable ways.

          PS: Have you ever listened to this band you are taking up for, or are you just trolling? Or is it counting that you have trouble with? Because you can’t make it through the first half of their first record without hearing a lot more than just 3/4 and 4/4 time signatures. Drummer was definitely a badass, shame about everyone else in the band.

          • Apparently your opinion doesn’t come equipped with:

            1) A sense of irony or realistic concept of what’s widely considered “predictable”

            2) Any ability to discern musical time signatures – because I just re-listened to the first half of that album two minutes ago, thus discovering two things: a) it’s still destroys and b) LITERALLY EVERY SONG COMPRISING THE FIRST HALF OF THE ALBUM IS IN 4/4.

            You’re missing the entire point of what makes the rhythmicity of their music compelling, ace. They fooled your brain into thinking it was more than 4/4 when it never was – something entirely UNpredictable.

            If this band’s output was so trite and hackneyed then it should be pretty effortless to whip up a resume of preceding bands who executed rhythmically inspired, angular, assaultive, atonal-yet-catchy dance-punk in the same manner.

            PS: have you ever listened to this argument you’re taking up for, or are you just bitching on things you don’t have the ability to judge?

          • Apparently the first half of Reflektor is two minutes long.

    • We care more about your sweater than we do Q and Not A. Is it made of hemp?

  10. I’m not a dork,” he says earnestly. “I’m a f**ing rock star.” The guy comes across as an absolute douchebag here. A bit of humility and credit towards musicianship would help his cause.

    • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  11. I read that review when it posted and thought it was a little over-the-top, to say the least. I was hoping Win had some great, clever comeback.

    Not so much. (Maybe we’re missing context?)

    What we have a here is one of those glorious situations where everyone is wrong, everyone is a jerk, and everyone sucks.

    But if everyone would have just toned down their rhetoric/behavior, everyone could have been RIGHT, too. Because Reflektor IS kind of up its own ass. And because Chris Richards DOES sound a little jelly school.

    • Aaron Cunningham  |   Posted on Jan 14th +14

      Here’s the beginning, middle, and end of this for me: (Whether you like Arcade Fire or not, whether you like Reflektor or not, etc. etc.):

      One of these people wrote an album review that calls a band with a native French speaker “pretentious” for having lyrics sung in French… And this wasn’t some band with a totally unknown backstory releasing their first album. This was a band that has lyrics sung in French by the native French speaker in their band on every one of their albums. A band that hails from a part of the world where French and English are at best co-equal. That person writes for what was once considered a major publication. That person presumably has an editor and likes to refer to himself as a journalist, possibly even a music journalist. So it’s safe to assume that he didn’t write any of what he wrote out of ignorance.

      The other person was responding extemporaneously to a question being asked by a journalist from what was once considered a major publication. He is not a journalist and presumably didn’t have an editor or a publicist standing between his voicebox and his lips.

      If I’m assigning “wrong jerk who sucks” points, the music journalist who didn’t know Regine is a native French speaker and/or didn’t know Arcade Fire is from Montreal, where they likely have many French-speaking fans, and/or decided to equate singing in French with pretentiousness in an English-language publication in 2014 gets ALL the points.

      • I have to honestly tell you that the fact French is spoken (sung) by French-speaking people on the album had nothing to do with why I felt the album sounded pretentious. It honestly never occurred to me that others would single out the French language as the sole reason the album is pretentious. Feel free to call me stupid for missing that talking point; I guess I give people too much credit.

        For me, the pretentious moments come from how the band seemingly paints this third-person picture of itself from beginning to end. That picture feels devoid of a sense of humor, or even a sense of self editing, and comes off on the pretentious side, to me. It’s not because the French language appears on the record, and it’s certainly not because they’re French-Canadian.

        If Richards’s review is racist, then allow me to apologize for completely missing that (and, yes, I see your opinion entirely). Like I said, he went way over the edge with this review, but I guess I didn’t fully understand just how far.

