So what is the REAL reason The Strokes suffered in-fighting in 2006 and have taken so long to put out their fourth album?
Is it because they have families? Nope.
Because Julian was pulling all the weight and everybody had to prove their merit to each other with a solo album? No.
The REAL reason, according to the French edition of Rolling Stone is, amongst a bevy of things, because of a love triangle within The Strokes.
Let’s just get to the translation, which was written by Molly, proofread by Mona (many thanks to them again) and edited by me, after the jump and then I’ll address the two major fuckups after that.
(Part 1 can be read here.)
“Within the band, egos’ fight quickly started. “Video clips, our image, and everything, I was completely emerged in it, I would make myself sick ” Casablancas sighs. ” I was way too involved, and I’ve always wanted to build that 5-united-guys image. But there’s always somebody that made things harder, and drew attention to himself about a guitar solo that he wants to keep or some other things…. In the early days of touring, there was some troubles, and I’ve become like the orchestral director, I was the one that told everyone what to do. How can I explain this ? I wanted us to be equal, but it was impossible, we were sharing everything, but some of us were really doing nothing, which created a feeling I was trying to repress.
(Ed. Note: I believe this next paragraph is supposed to be in the past tense, but I’m not 100% sure.)
To forget his tyrannic image, Casablancas parties, drinks a lot, goes out with models (Chrissie Cornell) or singers (Regina Spektor). At the time, it was also rumored that Courtney Love wrote her song “But Julian I am a little too old for you” thinking about him which was not a good sign. As for Fraiture, he was constantly complaining about being the last wheel on the coach. The youngest of the band, Valensi, is more concerned about the English photographer Amanda de Cadenet (John Taylor’s ex) than the future of the band. Albert Hammond Jr is sulking because Juliet Joslin, the manager of the band, prefers Casablancas. He wipes his tears in the arms of Agyness Deyn… who left him for another rocker, Alex Greenwald from the Phantom Planet. As for Fabrizio Moretti, he starts going out with famous actresses (Drew Barrymore, Kirsten Dunst) and now has to hide from paparazzis. Once, Barrymore said that they were both bored during a performance of La Bohème at the opera, so they decided to have fun in the toilets.. But what about music ?
In 2007, The Strokes’ spirit is very low, and the band can’t reunite to start working on a new record that is asked body and soul by the fans. They obviously need a break. A break that will allow them to work on their solo projects. Looking back at it, Casablancas thinks this break was positive for everyone : “I’m really happy that Nikolai, Albert, and Fab released solo records, which are very successful. It made me even happier to see that, because they put all their hearts into it, they are much more motivated now to work for the band. Now, everyone brings ideas for the songs. It’s always a pleasure to work on them, and I bring my melodies too. But if I want to be completely involved in a project as I was before, it would be for myself.”
Guessing what we could deduce of this sentence, he corrects himself by saying : “But, I confirm that I’ll always be glad to play with The Strokes, separated or not. It’s strange but that’s how it is.” Does he realize that he just made it very confusing for the person he is talking to?
In fact, things seem to have deeply changed in the band. Casablancas obviously needs The Strokes less than he used to. After the two solo albums of Albert Hammond Jr, Nickel Eye’s project from Nikolai Fraiture and Little Joy, everyone was waiting for the singer’s project, eager to find some Strokes’ vibe in it… But no. Released in fall 2009, Phrazes For The Young is a mix of angry pop, soul and rock with a 80’s atmosphere . A little gem of synthetic rock.
The succes of the album and the tour delayed the birth to First Impression Of Earth’s heir. In March 2009, Julian tells Rolling Stone : “We’ve got 3 new songs” and adds that they’ve got a 70’s feel (“between Thin Lizzy and Elvis Costello”). The recording sessions haven’t even been booked. The break allows the musicians to focus on their private life. Moretti is in a relationship with Binki Shapiro who is a member of Little Joy. Fraiture is married and is a father, so is Valensi. Since his wedding with Juliet Joslin in February 2005 and the birth of his son a couple of months ago, Casablancas has, too, set aside all the temptations, knowing that his wings had been sufficiently burned by alcohol and wants more than ever to enjoy his home sweet home.
