Interpol singer’s solo work lets him explore humorous side


Paul Banks wants to let you in on something: That tennis photo is a joke.

“There’s probably a lot of people that see this photo of me looking angry, playing tennis, and they think that I’m serious, or that it’s actually me doing a shot where I think I look cool,” says the Interpol singer, who is touring to promote his second album away from his band. “But I’m kind of a disciple of Andy Kaufman; I kind of like jokes that people don’t get.

“That one-in-10 people gets the fact that something is wrapped up in humor, it’s that much funnier to that person and that’s the person that’s on my wavelength,” he says.

Banks’ humor has historically gotten lost in the mix of a band whose music has thrived off a sense of cryptic disconnect and whose image has most often been projected with a cinematic sophistication. But he says when he is working with Interpol guitarist Daniel Kessler, there’s a different vibe than with his solo material.

“If Daniel presents this incredibly elegant piece of music that evokes certain sentiments and ideas in me, the thing I’m going to gravitate toward is not thinking some sportscaster is hot,” he says, “whereas when I’m working on my own things I can just be carried by any idea that comes to mind.”

Indeed. On his first non-Interpol album, 2009′s “Julian Plenti is … Skyscraper, ” Banks did record a song called “Girl on the Sporting News.” This latest album, simply entitled “Banks,” features  a few tracks that have similarly silly premises, but are presented in ways that casual listeners might take seriously. One track in particular sounds like an upbeat pop song, were it not for him singing, almost mechanically, “I’ll Sue You.”

“You might see that as somehow literal,” he says. “But that’s a song where I’m exploring the mindset of someone that I’m totally not. … That’s very much like that thing that actors say about how playing the villain is fun.”

Interpreting Interpol?

While Banks is quick to confirm that Interpol is very much still a band, he is also quick to quell expectations that you might hear any Interpol songs during his set. “That’s so far from being a possibility,” he says. “That’d be really weird, man. Those aren’t my songs. I’m [only] 25 percent creator and owner of those songs.”


After Eric Garner death, religious leaders meet to…

Interfaith leaders convened with city officials to discuss what the community can do to help dial down heightened tensions after Eric Garner's death.


'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.


At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…


Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.


Review: Sadly, Matthew Weiner's 'Are You Here' is…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner tries his hand at movies with "Are You Here," a misjudged Owen Wilson-Zach Galifianakis comedy that turns into a drama.


Review: 'Love is Strange' is not only a…

John Lithgow and Alfred Molina tie the knot in "Love is Strange," but the film winds up being more about living with people than an activist picture.


Frank Miller on writing 'Sin City'

Frank Miller's comics career is a long and storied one, with "Sin City" being one of his most individual creations. Here, in his own words,…


Interview: Jessica Alba is a stripper again in…

Jessica Alba has gotten used to vague phone calls from director Robert Rodriguez, the Austin-based auteur who has made a habit of putting Alba into…


2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)


2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)


Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.


2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)


Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…


Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…


Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…


Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…