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."