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Intelligencer: September 26 - October 3, 2005


Boarding School of Rock
The Arcade Fire’s Exeter detractors.
Indie-rock sensation the Arcade Fire wowed Radio City Music Hall when the group performed with David Bowie at Fashion Rocks, appeared on Letterman, and ruled the CMJ Music Marathon with another triumphant, Bowie-bedecked set—all in the past month. It’s a long way from the Grill, Phillips Exeter Academy’s on-campus snack bar, where front man Win Butler (class of ’98) honed his skills to the general indifference of his fellow boarding-schoolers. “Somebody was always buying a Diet Coke or getting Doritos for an all-nighter while we’d be trying to perform,” recalls classmate Brittany Butler (no relation). These days, Exonians remain apathetic to Butler’s musical stylings. “What is ‘indie rock’ really, anyway? I’ve never heard of Arcade Fire,” says Steve Wolfe, a New York investment banker who lived in Abbot Hall with Win. (He remembers that the budding hipster’s concession to Exeter’s dress code was a duct-tape tie.) Butler’s sophomore roommate Sam Bradford now owns a software company in Syracuse. Says Bradford, “I don’t remember much about Win playing the guitar except that I wanted him to stop.”
—Rachel Dry

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