The weather outside will soon be frightful, and Canada’s Fucked Up is getting ready to make music to match. The Polaris Prize winners are using their prize money to record an all-star rendition of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” a remix of the 1980s charity song by Band Aid.
So far, Fucked Up have accumulated an all-star lineup of musicians, if a little peculiar.
“David Cross, members of Vampire Weekend, TV on the Radio, Broken Social Scene, the GZA, Bob Mould, No Age, and Yo La Tengo are all confirmed,” frontman Damien Abrahama a.k.a. Pink Eyes told New York Magazine. “I’m still waiting on confirmation from Feist, Jarvis Cocker, and M.I.A. We wanted the biggest people we could get. If we could get a Jonas Brother on this, I would get a Jonas Brother.”
The song was first recorded in 1984 for famine relief in Ethiopia by Band Aid, a group featuring musicians such as Queen, Paul McCartney, Bono, George Michael, Sting, David Bowie, Bananarama, Culture Club, Duran Duran, Kool & the Gang, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Spandau Ballet, and Status Quo among others. Written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure (Ultravox), media attention took off and the song became the biggest selling single in UK singles chart history.
Needless to say, Geldof decided to remake the song in 1989, featuring Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan and Banarama under the name Band Aid II. In 2004, Band Aid 20 appeared, starring Coldplay (who proposed the idea), Bono (again) and Dizzee Rascall rapping an interlude.
The latest version will benefit organizations including Justice for the Missing, that is affiliated with missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada.
This isn’t Fucked Up’s first brush with Christmas cheer – in 2007, they appeared on the the B-side of Stars on 45, collaborating alongside Nelly Furtado, LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, Jay Reatard and members of the Black Lips, the Faint and Chromeo. The proceeds of the 1,000 hard copies available went to George Herman House, a transitional housing program in Toronto supporting women with mental health issues.
“I liked the idea of somewhat marginalized indie rockers coming together for a marginalized cause,” Abraham told New York Magazine. “There’s a kind of cavalier colonialism to the original, like the West has to go in and help this poor Third World country. But the charities that we’re trying to help are exactly a product of this colonial history. People who have been subjugated and oppressed for so many years are going missing. So there’s an irony to using the song.”
The music itself will be gift enough, but the fact that I won’t have to listen to Mariah Carey and Michael Buble this holiday season is some sort of Christmas miracle.