NME: Albert Hammond Jr. details his addiction

by Eric Van Dril · 41 comments

Albert has given NME his first one-on-one interview in years, and She’s Fixing has the scans. You can read the two-page article here and here.

There were rumblings of heroin use and rehab during 2010 and 2011, when The Strokes were still interested in doing press as a band. Albert details how bad his addiction became to NME, saying that “around the second (solo) album, I’d say, ‘I was in a dark place dude, I was in a very dark place… I’m just now being able to understand or speak about that time, and it’s been almost four years.”

“It was, like, oxycontin and cocaine at 24, 25, 26,” Albert told NME. “And then I became [addicted to] heroin around then. So from 26, 27 ’til 29…”

He went into further detail, and the specifics of what he was doing to his body will make the stomachs of most Strokes fans turn.

“I used to shoot cocaine, heroin and ketamine. All together. Morning, night, 20 times a day. You know, I was a mess. I look back and don’t even recognize myself. I did my own thing. I mean, you have moments when you’re fine. And if someone meets you, you seem fine. But I remember showing someone music and I was wearing a short shirt and (points to wrists)… there were just purple [track marks] all the way down here. And then they would call someone — ‘Did you see Albert, he looks crazy?’ That’s where I learned to wear long sleeves. I’ve had these tattoos forever and I [still] have people coming up, ‘Oh, you’ve had new tattoos?’ I’m like, ‘No, you just haven’t seen me with a short shirt on.’”

I found that very interesting, as well as how the songs on this new EP just started flowing out of Albert.

“I’d been talking to Julian about wanting to release something on his label Cult Records since he started it,” Albert told NME. “He was like, ‘Let’s put out a song.’ So I went, ‘Alright, I’ll start working with Gus [Oberg] and maybe after we do a few songs there’ll be one that’s fun in there. I sent him the first, ‘Cooker Ship’, and he was floored. I got an email back with a million ‘yes’-es on it! It wasn’t originally going to be an EP, it was going to be one song, then it was going to be two, then it was going to be three. Julian was like, ‘Let’s cap it at three.’ But then I went, ‘Well, I have one more’, and he said, ‘That one’s good, we’ll do four.’ Then again, I was like, ‘… I have one more.’ He goes, ‘We’ve got to stop now… but that was your best one!’”

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

1 heather September 4, 2013 at 10:58 am

The heroin use is just so heartbreaking. That drug has devastated so many lives. I’m so happy that Albert seems to be in a much better place now. He’s looking great these days.

2 H September 4, 2013 at 11:00 am

i always wondered how Julian would be like as his boss. muddle, but keep an arm’s length at all times so it’d be an AHJ record instead of a strokes record? interesting.

3 Kinger September 4, 2013 at 5:35 pm

Hey guys, I believe there was another page with that interview. Since someone already read the actual magazine, I guess Albert did say something about the Strokes…

As for the Strokes, Hammond had less to say: “I hold very dear what we have together as friends. I’m just very careful at how things get said, because I don’t want something to be misunderstood and then become the face of saying that stuff.”

About why the Strokes haven’t been doing any interviews surrounding Comedown Machine, he said, “We just made a decision to keep a [lid on it]. We thought it’d be cool to keep a quietness to it, to see what a record would do [if you could only] listen to it.” He added, “Look, I feel like [the press] get everything wrong.”

I don’t know about you guys but I don’t understand how it would be “cool” to have CM quiet. But, it’s their decision.

4 Kinger September 4, 2013 at 5:35 pm
5 Gibson September 4, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Is it just me or does Albert looks really messed up in that back to the 101 live video on the side

6 heather September 5, 2013 at 8:38 am

I had suspected that the reason for the band’s blackout had a lot to do with how things were misconstrued during the press tour for Angles. That said, it’s the fans that get screwed when a band shuts down like this. As for Albert’s “no comment” responses regarding The Strokes in this interview, I often find that it’s the things unsaid that tell you more about the state of things sometimes. Silence speaks volumes and as a fan, the silence has become really frustrating for me. Kind of over it now.

