The Walkmen

The Walkmen’s upcoming concerts in D.C. (tomorrow) and Philly (Wednesday) will be the band’s last for a long time. In an interview with The Washington Post, bassist/organist Peter Bauer says the group has no plans to continue as the Walkmen and will be going on a “pretty extreme hiatus.” However, they are not officially breaking up. Here’s Bauer:

I don’t think any of us wanted to write another Walkmen record. Maybe that will change down the line, maybe it won’t, maybe we’ll play shows. I think it’s weird to make a hubbub about something if there’s nothing to really make a hubbub about. At the same time, I don’t think we’ve been a gang properly for a long time, so there’s not much to break up, I guess.

It’s been almost 14 years now. I think that’s enough, you know?

Bauer, Walter Martin, and Hamilton Leithauser are all working on solo albums. Check out our list of the 10 best Walkmen songs here.

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Comments (31)
  1. aaand my weekend is ruined.

  2. Can’t help but wonder if this was the result of a Thanksgiving dinner gone horribly wrong…

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  4. So that’s why they call this Black Friday. This really sucks. I’d be willing to live without more albums, because recording is a bit of a chore I’m sure, but I’m really, really gonna miss their live shows.

    • They are just great and I think every single one of their albums has a lot of value (I haven’t heard the Nilsson one). This is a bummer, but if they are all working on music, good for them.

  5. We got a bunch of great albums from these dudes, and given how much Heaven was basically a testament to being a parent and enjoying time with your spawn, this news actually makes me happy. Go enjoy cups of coffee and the newspaper with your spouses, ‘Men. You earned it.

  6. One of my favorite concerts of all time was at a Walkmen show about 5 years ago. Vampire Weekend was opening for them at the time and they were all supposed to play in this tiny venue in St. Augustine. That was Vampire Weekend’s debut year and so they canceled on the venue so they could play SNL. The venue then reached out to everyone who had a ticket and said they could get a refund–even though the Walkmen, who were headlining, were still going to play as scheduled. I went to the show and there was a grand total of 20 people who came out. I felt awful for the band and wouldn’t have been shocked had they played a few songs and then left, but instead we were treated to an 80 minute set of the Walkmen playing like it was a stadium show for 30,000 people. It was fucking magic.

    The next time the Walkmen came back to that area, they were opening for Fleet Foxes. It was at a much bigger venue, but it was an old theater where everyone had to sit and you could only drink in the designated bar area outside of the show. It’s normal for this venue to have the crowd hover outside getting loaded, while ignoring the other performances and just stumble in for the main act. I braced myself for a scattered and indifferent crowd, but the whole place was packed. The Walkmen played hard and the crowd was transfixed. At the end, they got a standing ovation, which admittedly is a little strange for an opener at rock concert, but it was great to see them treated as they should be.

    I’m sad to see them go (at least indefinitely), but I’m so grateful for their music and the shows that will stick with me for the rest of my life.

  7. i was hoping “extreme hiatus” was going to be the name of LP8 :(

    guess i have plans for tomorrow night now…

  8. I saw the Walkmen open for Kings of Leon back in 08. First and only time the opener has ever completely blown the headliner off the stage in all my years of concert-going. I distinctly remember some bro yelling “play some rawk” halfway through their set, and they burst into one of the most furious versions of “The Rat” I’ve ever heard.

    Wonderful band, and a hiatus that’s well deserved. No one did bored upper class white guy pathos quite like them, and that’s a compliment.

  9. I’ve always wondered what it would feel like when one of my favorite bands broke up. You always hear about these popular bands breaking up, but it’s never been one of my favorites. The Walkmen are my favorite band. I still don’t know what it feels like. The quotation above and the fact that they won’t have new music coming out anytime soon make me sad, but I feel kind of happy for them at the same time.

    You & Me is my favorite album, and I don’t think about it the way I think about other albums I love. There’s something special about it to me–and there’s something special about the Walkmen for me.

    They’ve always seemed kind of weary to me. I mean, just look at the title and the tracks of songs on their debut album. Even though You & Me is my favorite album, Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me is Gone is the one I turn to most nowadays. It has this tired and resentful feeling to it but it’s hungry at the same time. It’s got some fight to it. But then other songs hit me the hardest when I’m just sitting at my desk, too tired to keep my head up. “They’re Winning,” even though it’s only 2 minutes long, is maybe my favorite song of all time. The gradual, patient build-up which turns into an anxious plateau. And then the lyrics: “I’ve stood in line so many times, how could I do it all again?” and ending with “How could they keep it up so long?”

    I don’t know how the Walkmen kept it up so long, but I’m really glad they did.

  10. Too bad, but I’d rather them go out on a high note than release crappy record after crappy record and me gradually not care anymore (looking at you Weezer).

  11. 14 years is a long time. Enough said.

  12. The news of this Extreme hiatus has left me rather “hole hearted.” I’d need “more than words” to convey how I feel.

  13. If I had to spend me entire career playing mid-day sets at festivals and under bright spotlights inside cramped rooms, all while wearing a black suit and tie I would want a hiatus.

  14. awwww, love these guys. its long been a tradition of mine to blast “Don’t Be Long” at full volume to usher in the warm weather

  15. Sounds like this was a long time coming and that the band hadn’t really been a cohesive whole for a long time. I’m basing this just on Bauer’s comment ” I don’t think we’ve been a gang properly for a long time.”

    Sad to them go as I was just now “getting into them”, as it were. Seems their leaving behind a very strong body of work though. I think that’s all any artist can ask for.

  16. I’m a south african who has read this site day in and day out for the past few years and never before felt a need to comment. (Though I enjoy these comments a great deal)

    I’ve only ever been to the US once, on holiday in 2011 and by coincidence found out the walkmen were playing a last minute free concert on the Hoboken pier/promenade which had rescheduled because of the NYC hurricane. It was late October. Maybe 100 people pitched. By this point I had loved the walkmen for almost 10 years and to see them like this- with backing light from the Empire State Building and the NYC skyline that was slightly blurred by a light, descending fog…. it was the kind of experience you couldn’t construct even if you tried to dream it.

    I agree with all the sentiments here – this blows… but if they never made another song, they’d still be one of the great bands of my life.

  17. I only just got into the Walkmen in the past year or so. Maybe it’s because it was my introduction to the band, but Heaven is one of my favorites in their catalog. I saw them a few months ago at the Northside festival in Brooklyn and it was an absolutely amazing time. This news is reasonably devastating to me – I was so looking forward to more albums and seeing more shows.

  18. Peter Bauer is actaully guitarist/organist. Walter Martin is the bassist.

  19. What do The Walkmen and my sex life have in common?

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