(French) Rolling Stone: Julian Casablancas Talks Post-Show Highs, Breaking Up and Why He Was So Controlling (With Scans/Translation)

by Eric Van Dril · 15 comments

UPDATE: Part 2, with full translation and reaction can be read here.


The most valuable Strokes fan of the month is Mona, a French reader (I didn’t think this site reached that far) who sent these pictures Sunday afternoon. Thank you very much, Mona.

After the jump, you will find the other five pages of this Rolling Stone piece. Ibrahim, a Moroccan Strokes fan who lives in France, translated the first full page of text Sunday evening. Mona sent me a translation Monday morning. I can’t describe how grateful I am for the efforts of both.

(If I receive a translation for the rest of the piece, I will post it along with a bold updated tag at the top of this post.)

More after le jump…

Ibrahim and Mona’s translation reads as follows…

It’s been four shows that he’s been aligning and he caught a cold… “I had to take really strong meds to sing tonight; thus, i forced a little and gave a Tom Waits version of some songs.” Roars of laughter, while he sits on the sofa, a few minutes after having left the scene. We imagine that it must be, for Julian Casablancas, a way to apologize for having canceled his interview with Rolling Stone at the last moment earlier in the day. Or maybe not. It’s true that he pushed his voice, tonight. So did the audience. Glad to hear both titles of his album “Phrazes For The Young” but also Strokes’ classics such as “Hard To Explain” and “The Modern Age”. In brief, fans asked for more. And Casablancas gave them more.

We are July 7th. Casablancas performed in Paris, at the Days Off festival of Cité de la Musique. That to say almost one month after the appearance of the Strokes at the Isle of Wight, one of the festivals in which the band will have participated -with Rockness, Lollapalooza etc- to assert they’re back in the business – and take at the same time big checks, according to the allusions of Julian Casablancas.

In London, June 9th, The Strokes also made the “surprise concert” plan under a fake name (The Venison) in front of five hundred privileged persons, among whom a few celebrities such as Chris Martin. Without playing any new song, naturally, that’s The Strokes… —–, Casablancas & co., definitely of their time, were announcing on their Twitter the break-up of The Venison (“after a career playing only sold-out shows, the band Venison wanted to end on a high”, they were adding, with a certain touch of humor.
—- to evoke the revival of the Strokes, there’s only one step which we will owe to cross with a zest of diplomacy. Because even if the BBC already succeeded in extracting from him sibylinne statements about the next band’s album that has made it (very) famous, the management instructions are strict: do not talk about The Strokes. A new challenge in this rock star race, including a phone call of the label at 2 pm: “Julian is sick, his throat hurts very much. He’d rather not speak before the concert”, provoking panic and disappointment. And then we’ll have the custom negotiations and the promise of a backstage interview a few minutes before the beginning of the concert. Fifteen minutes, not one more. A fighter course ambiance. We’re hanging on. It’s 11 pm.

Casablancas is one of the guest of Danger Mouse and the regretted Mark Linkous’s “Dark Night Of The Soul” project. As the audience were leaving the room on a last encore, we get lost, at a run, in a maze of staircases and corridors which leads to a Spartan changing room – a table, a sofa, and a spotless white piano – where we find a euphoric Casablancas. He’ still wearing his scene holding: red jeans and jacket that seem straight fallen from Steven Tyler’s wardrobe, an Ozzy Osbourne t-shirt and ultra-fashion golden shoes. “It was a really good concert, even if my voice wasn’t that good” he says. “It’s strange that we talk just after, it’s a moment when you’re like naturally drunk, floating in a fanciful world… And I still haven’t crashed yet, I’m still here, happy… It’s strange. I’m still not hangovered by the dream.”
Conquered by the parisian audience, he moves on with the American musician’s traditional ardent statement towards the french capital: “I love France, I love Paris. I feel a little bit like Woody Allen at this moment. I’m a real fan, I love his Francomania, his humor. It annoys me that some people don’t judge his true worth. His movies are fabulous, even if they’re sometimes a little bit sad… But it’s another story.”

Down from his 32 years, Julian Casablancas keeps an eternal teenager side that is doubtlessly not foreign to his success with the female sex. It’s also one of the rare persons whose aura is tangible, since we are in his presence. What we collectively call a rock-star. But a rock-star who, thanks to a certain form of post-concert relaxation, will also confide with a sincerity you’ll never find nowadays. At the end of the conventional 15 minutes which he will have deigned to grant, he’ll be ignoring the knocks at the changing room’s door, which were supposed to indicate the end of the interview. “Don’t worry about that”, he says, with a large smile. As far as we’re just approaching the most interesting theme: The Strokes’ next album.

In January, the band was publishing on Youtube some videos about the backstage of the studio sessions. Casablancas didn’t appear on them. Even if he was precising that he shouldn’t be long joining his friends to “funk this up a little”, some wondered about his participation to the project. What if his solo carrier overrode the band’s one? Flat denial of the leader: “I’ll be keeping up The Strokes, whatever happens. We didn’t have this feeling, that other bands such as The Police may have had, that we were condemned to break up.”

