Lead singer Caleb Followill explained in a video interview that that this kerosene-crazed track is about a guy who has lost faith in the world in which he lives and he doesn't believe it is as perfect as everyone says. He becomes so disgusted by the world in which he lives that he decides to burn it down:
Everything I cherish Is slowly dying, or it's gone
The song is written from the perspective of Sammy Weaver, who was killed in a 1992 firefight with US marshals at Ruby Ridge, Idaho. Sammy's father, Randy Weaver, had a visceral distrust of the US government and refused to appear in court on weapons charges. After a long standoff, the firefight ensued and Sammy, his mother Vicki, and their dog were killed.
The story made headlines, and years later, Caleb Followill saw a TV program about the incident, which prompted him to write the song. "There was something about when the son had gotten killed that I was thinking, 'What if he had lived?' I started writing from that mentality.
Pyro is the Latin word for fire and the word Pyromania is used to describe an uncontrollable urge to start a blaze (or a Def Leppard album). Even though the song title is not used in the lyrics the song appears to be about someone with pyromaniac tendencies:
Single book of matches Gonna burn what's standing in the way Roaring down the mountain Now they're calling on the fire brigade
Caleb explained to The Music Fix the original inspiration for this song: "I had actually written some verses because I was watching this piece on these radical Christians that live up in the mountains and somehow the FBI got involved and pretty much went and killed them. And so I started writing kind of about that and about a guy that was kind of fed up with it all and he thought that the world that he was living in wasn't the perfect world to him so he kind of goes and burns it down. It's just one of those songs where it's like it starts out with someone thinking they know how it's supposed to be and at the end it's like, 'I can't even be that way.'"
Matthew Followill told The Music Fix about the difficulties of playing the guitar part for this song: "'Pyro' is the most fun and it's the most difficult. It's, uh… God… I remember the first night we played it. I was so nervous and so mad at them for making me play it. It's because I was so anxious to do it, but, thank God, it worked out and I didn't mess up."
Caleb discussed with The Music Fix about getting his vocal right for this song: "I think it's always a song that's like intimate and very much the vocals are up front. That's always the difficult one for me because at times you feel like you're carrying the weight. Like, a song like 'Pyro,' is kind of like… It's kind of a quiet song so the vocal to me needs to be pretty perfect and going back to what we were saying earlier, to me, perfect doesn't mean perfect. It means to have the emotion to really carry the track and to get the audience and the listener to really relate to what's going on."
David from Dundee, United KingdomJohnny boy, how delusional are you pal?? The only reason the Kings are on a world wide level is because they sold their arses out on "Only By The Night" and ever since. Dissapointing as they did create exciting music and put on a great rock n roll show, mainly here in the U.K as the U.S didnt really start paying attention until they simplified their sound for a more mainstream audience. A.M`s on the other are rising and rising without compromise, if anything making their unique sound even more of a challenge to get your head around in some instances. As KoL look likely to self destruct the Monkeys will march on and continue to produce original, exciting and vital rock n roll. 1 day Johnny boy, you will find yourself looking back at your rant and kick yourself, take care brother and "dont sit down coz I`ve moved your chair"!!!
Natalie from Maryborough, AustraliaToo True John
John from Charlotte, NcDude, David, that theory kind of offends me. Are you a KOL fan? The idea that KOL put the word "cornerstone" into a song because they are feuding with a very semi famous indie rock band is extremely far fetched. In fact, the idea is kind of preposterous. Is there any actual evidence of any feud between KOL and AM? Nope. AM is barely famous, and not really advancing at all in fact. KOL is one of the most famous and successful bands on the planet, and with all do respect to AM, they probably aren't even on KOLs radar, or anywhere near the level they would need to reach in order to be competition for KOL. They are probably friends if anything. KOL is very close to The Strokes, The Strokes took AM on tour when they were fledglings and became close with them as well. Plus KOL is not a bunch of petty children and they aren't washed up. They have absolutely nothing to worry about from AM, or any other rock band out there for that matter. They are on a different level.
David from Dundee, United KingdomIt was suggested to me that this song is linked to an on-going beef between KoL and Arctic Monkeys. The chorus would seem to back this theory up " I dont wanna be your Cornerstone". A.M have a song called "Cornerstone", quite a negative thing to sing. " Single book of matches, gonna burn whose standing in the way", KoL might be a bit pis*ed at A.M`s recent advances in the quest for rock monsterdom!!! Justa couple of theories, different angle on a very sinister song, in my opinion!