Ahead of their first live performances since 2014, beloved New York rock outfit the Walkmen visited CBS’ The Late Show With Stephen Colbert last night (April 18) to dust off their 2004 classic, “The Rat.”
Beforehand, the band jokingly intimated that fans should keep expectations in check, because since the Walkmen’s earliest days, they’ve “done everything by the seat of our pants. We don’t ‘plan’ much. So during our Zoom ‘planning’ meeting, we decided the best way to play together for the very first time would be on national television without a single rehearsal. I guess there will be a soundcheck but we don’t even know if this equipment works.”
In their first interview about the reunion last November, group members Hamilton Leithauser and Peter Bauer told SPIN that the recent 10th anniversary of the Walkmen’s final album, Heaven, played no role in the timing for the upcoming shows.
“It’s just a coincidence,” Leithauser said. “We started reissuing some of our old records, and that got the conversation started a little bit. Before that, there hadn’t been all that much communication.” Added Bauer, “There was no, ‘OK, this is the reason and the moment we’re doing it.’ It just came together naturally in terms of feeling comfortable and excited to do it.”
Reflecting on why the Walkmen split in 2013, Leithauser said, “I think we were at a point where we’d been doing this together since we were little kids. We’d never not done it together. It’s always in the back of everybody’s minds. Look at all of our contemporaries. They all have their own side bands or solo things. It’s an interesting thing to try, and we had never done it. I wanted to see what it would be like to play all the instruments myself.”
The Walkmen’s first show back together is Sunday (April 22) in Westerly, R.I., and will be followed by a sold-out, five-night run at New York’s Webster Hall from April 24-28. Nearly 30 additional shows are on tap through an Aug. 29-31 stand at London’s KOKO.