7 the modern age September 5, 2013 at 10:21 am

@heather, I agree. I hate to say this b/c I don’t blame them for being frustrated, but Albert bluntly saying something like “no comment” to a genuine question made me feel like he was annoyed that people care :( The silence stings, but comments like that make it worse. I didn’t think the interviewer was snarky or pushy at all.

I don’t want their information at this point- they’ll come around when they come around. What I want is for some kind of interview with someone where they acknowledge that their fans still love and support them.

8 heather September 5, 2013 at 10:25 am

@ModernAge: Thank you!

9 Wolfsie September 5, 2013 at 11:54 am

Here’s a blog post written by the guy who interviewed Albert. Don’t get excited… It does not tell you why!

http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/you’ve-not-heard-from-the-strokes-this-year-–-here’s-why?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=strokesahjblog

10 squirrel September 5, 2013 at 1:36 pm

“(…)whether that lyric in the third verse of ‘One Way Trigger’ relates to Julian’s, uh, difficult relationship with Fab” — What? What lyric and what difficult relationship?

And I like this Matt Wilkinson guy; I’d already liked the interview and I also liked this blog post. And since it’s an NME journo I’m talking about, that’s saying something!

11 Matt September 5, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Ah god. That ending of the movie always hits me hard with nostalgia. I’ve decided to leave that version of the song as “Obstinate” to differentiate from Albert’s official “In Transit”. The end of In Transit is just damn lovely.

12 Matt September 5, 2013 at 1:41 pm

And in the blog, he mentioned:
“Reams and reams of blog comments about, ooh, how far Nick stands away from the other four onstage”

Could he perhaps be referring to tsn? I don’t mean to sound harsh or rude, but this is really the only place where I see people say stuff like this now; the only place that continues to bring it up time and time again even after the press has already forgotten. Again, not meaning to sound mean, but I think we (fans) are the only ones left that’s still talking about this old “drama”.

13 squirrel September 5, 2013 at 2:03 pm

@Matt

Oh god, same. Those very last scenes after Julian points at the camera and they all drive off in their scooters are so bittersweet. It never fails to make me nostalgic and even a little bit sad.

Also YouTube comments, maybe? That’s the type of stuff people sometimes point out in some videos…

14 Matt September 5, 2013 at 3:53 pm

I’m actually going to retract my previous statement because I sort of agree with you here, squirrel. Compared to Youtube comments, this blog is VERY tame. I guess I meant fans in general are the ones keeping the drama alive.

15 Gibson September 6, 2013 at 2:01 am
16 squirrel September 6, 2013 at 2:48 am

@Gibson
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwp3nitXNFU
That’s the song she made with them; she worked with Fab and Jules.

17 God September 6, 2013 at 7:45 pm

@Squirrel

You called my name?

18 Kinger September 7, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Just noticed AM from The Arctic Monkeys is marvelous!

19 Konrad September 8, 2013 at 1:54 am

Hard to admit but AM >>>>>>>> CM . And new arcade fire single is totally awesome. LP’s goona be epic

20 squirrel September 8, 2013 at 4:05 am

@God
Forgive me, I shouldn’t have taken the name of God in vain.

On AM: I don’t think it’s *that* good and certainly not better than CM, not in my opinion. Easier to listen to? Definitely. Tracks like Arabella, Knee Socks and I Wanna Be Yours are marvelous, but there’s a whole bunch of filler in that album (the singles in particular are fun but *so* very generic).

21 Kinger September 8, 2013 at 5:20 am

@squirrel

I can see that squirrel. After a few more listens, songs like Do I Wanna Know and One For The Road makes me sound like i’m listening to Bad To The Bone by George Thorogood. XD

But me personally, Do I Wanna Know is my favorite from the album. Makes me want to walk, purposely in slow-mo. Hehe

22 Kinger September 8, 2013 at 7:08 am

Man, i’m honestly ticked off.

