Interpol happened thanks to Daniel Kessler. While attending New York University in 1997, the guitarist approached each member at different times about forming a band. He started jamming with their original drummer, Greg Drudy, who was just learning how to play the instrument and lived in the same dorm. Kessler had a conversation about music with Carlos Dengler while in class and invited him to rehearsal when he found out that Dengler used to play guitar. Kessler handed Dengler a bass during the rehearsal, and, immediately, there was a connection. Kessler had met Paul Banks a few years before at a summer program in Paris, France. When Kessler ran into Banks on a street in New York, he remembered that Banks previously mentioned that he plays guitar, so he asked him to watch a rehearsal. It resulted in Banks ultimately joining the band, too.
The band had a hard time coming up with a name. They went through numerous ideas and even performed concerts without having one before they agreed upon Interpol. The way a friend pronounced Paul Banks' name made him think of the word, and, ultimately, inspired the name. Because the word means the International Criminal Police Organization that coordinates over 100 national police forces, sometimes the group would receive important emails from people thinking that they would be able to help with their odd situations.
When Paul Banks joined the group he was brought in to be a second guitarist, not a singer. When Daniel Kessler, the lead guitarist, and Banks had a conversation about a song they were struggling to finish, it came to a head. Banks recalled to Pitchfork in 2012 why he was so upset: "I had been writing poetry for years, so I sort of had the nature of the words. I felt like no one else could sing my lyrics, so I took a crack at it." When Banks sang the song, Kessler and bassist Carlos Dengler stood in awe. After that, Banks became the permanent lead singer of Interpol.
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