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In the summer of 2005, the Arcade Fire became one of the most prominent bands in the world. The rockers didn’t start with much of a marketing budget, but on the strength of their tunes and the passion of their live shows, they created a massive following.
Lead singer Win Butler, in the current issue of NME, says that’s the only way to do it. What’s more, he has a big problem with the practices of many of the world’s biggest bands.
In the article, Butler said, “It's not like we shun success, but at the same time we don't want to shove it down people's throats. In the U.K. there's this kind of rock star competition. I don't know if U2 started it, or the Stones or Oasis, but a lot of bands think in terms of: 'I'm going to be the biggest band in the world. F--k all those bands who've got no ambition.' I think that's a total crock of sh-t.
"There's nothing less interesting to me than the idea of marketing the f--k out of something so people are forced to like it. Some bands are just manipulating people to buy music. That's how 90 percent of the record industry works! It's basically the same as selling a f--king toaster or a cruise package.”
He’s got a point. And, considering how ambitious the Arcade Fire’s music is, his targets should come as no surprise. Butler has experience fronting one of the biggest bands in the world for a time, so, naturally, he prefers the indie ideal that got him and his bandmates where they are as opposed to the commercial ideal that got the bands mentioned where they are.
Still, launching a campaign against Oasis, U2 and the Rolling Stones, in NME magazine, of all places, is risky business. The Arcade Fire has nothing to apologize for on any level as a band. The live show speaks for itself. The band doesn’t have to do this to garner attention. The U.K. press lives off starting fights and reporting the fallout. Butler didn’t need to take the bait.
But, then again, maybe it’s time to take a stand. There’s nothing new about doing so against corporatism, but from his position at the forefront of the indie movement, perhaps Butler felt the time had come to say what everyone else thinks. To put words to a feeling and let things go from there.
It would probably be a good idea for him to stay away from the Gallagher brothers, though. Bono’s too busy saving the world by posing for pictures, and the Stones are too busy having nothing to worry about ever again, to care much what Win Butler says. But those Gallagher brothers are always down for a brawl.
And if it came down to fisticuffs, something tells me the good money is on whoever’s not Win Butler. Love the guy’s music, but this is not the Gallaghers’ first rodeo.
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