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David Byrne Mulls the Meaning of Santa in New Song, ‘Fat Man’s Comin”

Track is available exclusively through Bandcamp until Dec. 31
David Byrne
Jamie McCarthy / Staff

David Byrne mulls the true meaning of Santa Claus in his new song, “Fat Man’s Comin’,” which is out today (Dec. 2) exclusively on Bandcamp as a pay-what-you-wish download through Dec. 31. All proceeds will benefit Byrne’s non-profit online news magazine Reasons To Be Cheerful.

Byrne tells SPIN he has “no idea” what inspired him to write the song back in 2013, but that once he started working on it, he simply told the story literally: “a large man wearing big leather boots and an oversized leather belt and a lot of fur around the collar and stuff like that. These are rather interesting sartorial choices. We never see this guy. He comes in from the frozen wastes at night and does his thing. And I thought, that is so bizarre. We just accept it as this charming thing and children sit on his lap without looking at what’s really going on.”

As Byrne details “a roly poly man in the dark creeping into your home” and leaving “packages unattended,” he’s accompanied by strings, woodwinds, brass arranged by Jherek Bischoff, as well as percussion from longtime collaborator Mauro Refosco. Also out today is a video for “Fat Man’s Comin’,” featuring storyboard concepts Byrne drew by hand a decade ago.


In other Byrne news, the artist’s immersive theater experience co-created with Mala Gaonkar, Theater of the Mind, has been extended through Jan. 22 at Denver’s York Street Yards.