Us fans have to wait for like a MONTH every time to get a slight bit of news from The Strokes. I just really wish they say SOMETHING with all of em’ together! SAY SOMETHING!

23 AShford September 8, 2013 at 7:46 am

I love the Strokes. I really do. However, I am really interested in seeing Albert live in concert.

24 Gibson September 8, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Fuck zoos

25 squirrel September 8, 2013 at 4:46 pm

@Gibson — LOL irl!!!

26 mateja September 9, 2013 at 4:28 pm

ALBERT IS GOING TO PLAY A FESTIVAL IN OCTOBER AND I’M GOING TO BE THERE.

SORRY I’M VERY EXCITED (!)

27 !!! September 10, 2013 at 3:43 am

Where and when exactly is this festival?!

28 Ubu September 10, 2013 at 6:04 am

https://twitter.com/fenix (they’re the ones who organize the festival)
According to that tweet Albert’s playing in October. The place is Buenos Aires, Argentina.

29 Ubu September 10, 2013 at 6:07 am

My bad. “That” tweet means this one:

“13 DE OCTUBRE: MUSE – Jane’s Addiction – Albert Hammond Jr – MIRANDA! – AIRBAG – UTOPIANS – SER – Kashmir”

30 Matt September 10, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Man I really do wish that DP makes Instant Crush a single. I’ve been loving that song like crazy right now.

Julian singing, “Take it, no I don’t wanna sing anymore” and then that child-bearing solo right after. That is just perfection.

31 Kinger September 10, 2013 at 4:59 pm

GUYS! GUYS! LOOOOK! LOOOOOK! MAYDAY! MAYDAY!

FIRE EVERYTHING!

http://shiwiggles.tumblr.com/

32 Kinger September 10, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Wait, Wait…

Albert confirmed that it was from Tokyo 2011 Angles tour.

:( I cry…

33 Next Dimension September 10, 2013 at 6:54 pm

Anyone listen to the new MGMT album? What do you think?

34 squirrel September 11, 2013 at 3:27 am

@Next Dimension
They’re getting weirder and weirder with each album and I for one am loving it. This one is super psychedelic and even a little Animal Collective-ish at times. ‘I Love You Too, Death’ and ‘Orphan of Fortune’ are simply *perfect*!

35 I Can't Win September 11, 2013 at 8:16 am

@Next Dimension: Not sure how I feel about that one yet. My first impression would be that there are some very cool sounds on the album, but the quality of the actual songs seems very low. However, I went to see them live last weekend and they were outstanding, and the new songs sounded more convincing in a live setting. MGMT Show + Some Hallucinogens = Awesome night!!!

36 God September 11, 2013 at 1:18 pm

MGMT is pure trash. I like Electric Feel, and a couple of other songs on their first album, but their second is trash in what I’ve heard of the 3rd is too.

AM>MGMT

On a lighter note, I think that AM is a slightly better album than CM.

37 Dracula's Lunch September 11, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Damn God no wonder I don’t believe in you, we completely disagree on MGMT haha. I think Congratulations is brilliant, but to each their own!

38 squirrel September 11, 2013 at 2:35 pm

@Dracula’s Lunch
I’m totally with you on that. I also think that AM is an incredibly generic and unimaginative album with no more than 2 or 3 truly good songs in it, but that’s just me.

39 Gibson September 11, 2013 at 2:40 pm

I agree with squirrel, Artic Monkeys are ehhh. IMO I think their only decent songs are mardy bum, fluorescent adolescent and r u mine? Other then that, not that amazing.

40 ITAO September 11, 2013 at 7:10 pm

AM gives me the Angles feel. Maybe, they’ve reached that stage.

41 WHATTHEFUCKWHASTHAT September 11, 2013 at 7:20 pm

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