(French) Rolling Stone Pt. 2: Nobody Puts Niko In The Corner/The Strokes’ Love Triangle

by Eric Van Dril · 31 comments

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.

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

1 cameron September 6, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Albert was upset Julian married Juliet, but not because he wanted her himself…

The writer of this article’s gossip was lost in translation and/or got all the relationship information from some internet “sources” like whosdatingwho.com or something, it doesn’t look like it was a topic actually discussed during the interview.

2 Eric Van Dril September 6, 2010 at 1:45 pm

@cameron Wasn’t it Nick who said that? I think I remember Albert saying that he specifically didn’t want to get into specifics, but was happy to see his friend happy.

3 Lisa September 6, 2010 at 1:56 pm

I actually agree with Cameron.
The journalist probably found that information on some random website and didn’t double checked.
The article is really about Julian and the evolution of the band I think.

4 Annie September 6, 2010 at 2:01 pm

I agree about the love triangle crap and the Nikolai comment – it just seems like ridiculous gossip the writer picked up from some unreliable source and included it without checking the information. I was also thinking that this interviewer is presumably french and maybe some of the quotes from Julian were misunderstood or translated awkwardly from what he actually said… I also recall that Julian made some comment (I think at the Venison gig) about Albert being single and looking for some ladies, or something like that – i think that’s hardly the kind of thing you’d joke about at a gig if you’d had a big falling out over a relationship. Albert was also apparently engaged at the time. And the band also played a big role in Julian’s wedding (there’s some NME article on it). I think the RS writer’s just desperately trying to spice up Julian’s rehashed answers – pretty much everything he says here is a version of an answer he’s already given hundreds of times throughout his press junket. There’s an Irish Times or maybe Irish Independent article which, I think, was most revelatory on the internal issues within the band. I think he’s probably had a few problems with Nick – he mentions the guitar solo and he mentioned that a few times before and how he wrote the guitar solos but doesn’t get credit for them. Also, in earlier interviews Nick was fairly vocal about Julian being dictator-like when it came to writing music. It’s also Nick’s song that’s featured in the Studio video. Anyway, I was just hoping that here he’d say something different or mention what it felt like to be playing live with the band again. All the same, this has still added a lot of excitement to an otherwise boring evening – thanks again for posting it!!

5 Annie September 6, 2010 at 2:07 pm

@Eric Van Dril; You’re right it was Nick who said he thought it’d be weird or something… I can’t remember where I read it but he definitely said something to that effect or that it’d be awkward since, at the time, she was working with the management and that they’d just have to see how it goes. Albert’s always been very elusive when it comes to band gossip and very gracious – he refused to make comments about Julian’s drinking except that he was very happy for him to be in a better place and even when discussing his solo projects he never mentioned any difficulties with the band even though he could have used it to gain publicity.

6 Annie September 6, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Actually I think the Nikolai thing maybe was a bad translation, by the interviewer, of an old article that mentioned that Julian’s always late and the last to get on the bus, leaving the rest of the band waiting for him…

7 Angie September 6, 2010 at 3:29 pm

Sorry but I need to know…Ryan Gentles is married??? the pic said: Ryan’s wedding :O

8 Becky September 6, 2010 at 4:43 pm

I believe in the love triangle. Albert’s song “Call an Ambulance” seems to be about really, really wanting to fuck a really, really good friend’s girl & her choosing the friend.

9 Mary Shea September 6, 2010 at 5:52 pm

@Angie: I think he’s divorced? But I’m not at all sure so don’t hold me to that haha

Thanks again to all who helped bring this article/translation about. I had forgotten about the Thin Lizzy/Elvis Costello/70s comparison in regard to the sound of a few of their potential songs. I’m once again beyond excited for this album.

10 sean September 6, 2010 at 8:42 pm

do u guys think that these ‘2 camps’ are julian and then the rest? btw i hate the writer

11 Tim September 6, 2010 at 11:12 pm

I don’t have a citation to back this up, but I seem to remember reading something about the band being apprehensive about Julian marrying Juliet simply because she was their manager. It’s possible that Albert had a completely legitimate concern about the potential for conflict when the band’s business and personal lives were woven so tightly.

Does this ring a bell for anyone else?

12 Killian September 7, 2010 at 2:02 am

@Becky; I think you might be onto something there! I’ve often heard rumours that Juliet was apparently with other members of the band. Also, I remember NIkolai saying he was really surprised that Julian was getting married and Julian himself recently said that he wasn’t ready to get married when he did but knew he’d found the right person and didn’t want to let her go.

