Read: Albert Hammond Jr. discusses joining the Strokes, the depth of his addiction

by Eric Van Dril · 28 comments

I’ve been ignoring some of the Albert Hammond Jr. interviews that have been floating around the Internet — the ones that ask the same questions over and over — in the hope that something of substance would pop up.

Yesterday, one did.

The Talks did an unbelievable interview with Albert, one that I found to be suspenseful as I read it. It starts out light, talking about Albert’s path into the Strokes, before turning dark and diving into his addiction. The following three paragraphs really affected me, and I think it will do the same for you.

How did that (drug use) affect your bandmates?

What everyone tells me is that the friendship came before the band. Everyone just told me as a friend, “I don’t want to see you like this. Forget the band.” Such a big part of me is being in this band, it’s huge, but life isn’t all about what you do. I feel like our culture says, “You are what you make,” but I don’t believe that. So I think everyone was just more concerned that I was going to kill myself.

How close did you get?

I wasn’t going to kill myself on purpose, but you reach a point where you really just don’t see it and you just don’t care. It could have happened so easily so many times. I don’t even know how I kept on waking up. First you are at least measuring it. But by the end you are so shaky you are just mixing and pouring and sometimes you feel it. You push it in and you know it is too much and then your body goes into some kind of shake and you get extreme fear, like, “That’s it, I have done it, I have done too much. I am going to fall down.”

Would experiences like those scare you into cutting back for a little while?

No, that’s what’s crazy to me now. It does not scare you to stop or even make you consider. You are looking at yourself in the mirror and thinking, “I’ve done too much,” and you’re trying to stay focused to not black out. Then when it’s over you are like, “Okay cool,” and 15 minutes later you go back and do it again.

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Matt October 12, 2013 at 7:18 am

What ever happened to the cult records interview with Albert? I remember cult tweeting about it a while ago but I don’t remember anything after that

2 Wolfsie October 12, 2013 at 7:48 am
3 andrew October 12, 2013 at 2:36 pm

hey eric, not sure how to reach u so i thought id post here.

considering that The Strokes contract with RCA is now over, it would be an obvious move on their part to issue a best of release around the time the next strokes album is released. i think it would be interesting to discuss what 74 minutes of strokes goodness people would view as the best of the strokes

4 Eric October 12, 2013 at 3:16 pm

@andrew — Do you think RCA would do that, or The Strokes.

I frankly don’t think The Strokes are on the Best Of level yet, but RCA might be greedy enough to release one.

5 squirrel October 12, 2013 at 5:22 pm

Could RCA do that without the band’s consent?

6 strokesy October 12, 2013 at 7:48 pm

This is my favorite performance of my favorite Strokes song: Automatic Stop.

I think what I loved most about them in those days was how much of a band they were. Like they had this 70’s vibe about them as a constantly touring group that I couldn’t get enough of. They were in complete musical harmony with each other and you only get that from long months of the road performing together. Still love them now but would love to see the magic that would come out from them doing a live tour today. Sadly, I don’t think it will ever happen again. They are becoming a studio band like the Beatles.

7 strokesy October 12, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Also think this is their ultimate song: Ize of the World.

Okay okay, I’m done have a nostalgia trip :p

8 squirrel October 13, 2013 at 4:36 am

Here’s Albert’s musical pick for this week’s ‘Insult to Injury’ on Noisey:

Squeeze – “Goodbye Girl”
“It’s the one song I just can’t stop listening to. I just discovered it. It is amazing! I was in a Mud Coffee eating breakfast and I was like, “This! What the hell is this?” They were like, “Oh this is Squeeze.” I mean, the riff, the melody, and the harmony in the chorus. Mmmmmm! Also I’ve been listening to The Wipers’ first record Is This Real—it’s awesome—and The Misfits too. I saw Twin Shadow live on that first record, he was opening for someone, and I was like, “Am I seeing something that’s going to be really exciiting or am I going to be bummed out for the next song?” The the next song was even better. I bought the vinyl and downloaded it when I got home. It’s so much fun when you get excited by something and you want to have it in all different forms. It didn’t even feel like I’d spent money because what he was giving me was priceless. You feel like you’ve spent money when something sucks, like a bad dinner. But when it’s great, you don’t even care! Although the phone bill always sucks.”

9 Andres October 13, 2013 at 8:44 am

okay bitches this is just a rumor but the people in brasil are saying that julian casablancas is coming to lollapalooza brasil/argentina/chile next year

10 Wolfsie October 13, 2013 at 9:06 am

Sounds like wishful thinking but I hope it’s true!

11 Maya October 13, 2013 at 3:00 pm
12 squirrel October 13, 2013 at 5:40 pm

@Maya – Just found out about that! So glad to see Instant Crush getting a video — even though being perfectly honest I gotta say don’t really believe Julian will be on it. =(

13 andrew October 13, 2013 at 6:08 pm

RCA can totally do it i’m sure, and 5 albums and 13 years on theyd be well within their rights to release a best of, plus its something that ties in with ends of contracts quite regularly

radiohead leaving emi, biffy clyro leaving beggars banquet a couple that spring to mind, both were done by the labels without the band’s involvement. dandy warhols & Idlewild best ofs done after they left capitol /EMIrecord, both done with the bands involvement. so i guess it could go either way, tho with the band unhappy with RCA id suspect it would be without their involvement

id imagine 6 from ITI, 6 from ROF, 4 from FIOE, 3 from Angles and 3 from CM

so once you exclude the singles theres not gonna be much room

Modern Age
Hard To Explain
NYC Cops
Last Nite
???Is This It vs Take It Or Leave It vs When It Started
The End Has No End
What Ever Happened
I Can’t Win
??? Under Control vs Automatic Stop
Juicebox (tho i wouldnt mind losing it)
Heart In A Cage
You Only Live Once
Ize Of The World
Under Cover Of Darkness
Taken For A Fool
??? Games vs Machu Picchu
One Way Trigger
All The Time
??? Tap Out vs Chances

14 WHATHEFUCKWHASTTHAT October 13, 2013 at 8:47 pm

nailed it.

