We in the CJR newsroom were discussing the new NewsCorp aggregation site—somewhere between the Drudge Report and Google News—that is absurdly named Knewz. One of us attempted to load the site, which is knewz.com, but instead went to theknewz.com, which is the site of a polka band called The Knewz. So we thought we’d ask them about their namesake. Bandleader Tom Picciano answered our questions; our conversation has been edited for clarity.
So can you tell me a little bit about the Knewz, the band?
Well, we’re a polka band from Buffalo, New York. There are six of us. We recorded one CD back in the early 1990s. And shortly after that, the band broke up. Then in the early 2000s, the idea comes to us that maybe we can restart the band up again. So in 2005, we started playing again with most of the original members. And then, you know, we’ve been playing ever since.
How would you describe your band’s sound?
I would describe it as lively, interactive—certainly not polka music in the traditional sense.
What is polka music, in the traditional sense?
So I would say traditional polka music is more of your tuba bass… I guess the best way for me to describe it is “oompa, oompa” music.
So, have you heard of this website K-N-E-W-Z? They share the same name as your band.
Has anybody reached out to you about the domain name of your website, or the similarity?
Well, if you’re familiar with Google News or Apple News, it’s sort of like that: pulling different news sources together in one place. So what do you think of that huge news aggregation service that has your band name?
I don’t know…like I said, I do this for fun, and I guess I really don’t have thoughts on it.
What are you going to do if you get sudden increased traffic to your website?
Yeah, we’ll deal with that when it comes. I’m not too worried about it. Like I said, I cap my performances to once a month.
And how do you feel about the news?
You mean, like, the other website?
No, sorry, I mean the news. The N-E-W-S.
Well, pretty indifferent actually. As far as journalism goes, I read articles I find online. I watch the local news in the evening.
Do you feel you have a better relationships to local news than national news?
Mmmm, nope. I wouldn’t say so.
Oh, I almost forgot my most important question. How did your band get its name?
There is a local newspaper here in Buffalo. And so we started off being the Buffalo Knewz, but we just wanted to change the spelling of the word “news” to avoid any issues.
What made you choose to name yourselves after a newspaper?
I don’t know. It’s our local paper.
And as you were tossing around band names, you were like, Why not call ourselves this?