In 1997, Carl Newman started forming a very unconventional band. Consisting of some of his favorite musicians within the Vancouver circuit, member by member—then consisting of Newman, along with Neko Case, Destroyer’s Dan Bejar, Kurt Dahle, John Collins, Blaine Thurier, and Fisher Rose—there were The New Pornographers.
Ultimately the band landed their first record deal with Matador after the now-defunct Aquarius Records in San Francisco featured The New Pornographers in their newsletter, praising their 2000 debut Mass Romantic, which would later get a reissue in 2002 under the label.
On Dec. 10, Matador Records will celebrate the 21st anniversary of the band’s debut with a limited-edition LP reissue on red vinyl, which includes the bonus 7”, Letter From An Occupant, featuring two, rare B-sides “The End of Medicine” and “When I Was a Baby.”
In addition to the reissue, The New Pornographers will tour the U.S. and Canada during fall 2021, performing two nights in each city. The first night, the band will play Mass Romantic in its entirety with the second night dedicated to their third album Twin Cinema (2005).
“Everyone wants to be successful but, hand to my heart, I had no delusions of success for The New Pornographers,” says Newman. “To be here over 20 years later, still in the game, is something that I simultaneously take for granted—you just get used to it—and feel eternally grateful for… been here so long that we can do one of those ‘let’s play that old album all the way through’ gigs.”
The band’s lineup for the tour will feature Newman, Joe Seiders, John Collins, Kathryn Calder, Neko Case, Todd Fancey, and Dan Bejar, who left the band and moved to overseas just months after the release of Mass Romantic.
“Bejar is coming and God knows if we’ll get him again,” says Newman. “When he moved to Spain two months after ‘Mass Romantic’ came out, I thought he was done in the band and now 21 years later we’ve convinced him to come along for another ride.”
Newman adds, “Just the nature of our band that it’s a special occasion when all the singers show up. Here’s to you showing up as well.”