        • As for the quasi-racist element (Win himself made sure this was qualified), I think it has to do with the notion that the band is taking funkier sounds from other lands and sub-cultures, yet to the critic the members are essentially unfit for such music. They are stiff, awkward white dweebies who appropriate the jive but don’t have real soul. Now, the fact that the writer himself is the same race as the band members perhaps complicates things, but he could still house simplistic racialized views of musical authenticity.

          Chicago Reader’s Jessica Hopper is also white, yet she tread into quasi-racist territory during that whole tiff with the Magnetic Fields. After accusing Stephin Merritt of racism, she commented on the sheer whiteness of his music…described as “icky” and “dangerous.”

          It’s not enough to charge them with full-on racism, but the respective depictions by Hopper and Richards of MG and AF feel a bit, well…icky.

  12. I don’t know I think coming out and owning being a rock star is great. We appreciate it when rappers (“I Am A God”) and pop stars (“Roar”) do self-aggrandizement in a fun/creative way, I don’t know why Arcade Fire should be any different.

    • Agreed.

    • I agree we appreciate it, but I think for different reasons depending on the act. People like it when Kanye does it because he takes it too another level and it’s entertaining. I guess I feel like Win is actually too dorky to pull off the ego. I actually would have expected him to disregard the negative review, because clearly the review isn’t hurting him that bad. And I have no doubt his sex life is at least very nice and decent.

    • Burritos.

  13. boozm  |   Posted on Jan 14th +13

    But…. he is a rock star. it’s just the truth, and a rock star is sort of the opposite of a dork, except for rivers cuomo of course. I don’t think he comes off as a douche, I think a bit of honesty and ego is a good thing, yeah like you guys don’t have an ego. This comment is fucking awesome, I didn’t even capitalise rivers cuomo, I’m a fucking rock star.

  14. i’m going to go out and give him the benefit of the doubt on that last quote of his and say it was really sarcastic.

  15. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • Aaron Cunningham  |   Posted on Jan 14th +3

      I couldn’t disagree with you more. Everything you just typed is how you’d like to think you’d respond to this situation if you were in it. But the reality of the situation is this: David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen are two of the biggest artists in the history of contemporary music. Their approval IS validation. He was responding to a journalist from Rolling Stone magazine; namedropping two of the biggest rock artists of all time is completely appropriate in that venue and in the context of indicating why you don’t care too much if a guy in a shitty band no one north of Gaithersburg doesn’t like your record compared to artists who are well-established and world-renowned.

      As to that whole “maybe the point the writer was trying to make” bit, my only question to you is this: Why should a music journalist writing a review of an album be trying to make any of the points you’re asserting he was making? He was asked to write a review of the album. Review the album. What does Reflektor have to do with whether or not Win Butler as an individual or Arcade Fire as a whole is a dork? What do their sex lives have to do with the album they made? What does Win Butler being the same person he’s always been underneath the hype have to do with the album his band made?

      To the extent that any rock band in history has ever been important, Arcade Fire certainly qualifies as important right now. That didn’t begin with Reflektor. It won’t end with Reflektor (unless they don’t put out any more albums). And it isn’t harmed by the praise the band has received from David Bowie or Bruce Springsteen any more than it is diminished by Win Butler mentioning that praise. They certainly matter a whole helluva lot more than a bitter music journalist who used to be in a band. So you might want to pretend that nobody gives a shit about that, but people do. You might want to pretend that it’s out of bounds for him to mention it, but it isn’t. He was asked a question. He answered that question. He certainly doesn’t lose any points for not answering it the way you think you would have…

  16. and we’d all applaud if he shrugged and played it off like arcade fire’s still not a huge act? if he’d have said something along the lines of “i can see why people would call us dorks, we’re just a tiny indie act,” he’d be derided for being naive and trying to be someone he’s not.

    dude gave an honest answer to a question in an interview, which the interviewer then played up in his write-up. when did we start latching on to soundbites from interviews with people in bands we like as if it’s a presidential campaign?

    • I thought the same thing as soon as I started reading the comments! I was remembering the comments on the article about their manager calling them “the little act that could” or whatever and how fake everyone thought that was because they’re a huge band now. You honestly cannot win (no pun).

