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15 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About the New Pornographers

Frazer Harrison, Getty Images

The New Pornographers’ sixth album, ‘Brill Bruisers,’ comes out next month, and to celebrate the Canadian collective and its exceptional catalog, we’ve unearthed some things about the power-pop supergroup and its rotating lineup that you may not have known.


Contrary to popular belief, their name doesn’t originate from televangelist Jimmy Swaggart’s declaration that rock ‘n’ roll is the “the new pornography.” It’s actually lifted from the 1966 Japanese film ‘The Pornographers.’





The New Pornographers aren’t Dan Bejar’s only supergroup. The Destroyer frontman is also in the band Swan Lake with Wolf Parade’s Spencer Krugman and Frog Eyes’ Carey Mercer.





Bejar shares his name with a New York-based artist who grew out his hair and beard and then impersonated the musician in a series called ‘Googleganger’.





Member Kathryn Calder is leader A.C. Newman’s niece. Her mother was adopted, and Newman is a member of her birth family.





The band’s 2010 album, ‘Together,’ is dedicated to Calder’s mother, who passed away the previous year.





Neko Case’s first two solo albums were released before she joined the New Pornographers and are actually co-credited to her backing group, Her Boyfriends.





Case, who was born in Virginia, left home at age 15, and within a couple years was the drummer for a couple of punk bands.





When Case relocated to Seattle, one of the first people she met and befriended was Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic.





During a 2001 performance at a party affiliated with the famous Grand Ole Opry, Case, who was performing near a steaming BBQ pit, repeatedly asked for water and a break. She was denied, so she took off her shirt. She was immediately banned from the Opry for life.





She called her next album ‘Blacklisted’ in response to the incident.





Case witnessed a shooting death in Chicago. Her song ‘Star Witness’ is all about it.





Guitarist John Collins, who also fronts the Canadian band the Evaporators, produced two early albums by Tegan and Sara, before anybody was really paying attention to them.





Blaine Thurler, who plays synths for the band, is also the group’s most prolific filmmaker, having shot videos for many of their songs, including ‘Use It,’ ‘All for Swinging You Around’ and ‘The Laws Have Changed.’





Thurler has also directed several feature-length films, including the critically acclaimed 2000 debut ‘Low Self-Esteem Girl,’ which scored a nomination at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival.





The song ‘Breakin’ the Law’ from their debut album originally appeared on a Destroyers LP. The group vocals at the end of the song are credited to the Camp Northstar Kids’ Chorus, a reference to the 1979 Canadian comedy ‘Meatballs’ starring Bill Murray.




Next: 18 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Courtney Love

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