David Byrne has shared a new Santa Clause-themed song called “The Fat Man’s Comin’” today as part of Bandcamp Friday. Proceeds from purchasing the holiday single will go toward Byrne’s nonprofit online news magazine, Reasons to Be Cheerful.
Produced and arranged by Jherek Bischoff, the holiday track features percussion from longtime Byrne collaborator Mauro Refosco. “The Fat Man’s Comin’” was originally written in 2013. “I always wanted to write a holiday song,” Byrne said in press materials. “I wouldn’t call it a Christmas song, as the visitation of Santa (formerly known as St. Nicholas, who mainly did punishing) seems to have evolved to be a more secular consumer moment than a religious or spiritual affair.”
He continued: "I believe the foundation of this music might have been written at the same time as the collaboration I did with St. Vincent a few years ago, but somehow a literal view of the Santa phenomena was what came out. It wasn’t right for Annie [Clark] and me — the story of a fat man in rather odd attire who breaks into people’s homes and leaves mysterious packages. I’d worked with Jherek before and enlisted him to arrange and record the “orchestra,” which I wanted to sound sort of old-school creepy. The old song “Teddy Bears’ Picnic” may have been a reference."
Byrne has also released a music video for the song that shows storyboards. "Back then, I thought I’d use the song as a means to raise money for a good cause, but to draw attention to this thing I thought it might need a visual, so I storyboarded a video for the song which eventually ended up getting shelved," Byrne explained. "But maybe helping celebrate another year of Reasons to be Cheerful might be a good reason to resurrect this song, and let the storyboards allow folks to imagine what the video might have been."
“The Fat Man’s Comin’” is available on Bandcamp via a pay-what-you-can model through December 31, with a minimum contribution of $1. In other David Byrne news, the former Talking Heads member has announced his neuroscience-inspired immersive theatre experience in Denver, Theater of the Mind, has been extended through January.
Listen to "The Fat Man's Comin'" below.
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