  17. Whoa, really surprised by the amount of hating here.

  18. he gave an honest answer, indeed.

    in case anyone didn’t read the Washington Post article in question, the guy who wrote was more of a douche, by far.
    as someone else mentioned, called the band pretentious for singing in french, when they’ve done that since their first album and Regine is a native french speaker. a lot of it really was bone-headed.

    also, leading up to Reflektor, i got annoyed with them, and pretty figured “well, that’s it. they suck.” but i heard the album, already expecting it to suck, and was surprised by how much i liked it. one of the best of 2013.

    never underestimate the effect a writer with a chip on his shoulder can (unfairly) have.
    also, ALWAYS question the unwarranted arbitrary backlash of a once-beloved band.

  19. He’s a super-dork because all “rock stars” are super-dorks with musical talent.

    • We equate classic rawk with sex and while most of your archetypal rock gods were having plenty of it, they were also almost all huge nerds. Led Zeppelin is probably the most egregious example, the same band that told people to “squeeze my lemon, til the juice runs down my leg” also wrote “twas in the depths of Mordor I met a girl so fair” and then name drops Gollum.
      There’s a reason most teenage boys go through a classic rock phase in high school (though maybe I’m projecting), its got all you need: sex and dragons.

  20. that’s not entirely a “hilarious” response, it’s kind of juvenile

    also, a pretty amateur use of sarcasm

  21. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  22. so he had one high point in his career (winning that grammy) and now he thinks he’s the shit? twat. they’re still nobodies. ask anybody who’s anybody and they WON’T know arcade fire. like i asked my boy the other day who’s super popular and stuff and he doesn’t know arcade fire. honestly i don’t even know arcade fire. tried to listen to that one song wake up and fell asleep (lol ironic i know) but that song was boring. like elevator music or something. and it totally just changes like 3/4 of the way through and it’s like two songs in one. win butler tries to get away with combing two songs in one and being a rock star. what a dick.

  23. it’s all eyebrow insecurity.

  24. Wait, so where was stereogum’s article (even a brief blip!) when it was revealed that Arcade Fire’s publicist arranged for a rave review from Rolling Stone?

    I mean, if we’re going to post like, the chronicles of Coinye or whatever, I would think this might deserve a mention.

      • Scott, Did this item originate from a publicist/someone working on behalf of the band?

        Because I read the full Rolling Stone article and there were a lot more interesting things to discuss, whereas this particular quote that your item is about is sort of focussed on score-settling/battling, which Arcade Fire is pretty good at.

        Also, the RS article isn’t online yet and it seems like it’d be a good for a publicist to make some noise about this quote and try to pre-empt/shade out some of the other stuff in the article when it eventually comes out online.

        Just curious. Did you not read the basketball game sequence or the Springsteen advice stuff?

        • Ha, no it did not originate from the band. I read the article because I subscribe to RS. Did you find the basketball story damning in some way? I don’t have it in front of me, but I only remember it painting Win as unusually competitive at basketball. I thought the quote from Parry about the press narrative turning into the Win & Regine show was notable too, but it didn’t really fit in this post. Anyway, yes other good things were in the article — Arcade Fire fans should seek it out.

          • Well, without reciting all the details of the article, I certainly feel like you could have taken this opportunity to reignite 1) the basketball ball stealing allegations (we don’t really know what happened that night in 2007) but doesn’t it seem like a pretty credible story now? and 2) the Wayne Coyne feud….LOL…

            It was just a really weird article I thought. Not a MIA New York-type piece, but maybe a cleaned up version of that kind of a piece. In the end I thought it was a fair look at what it takes to be a success in the music business and possible issues coming down the line for the band.

            I mean, for goodness sakes, they quoted the guitar tech as saying something like Butler can’t take criticism, has to be kept out of fights at every game they play together…it was just bizarre. Everything was ambiguous and sort of unexplained and implied.

