The Walkmen: Pete Bauer on Pussy Cats, Los Angeles. Plus, Win a Walkmen Prize Package

PussycatsLongtime readers of the site may remember my last review of the Walkmen. Recently I got my hands on a copy of their forthcoming album Pussy Cats, a song-for-song cover of a 1974 Harry Nilsson/John Lennon album by the same name. I then got the chance to pose a few questions to the band. Pete Bauer answers them here with aplomb. The Walkmen’s new album drops October 24. Want to check it out free? Look for the giveaway at the end of the article. Happy Friday, denizens. Happy Friday.

You’re from DC, but you live in New York. Which city do you consider your hometown? Who’s got the better Natural History Museum?

I definitely feel more like New York is my home now as I’ve lived here 10 years or so and my life is here, but I think I may still relate more to folks from DC. Maybe I’m just not that great at making new friends. I think the NY Natural History has a little something on DC’s. I was just there two weeks ago and really enjoyed the Bio-Diversity room.

Nilsson’s album Pussy Cats was recorded during the infamous ’lost weekend’ period, wherein Nilsson and Lennon were boozed out of their gourds, running amok in LA and getting thrown out of places like the Troubadour. Did any of the Walkmen make it out to LA to prep for these sessions in similar fashion?

Actually I was living out there for a few months prior to making our last record. I met my wife there.

The original album cover for Pussy Cats includes a hidden “easter egg” spelling of the word ’Drugs.’ Your cover for Pussy Cats seems to indicate you have a penchant for cheese and fruit with wine while playing Indian poker in plushie costumes. Is this the case? Is somebody in the Walkmen camp into plushies? Are there any latent “easter eggs” in this cover we should be aware of?

Actually, there are quite a few but I don’t think I should say what’s what. Pretty much everything in the picture is saying something. We actually had “Drugs” spelled out in bananas but then I think Walter got hungry and ate a banana while we were taking the picture.

The same year he recorded Pussy Cats with John Lennon, Nilsson released a bizarre album titled Son of Dracula with Ringo Starr. Was the Son of Dracula album ever a consideration for this project?


Being The Walkmen, you obviously know the power of a good balls-rocking song. Why do you suppose Harry Nilsson didn’t record more songs similar to the vein of Jump in the Fire? That song made the climax of Goodfellas, for chrissakes.

I think he was the kind of man who liked variety.

Have you spent any time eating tacos in Los Angeles? If so, what are some of your favorite locations? Favorite tacos?

I like a lot of tacos in LA. I like the pequito mas chain a whole lot. I like Henry’s Tacos in the valley and this other one on Silverlake blvd as well but my favorite mexican food in LA is Casa Vega (also in the valley) which is a very dark, sit down style restaurant with a great bar.

(Note Self: Convince Pete Bauer to review Casa Vega for site)
You once played on The O.C. The question must be asked: Can you fucking believe Marissa died!?

I can’t fucking believe it. I didn’t even know it.

Can you give us any updates on the John’s Journey book project?

It’s sort of a problem right now. We may be hiring ghost writers.

The van’s fusebox PDF link on your website. It’s broken. Would it be possible for you to provide the curious with a schema?

You know we meant to scan it but just forgot about it. We actually do have it though.

Does seat four (in van) remain problematic, or have you since upgraded to a bus?

No. We downgraded, ditched the U-Haul trailer, added a 2nd upright piano and may be adding a permanent horn section. So, next year it could be 2 benches, 9 dudes, 2 pianos and all the other equipment in our ford van. Also, our sound man was just driving it and he kicked a bag of Wendy’s in the back seat and a horde of flies came out and swarmed him.

How often does Hamilton lose his voice? Please describe his post-gig throat therapy, if you would. We’ve got a running bet.

He loses it after about five shows when we aren’t playing often and then never loses it after that. He does not do anything about it.

Sunset Junction, 2005: What happened at the street fair?

We just sucked. It was the first time I played organ and Walt played bass and it was a disaster. It was also the first and only time my father in law came to see us play.

In light of recent technology advancements, would you ever consider changing your name to The iPods if Steve Jobs came to you with the right offer?

No. Although I feel we all regret our present name every day. (For reasons like the above question)

What’s it like convincing a group of people to gargle BBQ sauce for a recording? Is there a certain brand you prefer?

Dinosaur BBQ for the home (available at Fairway). It’s the greatest restaurant in America. And to answer the other part of your question, it’s not that hard convincing the type of people who agreed to do it. They were selected for that very reason.

Any final words for the Angelenos reading this?

I would live out there but I’m sure your city is going to crack and fall into the ocean the second I rent an apartment.

Thanks! The album’s fantastic.


And Now For The Free Shit…..
Send an e-mail with your name and mailing address to win:Update: We have drawn a winning name from the magic hat. Thank you for playing Walkmen Roulette.

  • The original Harry Nilsson Pussy Cats CD
  • The Walkmen’s Pussy Cats CD
  • The Walkmen’s last album A Hundred Miles Off
  • A limited edition numbered Pussy Cats silkscreen

This will have to be mailed. If you forget to include your mailing address, you are fucking disqualified. Contest closes at noon, Sunday (10/22). Good luck!