The Wig with The Walkmen's Hamilton Leithauser
Shortly after they were added to the amazing line-up that was to be Lollapalooza 2004, The Wig sent up and coming rock band The Walkmen a few questions.  Here is what witty frontman Hamilton Leithauser had to say.

TW: You have all known each other for a long time.  Is it important to you to be doing this with who you are?
HL: Yeah.  I have friends who are always trying to start bands in New York and can't ever get the right line-up together, so I guess we're lucky that the right guys were available.

TW:  It's easy for people to label you with a specific sound or influence.  Who do you see yourselves drawing from?  Who do you see as your influences?
HL:  I listen to a hell of a lot of stuff.  I've been listening to a lot of early dub reggae recently.  I don't think that we sound like dub reggae, but that's what I've been listening to.  Some of the obvious influences are Bob Dylan, The Stooges, The Modern Lovers, The Velvet Underground, Neil Young, The Stones.

TW:  What is the atmosphere at a Walkmen's show, from your perspective?
HL:  Well the other night at this club there was this really amateur smoke machine that would go off in between songs so that everyone in the club could hear the hiss.  It created a very "budget" vibe.  Besides that, we are very loud.

TW:  How does that vary from a show that you open for another band?
HL:  Usually when we open it's for a bigger band with better smoke machines and psychadelic lights.

TW:  What made you decide to release "The Rat" as a single?
HL: It just sounded like a single.  It just seemed like the obvious choice.  It's the only song I can imagine ever being played on the radio.

TW: Are there certain bands/artists that you have really enjoyed touring with?
HL:  We like touring with friends... it makes the whole thing more bearable. The French Kicks are fun. Mazarin from Philadelphia is fun. Idlewild in England was fun. We got along well with Hot Hot Heat.

TW:  You recently opened on three nights of The Strokes' Megadonis Tour.  What was that like?
HL:  It was fun.  They play huge joints.  I thought we played well two out of three nights.

TW:  Why did you decide to do the shows?
HL:  We just collectively like them and it just sounded like it could be fun to play with them... so we did.

:  What kind of response did you get from their fans?
HL:  I was surprised at how many people at the shows knew our songs.  I thought we'd have an icy silence.

TW: You're going to be playing on the Lollapalooza tour this summer.  What does it mean to be touring with legendary people like Morrissey on a legendary tour like Lollapalooza?
HL:  It means two solid months packed onto a bus.  I'm looking forward to seeing all the other bands though.

TW:  Why did you sign onto the tour?
HL:  I don't know... we've never done anything like it before so I guess we thought it could be fun.  I've never been to Lollapalooza before but some of the others in the band have and said it was a blast.

TW:  Are there any bands you're anxious to play with on the tour?
HL:  I'm excited to see what Morrissey is like now.  And I hear The Pixies are doing some shows which will be cool.  I just want to meet Perry Farrell.

TW: Lollapalooza is known for its onstage collaborations.  Who on the tour would you love to join you onstage mid-set?
HL:  Perry Farrell.  He can play whatever the hell he wants.

TW: What kind of success do you envision? What would be ideal?
HL:  I'd like to model our career after 2 Live Crew.

TW:  Who would you love to tour with on a "dream tour"?
HL: 2 Live Crew, Dave Letterman, Leonard Cohen, The Rolling Stones of 1973, "Raw Power"-era Stooges, Dexter Manley, Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, and The Walkmen.

Though The Walkmen will not be seen on the recently de-buncted Lollapalooza tour this summer, they are still looking to tour and will be adding July/August dates to their website soon.
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May 2004
interview by Ashley Graham