Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz is a fan of Funk, and it was a P-Funk show in New York City that inspired this track. When he heard the crowd imploring the band to "Burn Down The House" (this is before "The Roof Is on Fire
"), he got the idea for the title. As he explained in a 1984 interview with National Public Radio
(NPR), he and Talking Heads bassist Tina Weymouth, who is also his wife, created the original track in a jam, then took it to the band where they refined the groove. To form the lyrics, they picked words that fit the rhythms, which is why the words don't make a lot of sense. This is common practice in the world of Funk, where you don't want the lyric to get in the way of the groove on a feel good song.