Arcade Fire

  • Indie rock band based in Montreal Quebec Canada, formed in 2001. Members are Win Butler (vocals, songwriting, guitar, keyboards, mandolin, bass), his wife Régine Chassagne (vocals, songwriting, keyboards, percussion, drums, accordian), Win’s brother William Butler (synthesizer, bass guitar, guitar, percussion, songwriting), Richard Reed Parry (guitar, double bass, drums, celesta, keyboards, accordian), Tim Kingsbury (guitar, bass guitar), and Jeremy Gara (drums, guitar, keyboards).
  • The name of the band comes from a story that Win Butler was told about a fire at an arcade. Apparently, the fire did not actually happen, but Butler believed it to be real.
  • Butler formed the band with Josh Deu while they were in college. While rehearsing, they met Chassagne, who agreed to join. They made a demo and started performing live shows in Montreal. Four other musicians soon joined, and they traveled to Maine to record their EP in the summer of 2002.
  • The EP was released in the winter of 2003, but by then, many of the band members were leaving, including Deu. Replacements were found, and the band continued to perform, selling their EP at their shows. They showed promise, and an independent record label signed them.
  • They released their first album, Funeral, in 2004 in Canada and 2005 in the UK. It got its title because several band members had recently lost family members. Critics acclaimed it as modern classic, and it is included in many Greatest Album lists. Rolling Stone put it at #151 on its Greatest of All Time list. It also received 2 Grammy nominations. It did not chart high, as it did not receive much airtime on radio, and the independent label did not have the money to promote it heavily. The single Rebellion (Lies) peaked at #19 on the UK charts.
  • They gained exposure and slowly began to increase their visibility. Their second album, Neon Bible, was released in 2007. It premiered at #2 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Again, critics loved the album. Again, there was not much radio play in the US, typical of indie rock music. The single Keep the Car Running did chart at #32 on the US Alternative Songs chart.
  • Their next album, The Suburbs, was released in 2010 – it became their biggest selling album. It reached the top of the Billboard 200 chart, and it won the Grammy award for Album of the Year. We Used to Wait and Ready to Start charted at #22 and #16 respectively on the US Alternative Songs chart.
  • Arcade Fire has released 2 other albums – Reflektor in 2013 and Everything Now in late July 2017. Both hit #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart – overall sales have been modest, although Everything Now is with a major record label, so we will see if it will be promoted. The single Everything Now has reached #1 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart.
  • Arcade Fire donates $1.00, £1.00, or €1.00 for every concert ticket sold to Plus One, an organization the band formed to support Haiti. They have raised more than $2 million for the cause. Chassagne’s parents immigrated from Haiti during the Duvalier dictatorship.
  • Indie music doesn’t get the exposure it deserves, unless you are a fan of public radio. Fortunately, there are many fans of public radio that embrace bands like Arcade Fire. Plus, high profile media like Saturday Night Live frequently feature bands like this – Arcade Fire has played SNL 4 times, and only 11 other artists have performed more times on SNL than Arcade Fire. Watch the video of Everything Now from their recently released album.

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