The Strokes HAVE reached “Greatest Hits” status

15 Matt October 14, 2013 at 10:15 am

Anyone have the livestream of AHJ’s concert?

16 Danedressa October 14, 2013 at 10:59 am
17 Wolfsie October 14, 2013 at 12:42 pm

I found In Transit too but it’s poor quality

18 Wolfsie October 14, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Oh St Justice has just gone up too

I’m waiting for Rude Customer!

19 mateja October 14, 2013 at 1:48 pm

Albert totally nailed it last night! Never seen him that happy and exultant onstage before. I would have liked to see him in a smaller venue and not in a big outdoor festival with all the audience waiting for Muse, but he gave a great show anyway.

His voice is in great shape, the 3 guitars sounds awesome and the setlist was practically perfect. Cooker Ship is definitely a highlight.

Hope someone recorded the livestream.

20 I Can't Win October 14, 2013 at 3:30 pm

I’m surprised by how little Albert is playing the guitar. It seems like 3/4’s of the time he’s only singing, and if I remember right it didn’t used to be that way for his solo shows.

21 Annie 1251 October 14, 2013 at 4:50 pm

@I Can’t Win
That’s an interesting observation you made there about Albert singing more than playing the guitar.

Ironically, on my drive home tonight – I was listening to Instant Crush and was pondering Julian’s:
“Take it, oh I don’t wanna sing anymore”….as he begins his guitar solo.

Shades of Strokes things to come?
Or maybe some harmonies possibly next time. js.

Also – I am hooked on Cooker Ship-it’s stuck in my brain! Should def have been the 2nd single choice imo.

22 Ubu October 14, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Here’s the stream:
In Transit is incomplete

23 squirrel October 15, 2013 at 6:46 am

Thanks for the clarification! It will never not be weird to me that a label can put out an official release without the band’s consent, but they do have the rights to each of the songs that would hypothetically be used, so. Still doesn’t feel right to me, but I guess that’s how things go in the music biz. No wonder Julian created his own label.

This whole ‘best of’ discussion made me wonder about how the band would feel towards such a thing… ‘Best of’ albums are usually equated with ‘selling out’ and I can imagine them being strongly opposed to the idea around the ITI era, but Julian in particular seems to have become a lot more pragmatic with age. I’d speculate he’d probably be the most indifferent to / in favour of a ‘best of’ while Nick and/or Fab would be the most opposed to the idea. I know this is completely futile speculation but whatever. 😛

@Annie 1251,
A Strokes album without Julian singing would be just… wrong. 😐 I mean, the others can sing just fine (love Fab’s singing in particular) but imo none of them have got absolutely nothing on Julian voice-wise. So I sure hope he’s not having crazy ideas about band roles…

About AHJ (listened to it for the 1st time this weekend) — St. Justice reminds me a lot of Vampire Weekend for some reason (both the melody & some parts of the vocals); love the guitar work in Strange Tidings; Carnal Cruise is probably my favourite track from the EP, love how much the vocals vary throughout the song; something about Rude Customer’s chorus reminds me of Hard To Live (In The City), am I crazy?; Cooker Ship is definitely the other highlight of the album for me (along with Carnal Cruise) and imo both have a very Julian-esque feel to them.

24 andrew October 16, 2013 at 7:25 pm

interesting to consider the rough trade end of things, from what ive read the issue is between the strokes and RCA, and i havent read tht theres a falling out with rough trade. but seeing as rough trade is their UK label, and would obvioulsy be the ones to issue a best of that side of the pond should RCA decide to release one, maybe the band would want to be involved in it?

25 thestrokesonfire October 17, 2013 at 1:33 am

Check out NME. There is some new Strokes News (kinda)….. Does anyone else on here like “Alone Together” as much as I do ?

26 Golf Bag October 17, 2013 at 9:34 pm

Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but
after browsing through some of the articles I realized it’s
new to me. Anyways, I’m certainly pleased I came across it and I’ll be book-marking
it and checking back often!

27 Yo October 17, 2013 at 9:53 pm

If they ever do a “best of”, I’d rather they not strictly choose singles. Because I always felt they chose the wrong songs as singles for Room On Fire. Under Control, Whatever Happened and I Can’t Win are all better than the songs they chose, with the possible exception of Reptilia. Also, I’d probably not include many from their latest albums. If it were up to me, I’d pick the following songs

Is This It
Last Nite
Hard to Explain
The Modern Age
Whatever Happened
Under Control
I Can’t Win
You Only Live Once
Heart in a Cage
Undercover of Darkness
Taken for a Fool
Welcome to Japan

Modern Girls and Old Fashioned Men

28 yeah October 19, 2013 at 3:33 am

yeah addiction is so common in the world obviously but especially in their world.

its well known julian spent most of his life with drugs and alcohol up until a few years ago. wasn’t he sent to rehab like at 13?
in fact everyone in the strokes had a problem. probalay not severe as alberts or julians. its a shame what happens, but thats what the rockstar life leads too.
hope their all better now and try to stay on natural highs.
that article was crazy though, i had no idea how bad alberts addiction was….how is he not dead? shooting up K,Coke and heroin 20 times a day??!??

what if one day we just read the headline “Albert Hammond Jr found dead in new york apartment” it would’ve destroyed us….the strokes would be over and wow just it hurts to think about it….dont do drugs kids!

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