The “We Exist” Ping-Pong Match Continues

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Last week, The Arcade Fire released the music video for their song “We Exist” casting The Amazing Spider-Man himself, Andrew Garfield to play the role of a transgender individual in the video. After the video had premiered, Against Me! singer, Laura Jane Grace, who happens to be a transgender individual herself, took to Twitter to express her distaste for the band and their director to cast Garfield rather than asking a transgender actor to portray the role.

During an interview with The Advocate this past weekend, frontman Win Butler responded to Grace’s comments on the matter saying that the band were inspired to write the song upon meeting gay Jamaican kids in Jamaica where they worked on their recently released album, Reflektor. An excerpt from the article can be read below.

“There is a very kind of homophobic undercurrent, even in a lot of popular music and dancehall music, where there is a lot of violence against gay people,” says Butler. “And we were in Kingston, and we went to this kind of film event and met some gay Jamaican kids and just kind of talked to them and realized that they were constantly under the threat of violence. For me, I get kind of used to being in this sort of extremely liberal bubble — where we have Whole Foods and people are tolerant. And you can kind of trick yourself into thinking that the world is that way. For me, it was really eye-opening to hang out with these kids who, if they were going to dress differently or express who they were, there was this real tension.”

Grace, not to be one to hold back, spoke out about it on Twitter today to respond to the band’s response.

“this article is hella problematic. To start with there’s the fact that Win says “he” and Wilson says “she” … the implication that a homeless Jamaican LGBT youth living in a sewer is going to feel empowered because a cis, straight white male actor in movies they can’t afford to see stars in a music video they’ll never watch? my main problem with the video isn’t even casting it’s stereotyping — like why does Garfield cry about shaving their head to then put on a wig when they have gorgeous hair? why does Garfield go to the shittiest bar ever to drink domestic beer and dance with bigot rednecks? and the idea that the band playing Coachella is their Mecca of acceptance and validation. Phfff. As if. if the song was called anything else I wouldn’t have even had a problem with it. it’s called “We Exist” and there is literally no signs of that existence represented. should have been called “They Exist”. lastly, I really genuinely am a fan of the band. The Suburbs is a perfect album.”

We can only assume that this ping-pong game won’t end here, but watch the video below and tell us what you think about the casting.

Against Me! Reveal Drummer Quit Band Through Twitter

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Well, this is a new low for announcing that you are quitting.

During the initial sessions for the recording of their recently released album, Transgender Dysphoria Blues both the band’s drummer, Jay Weinberg and longtime bassist Andrew Seward decided that it was their time to leave the band.

Instead of coming clean with the band and announcing his decision to leave, you know kind of like giving a two weeks notice, Weinberg notified frontwoman Laura Jane Grace through Twitter that he was quitting the band. In an interview with SPIN, Grace reveals Weinberg’s resignation through the social media site and also reveals that she hasn’t spoken to the sticksman since his departure.

Until this day though, there is no official reason as to why Weinberg decided it was his time to leave the band without appropriately announcing it.

Unlike Weinberg, Seward’s situation ended up being a little more complicated, according to Grace. He was in position that he wanted to spend more time with his family, something that is a little more understanding for someone who had been in the band and on tour for a decade.

Snippets from the interview can be seen below:

At the same time, there was a lot happening inside your band. Both Jay and Andrew, who had been with the band for about a decade, left during the sessions. I believe that I read that you ended up recording the album three times, overall. Is that right? 
Well, two times, really. The first time was kind of a false start where we did a bunch of the basics, like drum tracks and stuff like that, and it was good, but we just didn’t really have fun while we were doing it. We did it right before a tour, came back from the tour, and we all agreed, “That wasn’t cool, let’s just scrap that,” and we started again. And then we basically got to the point where everything was finished but the vocals, and so that was when Jay quit, and we were like, “Oh, fuck. Okay, now we have to go and re-record the drums.” Initially, we tried the approach of having Atom record drums to the pre-existing guitar tracks, because so much work had gone into it, which didn’t work. It just sounded off, you know? It didn’t lock in right. So then we recorded with Atom. We started from scratch.

What happened with Jay? I know he was a big fan before he joined, and he always seemed so thrilled to be in the band. When I saw him play with the band, he was always mouthing the lyrics while drumming. 
To be honest, I have no idea. He never said a word. I just woke up one morning and read on Twitter that he was leaving the band.

Really? 
Never talked to him since.

Do you think he was weirded out by your transition or all the…
I have no idea. I have no ability to hypothesize about it. You would really just have to ask him.

And how about with Andrew? What happened there? 
I mean, Andrew, it’s way more complicated. Obviously, having played together for ten years in a band with him, from what we talked about, I think he just got to the point where he wanted to be in a position where he was spending more time with his family, and the way the band was happening and the amount of time being on the road… he has a kid, I have a kid, [guitarist] James [Bowman] has a kid. Being away from that, I just don’t think he was really happy, and it just built to that point, and I totally respect that.