Interviewis Interruptus

It's hard to imagine how I could have botched my interview with Interpol guitarist Daniel Kessler even more badly than I did. Maybe it could have been worse if the only thing I'd asked was "Why don't you go fuck yourself?"

On second thought, that line of questioning would have been more interesting than the polite and generic responses my polite and generic questions got. But I wouldn't have known anyway, because an awful phone connection ensured half our conversation consisted of "I can't hear you. Can you hear me?" Maybe it's because we started with a three-way call including the band's PR handler, or maybe the rock gods just wanted to prevent another boring, nicety-filled interview.

I can summarize most of what I heard in two sentences. Kessler loves opening act Liars—who put on a hell of a show, and whose recent albums Kessler really admires—and he likes Dallas. He had little to say about the presidential aspirations of Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of Interpol's hometown, except to say that he won't be voting for America's Mayor.

The only time things got interesting is when I riled him up by suggesting that Interpol's set lists had been too similar from night to night on their recent tour.

The band plays the Palladium Ballroom this week, fewer than four months after playing the same venue. For a long stretch during this tour, set lists posted on fan forums were remarkably similar from night to night. For much of the summer, including their 13-song May 31 show in Dallas, they almost invariably opened with "Pioneer to the Falls," "Obstacle 1," "NARC" and "Say Hello to the Angels," closed with "Not Even Jail" and encored with "Stella..." and "PDA." So what will be different at this Dallas show?

"First of all, I don't agree with that," Kessler said. "There are some staples in our set, but..."

And then his voice faded away again. Snippets I could discern included: "—we've always opened with the first song from our new record—" "—there's certain songs that are going to be staples—" and "—we're not like a punk-rock band that—"

The gist of his response was that they wanted to wait until after the July 10 release of Our Love to Admire before they started playing a bunch of new stuff. And to be fair, recent set lists posted on fan sites aren't as rigidly similar as those from early in the summer. They now mix in new faves such as "Mammoth," "Rest My Chemistry" and "No I in Threesome."

But, Kessler says, their fans have come to expect certain songs. The band will play them. Don't like it? Why don't you—

Sorry, the phone cut out again.

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Jesse Hughey
Contact: Jesse Hughey