Arcade Fire’s Win Butler Reveals Thank You Gift He Bought for David Bowie
Because Bowie died before the gift was sent, the eerily prescient painting now hangs in Butler’s bedroom.
Like many of us, Win Butler is still thinking about David Bowie. The Arcade Fire songwriter has revealed that he and bandmate/partner Régine Chassagne had bought the late legend an oddly prescient painting as a way to say thanks for the memories. Sadly, they were never able to get the painting to Bowie before he died in 2016.
“I was emailing him over all those years,” Butler told Stereogum, reflecting on the time Bowie joined the band onstage in 2005, as well as adding his voice to the band’s Reflektor album title track. “I don’t know if you have anyone close to you that’s died and you go back and read those emails, it’s really these strange digital fragments of someone you care about. After he sang on ‘Reflektor’, Régine and I bought him a painting in Haiti as a thank you gift. We were supposed to mail it to him and we got busy and forgot about it, and in the interim he passed. I knew he wasn’t well, but I didn’t know he was dying. Maybe a couple months later I remembered the painting and I dug it out and it was a painting of a black star. A voodoo painting of a black star with rays coming out of it.”
With Bowie’s last album titled Blackstar, the coincidence was not lost on Butler: “I didn’t know anything about his record being ‘Blackstar’ or anything like that. Now it’s on the wall of my bedroom. Shit like that sometimes happens in my life. I take it for what it is. I don’t know exactly what that means and I just feel grateful… I don’t know, man. Even just how inspiring, what he put into his art even in death. He’s someone I think about at least on a weekly basis.”
Bowie fans have a new live album to ponder, as No Trendy Réchauffé (Live Birmingham 95) is set for release on November 20. The recording captures Bowie at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre on December 13, 1995 as part of the Big Twix Mix Show festival. As an added bonus, the release will include a second version of Outside album track “Hallo Spaceboy,” originally slated as a single release back in the mid-’90s.