In February 2010, the band decides to go to the ‘Avatar Studios’ in New York to record the new album, with Joe Chicarelli, the producer. The album is apparently half way done. On this subject, Casablancas is a bit vague but says that it “will be fantastic” and that, this time, it is a “real group effort,” even if it is whispered that for now he only came to the studio to do some vocals. He says that old grudges are forgotten but doesn’t hesitate to add enigmatically than “from now on we are divided in two camps (him and the others?)”. . He is aware of the importance of the next album and admits that he, now, feels better about the fact that the band is cult for a generation of teenagers that grew up with their music : “Of course it has to fulfil the fan’s expectations. But, this music is made for everyone, including us. Respecting the choice of the others is important.” Then he adds with a smile : “However, I understand and I respect the fact that people still want The Strokes.”
Can we consider this as a fresh start for the band ?
“I don’t think I’m going to act the same way. The Strokes were all my life, all that I was and seemed to be. Tomorrow, I’ll leave some of the responsibilities to the others. And if i have an idea for a music video I will keep it for myself because the others don’t like it. Same goes for posters, T-shirts… We see things differently and that is how it is. I can’t put as much energy as I used to in The Strokes. I think I will try to make things more simple from now on.”
In the dressing room of La Cité de la Musique, the conversation slowly drift towards more personnal topics: NY, where he’s still living; the fact he tries to live a normal life even if he’s a rockstar; what would be, for him, a perfect daily life: “I’d like not to be so often on tour, I’m sure about that. I don’t really think that you find inspiration when you are on the road. I need time to think and write. The best thing would be to work few hours a day and then take advantage of everything that happens, even the little things: going out with friends, going to the movies … and when you have the slightest success, even minor, being able to go out in order to celebrate. It took me time to get out of the very fast life I was having, but now I feel good.”
It’s the end of the interview, officially this time, Casablancas walks us to the door. On his way, he stops in front of the piano and plays a bit of “La marche turque” by Mozart. With once again, his incredible smile that means a lot of things. The rest of the story is quite familiar, with no surprises : Julian Casablancas will never leave The Strokes, The Strokes will never exist without Julian Casablancas. What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger ? We’ll see that soon…
There were three major pieces of information that made me do a double-take in this part of the article. The first was this quote: “Guessing what we could deduce of this sentence, he corrects himself by saying : “But, I confirm that I’ll always be glad to play with The Strokes, separated or not. It’s strange but that’s how it is.”
This is loaded for a bunch of reasons that I would get into, but The Strokes are currently working on their fourth album, so I really don’t want to talk about the band breaking up at this point.
The other two major bits of information were in the second paragraph of the second full-page of text, which included: “As for Fraiture, he was constantly complaining about being the last wheel on the coach,” and “Albert Hammond Jr [was] sulking because Juliet Joslin, the manager of the band, prefers Casablancas. He wipes his tears in the arms of Agyness Deyn… who left him for another rocker, Alex Greenwald from the Phantom Planet.”
That’s so fucking cold.
I think it’s important, at this point, to remind you about part one of this article. In part one, the author says she will only get 15 minutes to interview Julian in the story’s fourth paragraph. Of course, this being post-show and a chance to talk to Rolling Stone, Julian does the smart thing and allows the interview to last a little longer. It’s an extremely nice gesture and, from what the author writes, he seems to be a lovely interviewee.
And then she fucks his bandmates in the ass.
How, when writing for Rolling Stone and with as much (here’s the key word emphasized in italics) quality material on the Internet, can you possibly write how Nikolai feels in the band without attributing it to something Julian or Nikolai said? Maybe Nikolai felt like that, but you have to include attribution.
Nikolai’s unhappiness within the band is overshadowed within that paragraph by an unsupported Strokes love triangle between Julian, Mrs. Casablancas and Albert, who is, by most accounts I’ve read, Julian’s best friend in the band. Now, I’ve never read anything about a Strokes love triangle, but I have read the 2005 piece where Albert is going out with Catherine Pearce of the Pearce sisters and had been pursuing her for over a year. So this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, but I’m sure such rumors do exist.
Once again, let me remind you that this interview was just a little over 15 minutes and, if the interviewer would have asked about Albert and Mrs. Casablancas, Julian most likely would have said “No comment.” and ended the interview.
It’s a pity that such a quality piece was overshadowed by one gigantic fuck-up.