DiscoverThe Art of LongevityThe Art of Longevity Season 7, Episode 7: The Walkmen
The Art of Longevity Season 7, Episode 7: The Walkmen

The Art of Longevity Season 7, Episode 7: The Walkmen

Update: 2023-07-21


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Following the highly accomplished 2012 album Heaven, cult American indie band The Walkmen went on hiatus. But now they have reformed. In a recent interview with the band’s frontman Hamilton Leithauser, Vulture magazine referred to the now infamously long career break as “a particularly noticeable void”

I would go a lot further than that. I (and a million other fans) grieved the loss of The Walkmen, because in the indie landscape they offered something unique. The ramshackle but classic rock sound (could any band sound more analogue?). The authenticity of those songs. Hamilton Leithauser’s signature voice. Most bands have a manifesto to stand out from the rest, but The Walkmen didn’t need to say it - they were truly el differente

Hamilton didn’t know if anyone would remember or care much but he turned out to be wrong about that of course. The Walkmen’s legend has matured nicely in the intervening 10 years that they have been away. 

But the interesting thing is that culturally, the band never really went away. Their songs and fandom lived on through the extended break - even grew in their absence. This is perhaps the true miracle of music in the streaming era. Hamilton and the others were surprised and delighted to return to playing shows to loyal audiences both old and new, the younger fans among them singing every word of those old songs. 

In the modern music biz, when the talk is of “always-on” creation, 24/7 content and acute FOMO, maybe the most valuable move a band can make is to not succumb to any of that, but to instead have the nerve and the confidence to do what’s necessary - even if that is nothing. Hamilton puts the stresses of modern day bands into perspective though:

“It’s exhausting physically and mentally - in the long run. After you’ve done a bunch of records you think “do I really wanna do another rock & roll record, no I don’t think I do”, then it becomes about what you really want to do next”. 

With six albums and some older EPs to perform, there is no need - not yet - for any meaningful discussion about new material by The Walkmen. But it is reassuring and exciting to know that Hamilton and bandmates haven’t ruled it out. For now we can be happy enough that a particularly noticeable void has been filled. 

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The Art of Longevity Season 7, Episode 7: The Walkmen

The Art of Longevity Season 7, Episode 7: The Walkmen

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