As soon as he ends up his solo tour, he’ll be joining the band in New York: “I don’t think I’ll be affected by things the same way I was before, when The Strokes were completely absorbing me. This band was all my life, everything I was… everything I seemed to be. But it destroyed me.

Chic garage. Fashion post-punk. Posh districts rockers. Labels waltzed. For a few years, and for having waken old ghosts of New York, those of the Velvet Underground and Television, The Strokes payed the price of their celebrity and success. And Casablancas was obviously in the front line.

Arisen from divorced parents, but also very beautiful and very wealthy, (John Casablancas, co-founder of the Elite model’s agency and Jeanette Christiansen, ex-Miss Denmark), Julian Fernando Casablancas grows up in New York and skims the crested schools. He meets another well ——– at the prestigious Le Rosey Institute in Switzerland, Albert Hammond Jr, son of a songwriter born in Gibraltar, who mostly wrote for Tina Turner or Whitney Houston. Their passion for music quickly leads them to form a band. Back to New York, Casablancas meets Nick Valensi and Fabrizio Moretti, who were already playing together at the very chic Dwight School of Manhattan. The only missing piece to the casting is the bass player Nikolaï Fraiture, who used to share his sandbox with Casablancas. The Strokes are born.

Quickly, the producer Gordon Raphael spots them during a concert, takes them under his wing. And when The Modern Age EP is released at Rough Trade in the beginning of 2001, the majors are almost fighting to sign this cheekily gifted band. It’s Sony Music that wins the jackpot. Before The White Stripes and The Libertines, The Strokes decide that the noughties will be rock. They’re praised to the skies since their first album, “Is This It” [the journalist shamefuly wrote “This Is It”… -_-]. Thanks to a fan club exclusively composed by celebrities (Kate Moss, David Bowie, etc.), the boys are cried out “rescuers of the New-York rock”. And the next albums, Room On Fire (2003) and First Impressions Of Earth (2005) proved them right. ——– [not even a “First Impressions Of Planet Earth” here! Maybe the first one was a hint to In Transit…]

“I understand now that we were like actors,” says Casablancas about the pressure that the band was going through then. Of course some grumpy rock critics blamed the boys for being too handsome, too elegant, too clean, too educated… in other terms too wealthy. Not to mention some musicians colleagues claiming that they had the punk spirit (The Star Spangles) and who, forgetting that Joe Strummer was the son of a diplomat, called them “Little bourgeois with no interest,” unable to see beyond the tip of their New Yorker nose. They were wrong. Even if the fame was starting to become more obvious, leading the band to conflict.”

Anybody want to give page four and five a shot? If so, you can send it to me at TheStrokesNews@gmail.com and I will be forever greatful.

Read part two here.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Speedy September 6, 2010 at 10:37 am

wasnt FIOE released in 2006? i remembered i waited soo long for that. you can sort of predict the next album release through this formula, which i have created. well. its more like a pattern 2, 3, 5… nvm it doesnt work, album shouldve been released this year.

2 JC September 6, 2010 at 11:32 am

Well it would be nice if the Fibonacci Sequence worked but (This Is It 😉 was released in 01′

3 Annie September 6, 2010 at 11:47 am

Thanks so much for posting this!! I’m slowly working my way through pages 4 and 5… on page 5 top of third column I think it says that ‘he confirms that all the old resentments among the band have been forgotten about but that he doesn’t fail to add, rather enigmatically, that “from now on we’re divided into two camps” (him and them)… he also says later on that he’s not going to put the same energy into the band that he once did 🙁 and yet he still says things like he’s going to be in The Strokes forever… I’m going to have to re-read this. Also, I was surprised to read that Albert was apparently pissed at Julian for getting together with Juliet as he was interested in her. I think that maybe that’s just gossip crap the writer stuck in. Was Albert not with Catherine Pearce around this time? Anyway, that stuff really doesn’t matter. Thanks again for posting!! Did you say that you’ve got a translation of the latter half of the interview?

4 Mary Shea September 6, 2010 at 11:47 am

Thank you so much Ibrahim and Mona!

5 Annie September 6, 2010 at 11:53 am

Sometimes I wish The Strokes would read their own interviews from 2001 and 2002 – it’s like everything they worried about and all the classic problems they had picked up from the demise of other bands is coming true for them… it’s sad reading how divided and messed up they are now. Julian always seems to counter every positive thing he says with something soul-destroying.

6 Andy September 6, 2010 at 11:57 am

Great work everybody, this is what I call globalized team work! Is anyone already translating the other two pages?

7 Asma September 7, 2010 at 5:01 am

I’d also like to thank Ibrahim and Mona, it mustn’t have been easy to translate..I really appreciate it 🙂

8 zmargi October 22, 2010 at 12:58 pm

I thought about that too. If #4 comes out in 2011 then it doesn’t pans out.
BUT if it comes out Dec 31 2010, or before, then it’ll work
I NEVER understood the whole “don’t put out a record during xmas or right before” Its like, really? Why not? Your fans will buy it. ESPECIALLY if they’ve been waiting 4 YEARS (and counting) for it

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