    • Wait… So Arcade Fire’s publicist arranged to have a rave review in Rolling Stone? I have always figured that this sort of chicanery goes on, but not out in the open… Now they’re just announcing it to everyone? “Hey, you fuckheads, our reviews are fake. How do you like that?” I don’t get it…

  25. Dischord vs. Merge. I love Superchunk, but I love Fugazi more.

    Besides, Butler’s always given me the willies, like if the FLDS had missionaries, and he was one, and came-a-knockin’.

  26. Doesn’t one have to be a dork in order to even think about starting a band? That’s just how it is, really.

  27. So many negative reviews on this album, I mean, it’s just a band suffering. We really needed this statement to clarify why he’s not a dork. Sayin “no comment” or “I don’t care” would have been so much harder.

    Mwah ah ah ah ah.

  28. Not hilarious – boring.

    THIS is hilarious:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lk2tzmknR9A

  29. A minor point –

    While Arcade Fire gets a measly vocal snippet buried in the mix, Placebo got a full on DUET with David Bowie for “Without You I’m Nothing” (by Bowie’s request, that is)

    This does not make Brian Molko any less of a dork.

    (Sorry, Win-nie Pooh… your argument is invalid)

  30. This is just like that one Nickelback song. Canadians: they’re all the same.

  31. Heavy is the head that wears the crown. Great band, great album. Arcade Fire swing for the fences with every album, every song, every chorus. Not everything is a homerun. But they constantly TRY to move forward.

    Thank God for that. Cuz so few bands do.

  32. ga  |   Posted on Jan 15th +1

    I like AF, but I’m seeing their ticket sales in many cities, and their popularity is not commesurate with how they are percieved in the blogosphere, you can also say the same for yeezus.

  33. Could a gigantic dork do this? HUH?

    • Good call, but in the article Win is constantly yelling at his teammates (strangers to him at a pickup game in LA) and giving them instructions and what not. And some band guy is quoted as saying he gets in a fight at nearly every game.

      He’s not dorky, he truly is a rock star.

      You don’t get to be a rock star by being a nice guy. You have to be ambitious, hard-headed, competitive, nasty, rude, forceful…etc. He’s the force behind the band and it’s a tough business.

      • So he’s beer league softball guy? I love it. Not sure if that makes him a rockstar or a spazz. Probably both.

        Either way, we should all take a moment to appreciate Win Butler attacking the paint.

      • actually it’s not that he gets in fights, it’s that he has to be kept out of fights

  34. “The Importance of Being Earnest: A Play by Win Butler”

  35. I’m just trying to figure out whether Win Butler said these things before or after he snorted cocaine from a hooker’s ass crack.

  36. Sounds like he was sort of cutting down Richards, not declaring to the world he’s a rock star. That dude started a fight and Win responded appropriately. He is a fucking rock star and that dude’s band didn’t make it. It’s the same thing as saying “scoreboard” to the kid that losing but still talking trash for some reason. Nothing wrong with it.

  37. You Win this round, Mr. Butler

  38. Win Butler is definitely a dork. I think most of us know that… There are plenty of successful dorks out there. He is also a rock star, but those things are not mutually exclusive. Win is a dork that makes fantastic music.

    I think it would have looked better if Win simply would have played dumb to the negative review. That would have cut Richards much, much deeper.

    What is with the sentiment around Stereogum that it is perfectly fine for Win to call himself a rock star simply because it is true? Would it be fine for him to walk around saying, “I’m not a dork because I am rich and white?” Some things are better left unsaid. In my opinion, the second you call yourself a rock star, you cease to be just that…

  39. That last comment tears it for me. Bragging about your rock-star cred by name dropping big names, in response to one bad review? Give me a break. To me, Win seems phony and egotistical. Naturally I could be totally wrong. I watched a minute or two of his thing with Rainn Wilson. “My biggest of the influence of the last 6 years has been haitian street music” and something about “its what MIA’s tryingi to do”. It could be the most honest thing he’s ever said but to me, it just sounded like something a cool popular musician thinks he should say to sound cool and interesting. I dunno, I found Reflektor to be a bore and something about Win rubs me the wrong way. But hey, you know, just my opinion.

