‘New Girlfriend’

With new music and a new lineup, Interpol is ready for a new introduction to Las Vegas

Sam Fogarino has no juicy Vegas stories to tell.

“The slots are kind of a safe bet … you know, creating monotony while killing it at the same time,” he says with a chuckle. But if the drummer for Interpol has no Tommy Lee-like tales of excess saved up from the band’s previous visits, he can be forgiven: He’s been busy keeping time for one of the most critically acclaimed post-punk bands of the past decade.

Interpol returns to Las Vegas on Oct. 22 in support of its brilliant new self-titled album, and whether Fogarino hits a jackpot or doesn’t, another page of the band’s history will be written—it’s another show without founding member Carlos Dengler. Tortoise/Royal Trux bassist David Pajo has taken Dengler’s place in Interpol’s touring lineup, and Fogarino is ecstatic.

“He managed to meet even our most idealized expectations,” Fogarino says. “I can’t speak highly enough [of Pajo], especially after being in a band with someone who didn’t want to be in a band for quite a long time. You add [keyboardist] Brandon Curtis into the mix, and it’s kind of this brand-new band, with everybody on the same page.”

And it’s made the new material singularly enjoyable to play.

“You make an album to go and play it,” he says. “I’m in love with every new song we’re playing. Every song is the new girlfriend.” (That said, he hasn’t forsaken the old ones: “I never get tired of playing ‘Obstacle 1,’ ‘NARC’ or ‘Mammoth.’”)

Energized by new songs and infused with new lifeblood, Interpol and Fogarino are pushing forward. They are touring this record well into next year, when they’ll rejoin U2 on their U.S. dates. For Fogarino, it all adds up to a true jackpot.

“I was once quoted as saying that I’m going to play until my arms fall off,” he says. “This is what I was born into. Bob Mould is still [playing shows]. Michael Stipe. Johnny Lydon. Pete Townshend is still doing the windmill! That’s who I’ll take my cues from.”

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