West Ryder Silver Bullet

Album: West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum (2009)

Songfacts®:

  • Guitarist Serge Pizzorno described this song in Q magazine August 2008 as a "mad road-movie theme." He added to Uncut magazine August 2009 that he sees the whole album as a road movie: "Kinda like Two-Lane Blacktop or Fear And Loathing… or Easy Rider. It's a deserts and shenanigans film. Young kids on a mission to nowhere, robbing banks and smashing things up on the way."
  • On this track, Hollywood actress Rosario Dawson trades vocals with vocalist Tom Meighan. After the Sin City actress had attended one of their shows, the band asked her, though a mutual friend, if she'd like to be involved. Guitarist Sergio Pizzorno recalled to the New Musical Express January 17, 2009: "At that point I didn't even know if she could sing, but just the thought of New York and us, no-one had ever the placed the two together. The obvious thing would be to get an English girl and have that English rose kind of vibe." Her added: "I thought that's interesting, but she's the prostitute from Sin City! So she said yes and I flew out to the US, s--tting myself in a studio, thinking, 'She could the worst singer out there,' but she came in and did it in two takes. Amazing! She sounded incredible. She later told me that she went to Quentin Tarantino's birthday and played it to him and he loved it."
  • Pizzorno told Mojo magazine June 2009 that he when he wrote this song, "I thought it would be great to have this Natural Born Killers thing going on." He added: "It would have been too obvious having a posh bird singing it, so I thought of Rosario."
  • This was the (sort of) title track of English alternative rock band Kasabian's third srudio album. The set was inspired by a real Victorian bedlam near Wakefield. West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum, which was founded in 1818. It was the UK's first mental institution for the poor. Pizzorno told Q magazine June 2009 that he first heard about it in a half-dazed stupor "slumped in front of the telly." Pizzorno added to Mojo: "It was on some mad documentary. The name reminded me of a '60s concept album. I got thinking about this place where each song was a member of this madhouse-just me getting too stoned and over-thinking things."
  • Pizzorno explained to The Sun May 22, 2009: "The (album) name gave me the freedom to approach it however I wanted. If you're going into the realms of madness and escapism, then you can put songs like 'Thick As Thieves' and 'Vlad The Impaler' - which are nothing like each other - on the same record. And I've always been fascinated by madness, people losing their minds like Syd Barrett, Peter Green, and in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. And I'm there you know. Compared to what's 'normal' I probably am a loony. That's why we are dressed up on the album cover - we're ready to go to the Ball, the Christmas Ball at the asylum."
  • At the beginning of this song, it samples the 1983 "essay film" Sans Soleil by the French director Chris Marker.
  • The West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum was previously name-checked by the Leeds-based band Kaiser Chiefs, on their 2007 track "Highroyds."

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