    • Yeah, the fact that he comes from an extremely rich family is one thing that always has rubbed me the wrong way. They were really slumming it early on on those indie tours with dad’s bank account to fall back on.

  40. It’s all fart nuggets, timmy.

  41. If liking the artist’s behavior or inflated sense of self is pre-requisite to enjoying their art, there would be very little music left to like.

    I enjoy Arcade Fire’s music. I really couldn’t care less about their interviews, as is the case with most artists in history. But I suppose music journalists want us to think the interviews are important so we’ll keep reading and arguing over trivial crap.

    Let the music speak for itself. Next.

  42. He’s a rock star in his own mind. I still think he’s a big dork. Reflektor makes a great coaster though.

  43. first off, the review said they SOUNDED like dorks. it was a comment on the music, not the musicians. secondly, butler IS a gigantic dork. his response only proves that. even if Bowie and Springsteen liking you validated your music (it doesn’t), making good music doesn’t mean you’re not a dork. just look at that picture of him. the guy’s a tool and completely lacks self-awareness

  44. The full article is online now and you can peruse: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/the-unforgettable-fire-can-arcade-fire-be-the-worlds-biggest-band-20140116

    “Win Butler is always up for a fight – even if it’s with his audience. “I remember we were on the Suburbs tour,” Butler is saying one afternoon in New York, “and we got booked at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. We’d already played Switzerland a couple times, and we’d made a rule we were never gonna do it again. The shows were so awful, and the people were just so rich and spoiled.”

    “In 2014, Arcade Fire have fully assumed their place in the pantheon, welcomed by some of rock’s all-time greats. Bono is a friend, and he appears in one of their videos. Bruce Springsteen gives them personalized advice. (Butler: “One of the things he told us was ‘Play Italy.’”)”

    “The idea of peer critique, of talking about each other’s art – I just found it so useless,” he says. “I don’t want to talk about someone else’s shitty photo, and have someone I don’t respect tell me what they think about mine.” He quit after one year and moved to Boston with a friend, then moved with that same friend to Montreal, where they started in earnest the band that became Arcade Fire.

    “… The first time I actually talked to him was when he and Régine came to one of my band’s shows. Afterward he came up to me, like, ‘I really liked that second song – but you should probably cut the last verse.’ Just immediately coaching us. I was like, ‘Who is this asshole?’”

    “Butler runs the band as a kind of dicta-democracy, in which all members are equal, but one is more equal than others. “Win has the loudest mouth for sure,” Parry says. “There’s no question he’s the leader of this band. Which is fine by me. I’m a Quaker, and consensus is fucking slow and hard. And at the end of the day, the fact that we can all get behind any idea and move forward is a small miracle.”

    “After soundcheck, Butler spends a while playing ping-pong with his guitar tech, Tyler Messick. Butler, a fierce competitor with a wicked serve, tells him frequently to “get that shit out of here.” During one game, he lunges so hard that he splits his pants. Messick says Butler really hates to lose: “He’ll cheat, he’ll change the score. He’ll even flip over the table.”

    Messick and Butler met five or six years ago, playing hoops at the Montreal YMCA. “He gets in fights almost every time we play,” Messick says. “He’s an instigator – I have to hold guys back every time. He gets his aggression out on the court. He doesn’t take criticism very well. But he can dominate a room like no one else.”"

    This part begins the funniest part of the article but also gets across the main point that Butler is a leader, and there is dark and light there. Butler has brought the RS writer to a gym to watch him play a pickup game with total strangers:

    “The teams are set, lights against darks, and everybody takes their places on the court. On the first possession, Butler pulls up at the top of the key and drains a three-pointer. The next possession, he does it again. The next one he brings the ball downcourt and dishes a nifty behind-the-back pass to a teammate, who goes in for an easy layup, and then Butler pulls up and sinks another three. Just like that, Butler’s team is up 11-0, and he’s responsible for all 11 points.

