On the mounting success of their full-length debut, Funeral, eccentric Montreal pop sextet the Arcade Fire are readying for a second, more extensive tour of the States, kicking off January 13th in San Francisco and wrapping up on February 3rd in Boston.
But the band members are hoping that their newfound popularity won't force them to behave like rock stars. "If it's going to be, like, us wanking our little guitars in the spotlight, not seeing anyone -- no, that's not the point," says multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Regine Chassagne. "It's a human thing. I like to meet people after a show, and sometimes I recognize them from another show."
The Arcade Fire (named for the fire department where a family member worked) include frontman Win Butler and wife Chassagne, Win's younger brother Will, guitarist Richard Parry, bassist Tim Kingsbury and touring violinist Sarah Neufeld. And their eclectic sound stems from the wide-ranging tastes of their members. "I was listening to classical music and Mary Poppins and weird voodoo Haitian records," explains Chassagne, who plays piano, accordion, drums and xylophone. "I sang in choirs, and played for a long time in a medieval band -- I wore a costume, sang in old languages, played the recorder and mandolin and tambourine. I was singing jazz when I met Win."
"There's a bunch of Eastern European bands that my brother turned me on to," adds Butler. "He was just in the Czech Republic doing a big thing on Czech rock & roll in the Eighties." Butler, however, is convinced that the sum of all these parts is pretty simple: "For all its eccentricities, the band is a pop band."
For new fans, the Arcade Fire's self-titled debut EP is only available at their shows. But one track from that record, "No Cars Go," can now be downloaded at the iTunes music store. And for those across the pond, the group has signed a deal to distribute Funeral in the U.K. through Rough Trade Records, set to hit stores there on February 28th.
Meanwhile, the Arcade Fire have begun work on new songs at their studio in Butler's family barn in Maine, and they've recently completed their first video, for the track "Rebellion (Lies)." "It's a real video," says Butler. "We got a grant from the Canadian government to make it!"
The Arcade Fire tour dates:
1/13-14: San Francisco, Great American Music Hall
1/15-16: Los Angeles, Troubadour
1/17: San Diego, Casbah
1/18: Tucson, AZ, Solar Culture
1/21: Austin, Emo's
1/23: Houston, Fat Cat's
1/24: New Orleans, House of Blues
1/26: Atlanta, Variety Playhouse
1/27: Asheville, NC, The Orange Peel
1/30: Washington, DC, 9:30 Club
1/31: Philadelphia, Theatre of Living Arts
2/1: New York, Bowery Ballroom
2/2: Brooklyn, NY, Warsaw
2/3: Boston, Roxy