Friday 19 January 2018

Q&A: The Walkmen's

Ed Power

Ed Power

On Shane MacGowan, the OC and Vampire Weekend

Did you really play a St Patrick's Day concert in Time's Square with The Pogues a few years back? Cheesy!

Yeah, we did. We couldn't believe we were asked to do that. I had just heard The Pogues were performing. I was fully prepared to shell out, like, 250 bucks for a ticket. Suddenly we were asked to be on the same bill as them. It was incredible.

Furnish us with an outrageous backstage anecdote involving The Walkmen and Shane MacGowan...

We didn't meet him that night, but then we bumped into him at something in Spain. We ended up having drinks with him for, like, six hours. It was a blast. Very surreal.

Six hours in a bar with Shane MacGowan? We'd hate to have been your liver the next morning.

I think he was taking it kind of steady that night. We all got absolutely blasted.

That must have been around the time you played on The OC. We note the exposure didn't turn you into overnight stars.

All it did was work against us. We were on this long tour. It was Pittsburgh and it was snowing heavily. They said they'd fly us to LA and pay for everything. I mean, they paid us a LOT of money, to be honest. Ultimately, all it does is make people think you're cheesier. Nobody has ever come up and said to us, "oh man, I saw you on The OC, you were great."

Vampire Weekend were opening for you when they blew up big time in the US. What's it like being usurped by your younger, better-attired support band?

It was funny. One of them, Ezra, used to work at our studio. He was the intern there when he was at college. Anyway, we booked these shows with them. They played Saturday Night Live and then, on Sunday, came down and opened for us in this absolute dump in Atlanta. It was a strange, strange scene. It was probably a 50/50 crowd in terms of fans of the two bands. They were the most exciting opening band we've ever had.

Although none of you look like you've ever worn a ripped leather jacket in your lives, there was a period in the very early Noughties when, because you were based in New York, the media was eager to paint you as the new Strokes. Flattering or a just a bit irritating?

We put a record out and we were doing alright. People wanted to talk to you. Then they'd write about you and it would be a joint article about you and, say, the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs. So you always sort of got lumped in with everybody. I didn't really mind. It was fun.

The album Lisbon is out now. The Walkmen play Tripod, Dublin November 15

Irish Independent

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