New Pornographers mastermind Carl Newman is not the sort of person that bears a grudge.
In response to the Utah resident who recently let her local paper know how appalled she was that a band named “The New Pornographers” would be coming to her city, he can only say, “Yeah, that’s good press.”
Newman and crew have spent years siding with the popular belief that The New Pornographers name originated in a quote from televangelist Jimmy Swaggart, who said rock ‘n’ roll was the “new pornography,” but it turns out the Swaggart reference is just a convenient cover story. The moniker doesn’t have much to do with explicit materials, either.
“That came after the fact,” says Newman. “Somebody told me that and I thought it was so good that I was going to make it my new story.
“The truth of it is, I’ve always liked the Japanese movie The Pornographers… It’s a mid-’60s movie. I was so fascinated by the word pornographer — it just seemed like a weird word to me. It seemed like such a clinical word to describe what it is.
“[Also], Dan [Bejar], at around the same time, had a song called ‘The Pornographers,’ that was on the first Destroyer record.
“I also always loved the name The New Seekers. I always thought it was a ridiculous name. There were the original Seekers and then a few years later, a completely different band showed up and they called themselves The New Seekers. I really liked the ‘New.’
“Somehow, in my head one night, it just became The New Pornographers. Before we’d written any songs — before we were a band — I thought, ‘We’re going to be a band and we’re going to be called The New Pornographers.’
“So, the name came first, probably in 1996. It was quite a while before we ever got around to rehearsing. Then I assembled the band Wizard Of Oz-style.”