Music News

Interpol's Metallica-esque Meltdown and Rebirth

It's a cliché, but there's a reason people say that being in a band is a lot like being in a relationship. In fact, a lot of times, being bandmates can be even more straining than being husband or wife. At least when you're married to someone, you (probably) have the luxury of spending some time apart from each other. People in bands aren't always so lucky.

Being in a band causes such tension that even the most patient people have difficulty dealing and, in many cases, someone leaves the band on bad terms. Maybe you saw what happened in the case of Phoenix's own Jason Newsted, in the Metallica documentary Some Kind of Monster?

Oddly, considering their extra un-Metallica-ness, New York gloom-rockers Interpol find themselves in a pretty similar situation at the moment.

Shortly before Interpol released its latest self-titled album, the band posted a statement on its website stating that bassist Carlos D would be leaving Interpol to pursue other opportunities. A lot was made of Carlos' sudden departure (and one could argue that too much was made), but it's easy to see what all the fuss was about. Though singer Paul Banks and guitarist Daniel Kessler make up such a big part of Interpol's sound, Carlos D always stood out more than any of the remaining members.

As is usually the case in a bad breakup, Carlos D's leaving the group left some hurt feelings and bruised egos.

"He wasn't happy, from after Antics onward, and that was a hard thing to deal with," says Interpol drummer Sam Fogarino. "We kind of pushed through. We made Our Love to Admire and we made [Interpol], and I'm never going to go out and outwardly shit-talk the guy, but I'm glad he left, because it's hard to make music with someone who's not happy making music with you. When it becomes a burden, when something you are utterly impassioned by becomes a burden to someone else, it's kind of hard not to take it personal."

If there's anything to be learned from watching bad romantic comedies, it's that after a bad breakup, you can spend only so many days holed up in your bedroom eating Ben & Jerry's and listening to your iTunes breakup mix before you start to pick up the pieces again. And from the looks of things, Interpol didn't miss a beat — pun intended.

The group ditched its former record label, Capitol, in favor of a return to its indie roots with Matador. Also, the group recruited former Slint-er David Pajo on bass and The Secret Machine's Brandon Curtis to play keyboards. It's unclear whether Pajo and Curtis will remain on as permanent members but you could do worse when putting together Interpol v2.0, Fogarino says.

"It's like starting over, but not from the very beginning — from where you kind of have to put the training wheels on and become a band again," he says. "With Brandon and David, they really helped us not miss a single step. I mean, they came and they didn't bring the band a few steps back to have to gain that momentum again. They really helped us pick up from where we left off. They're two guys that we fiercely respect for different reasons and to have them on stage with us is just great."

As any sympathetic mother will tell you, time heals all wounds. But from the sound of things, Interpol has already put the whole Carlos D situation in their rear view. Says Fogarino: "Onward and upward, as they say."

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Escoto