13 Killian September 7, 2010 at 2:07 am

Ryan Gentles and Adam Green are both divorced…

14 Davy September 7, 2010 at 2:14 am

@Sean; Although he doesn’t say it himself here, I think that must be what he means – he’s made it pretty clear in previous interviews that he’s the outsider in the band and the Studio video just underlines this… sadly! I don’t even think he’s close with Nikolai anymore. In an article I read he wasnt even sure if Nikolai lived in New York and I remember he also said that he was really surprised to learn that he was releasing a solo record so obviously the contact between the group is or was at a minimum

15 Ester September 7, 2010 at 9:07 pm

@Tim: I remember reading that the band felt wary of the relationship b/c they didn’t want Julian to get upset if they asked Juliet to do stuff for the band.

16 Ester September 7, 2010 at 10:18 pm

It’s bittersweet. You feel happy for him that he seems to be living a healthier life, enjoying his family and life in general, but like he said, he can’t give to The Strokes what he did in the past. To work constantly at that genius level, so much is sacrificed. It’s fascinating listening to or reading about him talk about his writing process…the layers he puts in the meanings, how he describes himself as greedy because he wants the depth in each song. What he wants in his music is what I feel when I listen to it…it’s fresh every time. It’s the only music I can listen to every day and not get sick of. Just can’t get enough…

In the 2006 New York Magazine article, he identifies with Michael Jackson. They have so much amazing talent, but you can’t function and produce at that level all the time. You’ll go crazy and can’t enjoy life. You can understand why he was wasted all the time and in a haze all those years. He could just focus on the music. You almost want to create that space for him to work and create, but it’s not possible. That’s why he hates the promotional aspect of the business so much b/c it takes away from the process. But he has to do it.

But it sounds like he’s trying to find that healthy balance. I have no doubt that their next album will be awesome.

Thanks for all your hard work! Love the site…very current.

17 Becky September 9, 2010 at 11:29 am

Hey Eric,
I think you put your email on here once but I can’t find it, so I’m just writing this here. Those are some pretty harsh tweets you’re putting out there today.
In defense of their decision…I think I also read that Nick’s stepdaughter is modeling for Hilfiger, so maybe they are doing this to support her? They seem pretty into supporting friends and family, so I’d believe that.
Also, fashion isn’t all that bad. It’s a form of creative self expression. Good fashion is just wearable art, and art’s cool, right? And, let’s face it, the Strokes are a fashionable band. I think it’s way more legit that they’d always acknowledged being into the way they look instead of acting like they don’t care when clearly they do.
Final argument…Albert’s a pretty notorious model fucker, and maybe he’s just looking for a new girlfriend.

18 siobhan September 9, 2010 at 11:48 am

@Becky; It just seems a little hypocritical when the band, and Julian in particular, spent so many years complaining in interviews that they were always labelled with all the rock-star clichés – namely, that they’re model-dating fashion magazine darlings. We all know that they clearly spend a lot of time on their image and their outfits but this just smacks of insincerity. And the added blow is that they’re doing it for Tommy Hilfiger… bland, passé and not even their style. I agree on the Albert part though!

19 siobhan September 9, 2010 at 11:50 am

My only hope is that they’re doing this to enable a free show or small club gig…..

20 annie September 9, 2010 at 12:02 pm

I wonder if this will be like Julian’s Opening Ceremony gig in Japan where he played, I think, his first gig with his solo album… in other words I wonder if they’ll use the fashion crowd as a sympathetic audience to showcase some of their new tracks???

21 Ester September 9, 2010 at 3:12 pm
22 sean September 9, 2010 at 3:24 pm

what about tommy hilfiger?

23 annie September 9, 2010 at 5:56 pm

@Sean; The Strokes are going to be playing a private fashion party for Tommy Hilfiger during NY fashion week. I agree it’s pretty hypocritical as Julian in particular has given out so many times about being branded as these ‘fashion darlings’ though what’s even more bizarre is that the article said that Iggy Pop might be playing a fashion party, which, in turn, also kind of makes The Strokes thing slightly forgivable. Although Iggy Pop does now advertise Insurance…

24 zmargi October 13, 2010 at 12:08 pm

At first I too was confused about the Tommy Hilfiger show, NOTHING about THE Strokes says “yuppy”. Julian is quoted as saying; it was his dream, since he was a little boy to play the Metro Opera House were the TOMMY HILFIGER After Party was. He said, “You only live once” and he REALLY wanted to play the Opera House. Good for him :D

25 lulu June 12, 2011 at 9:37 am

The jealousy thing about Albert and Julian has ON websites and IN GOSSIP been about Sparrow, who was the cause of Albert’s breakup with Cat Pierce, supposedly. Sparrow is the girl that broke them up.