    By the second game, the other team starts double-teaming him, but Butler keeps attacking, ignoring an open man and driving into the paint for another bucket. Then they begin triple-teaming, and Butler gets frustrated. “Come on, guys – we gotta box out better!” he shouts. “They’re killing us on the rebounds!” Still, thanks to some strong post play, his team ekes out another victory.”

  45. The full article is online now and you can peruse. I highly recommend it’s a complex and interesting piece: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/the-unforgettable-fire-can-arcade-fire-be-the-worlds-biggest-band-20140116

    “Win Butler is always up for a fight – even if it’s with his audience. “I remember we were on the Suburbs tour,” Butler is saying one afternoon in New York, “and we got booked at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. We’d already played Switzerland a couple times, and we’d made a rule we were never gonna do it again. The shows were so awful, and the people were just so rich and spoiled.”

    “In 2014, Arcade Fire have fully assumed their place in the pantheon, welcomed by some of rock’s all-time greats. Bono is a friend, and he appears in one of their videos. Bruce Springsteen gives them personalized advice. (Butler: “One of the things he told us was ‘Play Italy.’”)”

    “The idea of peer critique, of talking about each other’s art – I just found it so useless,” he says. “I don’t want to talk about someone else’s shitty photo, and have someone I don’t respect tell me what they think about mine.” He quit after one year and moved to Boston with a friend, then moved with that same friend to Montreal, where they started in earnest the band that became Arcade Fire.

    “… The first time I actually talked to him was when he and Régine came to one of my band’s shows. Afterward he came up to me, like, ‘I really liked that second song – but you should probably cut the last verse.’ Just immediately coaching us. I was like, ‘Who is this asshole?’”

    “Butler runs the band as a kind of dicta-democracy, in which all members are equal, but one is more equal than others. “Win has the loudest mouth for sure,” Parry says. “There’s no question he’s the leader of this band. Which is fine by me. I’m a Quaker, and consensus is fucking slow and hard. And at the end of the day, the fact that we can all get behind any idea and move forward is a small miracle.”

    “After soundcheck, Butler spends a while playing ping-pong with his guitar tech, Tyler Messick. Butler, a fierce competitor with a wicked serve, tells him frequently to “get that shit out of here.” During one game, he lunges so hard that he splits his pants. Messick says Butler really hates to lose: “He’ll cheat, he’ll change the score. He’ll even flip over the table.”

    Messick and Butler met five or six years ago, playing hoops at the Montreal YMCA. “He gets in fights almost every time we play,” Messick says. “He’s an instigator – I have to hold guys back every time. He gets his aggression out on the court. He doesn’t take criticism very well. But he can dominate a room like no one else.”"

    This part begins the funniest part of the article but also gets across the main point that Butler is a leader, and there is dark and light there. Butler has brought the RS writer to a gym to watch him play a pickup game with total strangers:

    “The teams are set, lights against darks, and everybody takes their places on the court. On the first possession, Butler pulls up at the top of the key and drains a three-pointer. The next possession, he does it again. The next one he brings the ball downcourt and dishes a nifty behind-the-back pass to a teammate, who goes in for an easy layup, and then Butler pulls up and sinks another three. Just like that, Butler’s team is up 11-0, and he’s responsible for all 11 points.

    By the second game, the other team starts double-teaming him, but Butler keeps attacking, ignoring an open man and driving into the paint for another bucket. Then they begin triple-teaming, and Butler gets frustrated. “Come on, guys – we gotta box out better!” he shouts. “They’re killing us on the rebounds!” Still, thanks to some strong post play, his team ekes out another victory.”

  46. So he’s a self-gratulating prick who likes play pickup basketball and to get into fights? How is that any different than a frat boy? What’s up bro!

  47. John Eje Thelin  |   Posted on Jan 21st 0

    “Bruce Springsteen wants to cover my songs”

    If he doesn’t know that this is *not* something to brag about, he might as well hand in his dork card right away (and it does explain why I find AF utterly boring, despite being a huge dork).

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post, reply to, or rate a comment.

%s1 / %s2