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Arcade Fire are a mess.

We fact-check the rumors that are swirling around indie rock’s most indie-rock band.

CLAIM

Win Butler has accused Coldplay’s Chris Martin of ripping off Arcade Fire’s fashion sense and vibe.

RATING

UNPROVEN

ORIGIN

Whispers of a rift between the two bands started in 2008, when Coldplay wore matching pseudo-military outfits while promoting their album Viva La Vida. When Coldplay also debuted their new, more orchestral sound, Butler is said to have claimed that Coldplay were “psychic vampires” who had run out of ideas. Rumors swirled that he refused to put the Coldplay singer on the guest list for Arcade Fire’s L.A. shows. Although it’s true that Martin was seen leaving an Arcade Fire show at L.A.’s Forum while wearing a sad expression, there is no evidence that—as several websites have reported—he snuck backstage and got into an argument with Butler, during which the singers tore off each others’ epaulets and whimsical military patches.


CLAIM

The band almost broke up because of Cirque de Soleil.

RATING

TRUE

ORIGIN

Before they decided to go disco with James Murphy on Reflektor, the band took a theatrical detour with Cirque du Soleil. It started innocently enough, when Régine signed up for a few acrobatics classes with Guy Laliberté, the troupe’s charismatic French-Canadian leader. Pretty soon, though, there was talk about in-band fighting over what direction their live shows would take. Half the band wanted to go “full Cirque,” with hobos in floppy hats carrying peace signs, giant sunflowers, and placards with phrases such as “Get Woke.” According to sources close to the band, the other half thought this was “the most stupid and embarrassing idea ever.” Eventually, it was decided that only one member of the band would be allowed to go “full Cirque” at a time. In the past, it’s been Régine—look out for a new performer in the future!


CLAIM

Sean Penn, who became enamored of Regine in Haiti, asked her to donate her eggs so that they could make a baby together. Things got awkward.

RATING

FALSE

ORIGIN

While the band was in Haiti doing relief work, they ran into Sean Penn quite a bit. By all accounts, the actor was starstruck. After the band returned home, Penn became a groupie, showing up unannounced with everyone’s favorite teas and—in an effort to impress Régine—talking incessantly about medieval music. The band were flattered by the attention and felt it was coming from a “good place,” and chalked his puppy dog pleas up to their intense shared experience in Haiti. So anyway, word is that Penn supposedly called Win, asking to meet with him and Régine, and when they did, he asked if they’d be open to the idea of a Penn-Chassagne baby. As the story goes, Penn was way more concerned about Win feeling left out than worried about his request being crazy. When asked about this rumor, the band referred us to their representatives, who said, “Although Sean Penn was smitten with Régine,” there was never an ovum overture.


CLAIM

The band’s backstage rider demands locally harvested mushrooms, a craft corner, and other absurd concessions.

RATING

TRUE

ORIGIN

Last year, Arcade Fire’s concert rider was leaked and various blogs picked it up. The band tried to deny it, saying it was a hoax—but it wasn’t. The strict demands, including locally harvested mushrooms, fair trade gummy bears, organic ice, signs with perfect grammar and spelling, a craft corner, clove cigarettes, and a supply of loose-leaf chai tea, were real. The tea, in particular, is a real point of contention amongst the band members. Win Butler does not like tea—he thinks both tea and wine are pretentious—and, when Richard Reed Parry goes on and on about how he loves his Rishi Pu’erh Ginger (Sheng style), just rolls his eyes.