Here is the song Cat Pierce wrote about that:

i’ve got a real one for you
i’m done with compromise
lies of white and black and blue
they hide inside those big brown eyes

You’ve got me, dirty angel
aren’t you ready to come clean?
when i’m looking down with sorrow
you say that i’m being mean
Don’t you hear me when i say i’m lonely?
do i kid myself to think that i am your one and only?

i can’t tell you how many times i’ve cried over you, my baby
i’ve had one too many sleepless nights over you, my baby

baby, AH

can’t you see i’m wounded, baby?
go ahead and put me down
You keep saying that i’m crazy
there’s just rumors going ’round
i’m dying to believe you
tell me, what else should i do?
who would want to play a fool
then find out it was true?

Don’t you hear me when i say i’m lonely?
do i kid myself to think that i am your one and only?

i can’t tell you how many times i’ve cried over you, my baby
i’ve had one too many sleepless nights over you, my baby

baby, AH
baby, HA

cross your heart and hope to die
white or black it’s still a lie
every city that you fly
i sit home and wonder why
while you’re out there getting high
one more night for me to cry
can you look me in the eye

cross your heart and hope to die
hope to die
hope to die
hope to die
hope to die

i can’t tell you how many times i’ve cried over you, my baby
i’ve had one too many sleepless nights over you, my baby

i can’t tell you how many times i’ve cried over you, my baby
i’ve had one too many sleepless nights over you, my baby

i can’t tell you how many times i’ve cried over you, my baby
i’ve had one too many sleepless nights over you, my baby

Sparrow was with Southside Stalkers in Sweden. Then with Doctors and Dealers.

It was too much for Cat that not only was Albert cheating, flying to Sweden to see her in the summer of 2006, but he was competing with Julian for her who was also flying to Sweden.

So, then someone put out the rumor Sparrow was Julian’s cousin … which was never true and just a cover.

I think Cat toured with Albert in the fall of 2006. There is some article that says it did not help the sales of The Pierces albums. Maybe that’s why she put up with it and then they broke up or maybe they broke up before and just toured. Who knows. Really, who cares.

Then in 2007 Albert started dating a string of less than heart throb models and things just sort of got out of hand. We got the famous song, Lisa, from dating Lisa Seiffert. There is a tumblr on all The Strokes girls. Look there, maybe Sparrow is there. There was the model May Anderson that got arrested for socking some air line person in the face. There was someone that actually seems to be pretty nice before Cat and her name is Jamie King. She had a heroin problem and may have helped Albert with his drug problems later on. She seems like a nice person now.

Everyone knows about Agyness. At The Stokes Girls Tumblr they say he is dating Nicole Trunfio, but it looks like she is messing around with a LOT of people.

So, I think the only time Julian and Albert dated the same person was when they should not have been and that was Sparrow. There is even an entry that she was with Nick. But that is probably all just gossip. The lyrics of some of the songs seem to indicate maybe a nugget of truth there about Albert and Julian and some of the facts support that.

Cat seems like she is pretty classy, too. I bet she hates Sparrow.

Who knows. But no one has ever said Albert and Juliet were involved. I would think he would have an affair with Fab before he would cheat with Julian’s wife.

That would be pretty cool, if Albert and Fab turned gay with each other. It would explain a lot of dissension the band has gone through. Okay, that’s a joke.

Sparrow is still around and it is possible Albert helped them someone with their production in their the Doctors and Dealers EP with Gordon Raphael who produced the The Strokes and Regina Spektor or maybe that was Julian, who knows.

Sparrow was pretty back then but she is a little butterball now and from the looks of her no threat to ANY one’s relationship, more of a threat to Quarter Pounder with Cheese than The Strokes.

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31 Ella January 18, 2013 at 12:18 pm

@Lulu Julian was flying to Sweden circa 2006 for this Sparrow person? Wasn’t he married then?

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