Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz
and bass player Tina Weymouth, married since 1977, are big fans of funk. When they went to a P-Funk show at Madison Square Garden in New York City, the crowd started chanting, "Burn down the house, burn down the house" (this is before "The Roof Is on Fire
"), which gave Frantz the idea for the title. As he explained in a 1984 interview with National Public Radio
(NPR), he and Weymouth 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.