All this week, Arcade Fire’s multi-instrumentalist Will Butler will be writing one song, everyday, based on news articles on the Guardian.
News stories and headlines have always been a tremendous inspiration for musicians.
Nirvana’s track ‘Polly’ was based on the 1987 true story, of a 14-year-old girl that was abducted in Tacoma, Washington and managed to trick and eventually escape for her abductor.
Speaking with The Guardian, Butler chatted how the idea came about to write a song a day: “It was partly inspired by Bob Dylan, who used to announce that certain songs were based on headlines. It would be a song he wrote in two weeks or something, such as The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll, which is one of the greatest songs ever. So I’ve set myself an impossible bar.”
“It’s a cruel thing, but sometimes you read something and think, “Uh oh. I could make something really meaty out of that.”
Something like the Dominique Strauss-Kahn trial – my God, that’s the gnarliest story in the world, but it’s interesting. Or you might read a science headline and think, “The universe is so much bigger than I thought it was.” There’s something really beautiful in that.”
Will Butler’s first song is inspired by the Greek bailout story.
He wrote on the Guardian: “I’m rooting for Greece. I mean, broadly, who the hell isn’t rooting for Greece? Even if you’re super right wing, or super German, or super capitalist you probably don’t want Greece tumbling out of the Euro and defaulting on its debts.
“But beyond that, I like that they’re a young government. I like Yanis Varoufakis, the new finance minister. To a certain extent, I’ve bought into the media portrayal of him (from the Guardian and NPR and all over) as a straight shooting rapscallion who might – just might – be crazy enough to, um, responsibly manage the Greek financial situation?
“I was reading the Guardian’s live coverage of the forthcoming Greek proposals of how they’re going to pay off their debts, when a little blurb popped up explaining that the Greek markets were closed today because it was “Clean Monday” – the Greek Orthodox equivalent of Ash Wednesday. It was an amazing/hilarious (well, maybe mildly amusing) coincidence to me that the Greek ministers were scrambling and figuring out how to avoid strict austerity on the day that Lent starts.
“And all this scrambling is just to figure out the next few months. It’s gonna be a long winter, and a long spring, and maybe a really long summer for Greece. But my fingers are crossed.”