Hamilton Leithauser, lead singer of The Walkmen, isn't buying into any of the buzz. To him, the New York rock revival is nothing more than a press creation.

"I don't buy any of that shit," he explains.

Leithauser and bassist Peter Bauer left The Recoys in order to join The Walkmen, a group founded by three former members of Jonathan Fire*Eater -- Walter Martin, Paul Maroon and Matt Barrick.

Fire*Eater was a critical success, and one of many "next big things" to never actually make it in the mainstream. Despite Fire*Eater's bad brush with buzz, The Walkmen forged ahead with their work.

"We didn't know what would happen," Leithauser said.

The Walkmen were a hit with critics after releasing their debut album, Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone. The band was subject to even more buzz after "We've Been Had" -- track eight on their debut -- became the backing music to a Saturn car commercial. Leithauser isn't sure how much the commercial has aided the band's rise to indie rock stardom.

"I think that we had a little bit of hyped sales when they were airing the commercial," Leithauser explains. "I don't know what it added. There are people who told me they discovered us because of the commercial ... I don't think it makes that much of a difference."

While Leithauser is uncertain about the commercial's impact, he is fairly certain about what the band would do if offered another commercial opportunity.

"We probably would not [do it]," he said. "Well, I don't know, depends on how much money there was with it."

After all, the band's decision to let Saturn use "We've Been Had" was based solely on finances.

"We just needed the money," Leithauser said. "It was pretty simple."

Saturn prepared the commercial before they even contacted the band. After showing them the commercial, they made an offer for the rights to the song.

"It was completely out of the blue," Leithauser noted. "That was the first thing I heard about it, then it was on TV the next day."

Despite the commercial's success, Hamilton and the band downplay its significance now that they are out touring in support of their second full-length, Bows and Arrows.

"It's not something we're necessarily proud of having done," he said. "It just doesn't seem like that big of a deal."

Afterwards, the band worked on Bows and Arrows for about a year. They visited different studios with an engineer before returning to their own studio to fine-tune the album. They are now touring in support of the record, even though Leithauser and the group find the road to be less than hospitable.

"It's all pretty bad," he said. "We try to never go out for more than two weeks, three weeks at a time ... What I'd like to be doing is going on to the next record. That's what everybody would like to do."

Catch The Walkmen with The National and Short Stack at the Khyber on Sat, Feb. 28th. 56 S. 2nd Street. $10. 9 p.m. 21+ More information at www.thewalkmen.com.


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