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!’”