‘The New York Times': Albert Went To Rehab, Julian Isn’t Excited About Touring And Nikolai Chops Wood

by Eric Van Dril · 26 comments

I won’t do the extremely negative NME-type headlines like I did with the Pitchfork piece that was published on Monday. But, like the Pitchfork piece, the New York Times‘ story about Strokes 2.0 (or 3.0, depending on how you view First Impressions) is also very depressing.

For example, when Julian speaks about Angles, he says: “It’s just to get everyone happy. Operation Make Everyone Satisfied.”

Ugh. Can’t Julian, just once, praise the other members of the band? The NYT piece gets even drearier when it discusses why The Strokes came back together and transitions into discussing Albert’s trip to rehab.

“There was trepidation that we would have been gone from people’s hearts and minds somewhat, and that we would have to kind of start over again at a lower level,” Mr. Valensi said. Around 2007 he, Mr. Fraiture and Mr. Moretti returned to the studio. “We were trying to, by example, get the ball rolling,” Mr. Fraiture said.

By 2009, he added, “it was kind of the last ditch — either this is happening, or it’s not.” What drew them too was their five-record contract with RCA; “Angles” is the fourth under that deal. All five members finally returned to the Music Building — where they’ve had dingy rehearsal spaces for a decade — to write, giving periodic thumbs-up updates about their progress. But soon enough Mr. Casablancas went back on tour to promote his solo album. And just as they were to begin recording, Mr. Hammond had to leave.

“I went to rehab,” Mr. Hammond said. “I just kind of hid, in drugs — a lot of drugs. I had to go fix myself.”

That Albert has admitted he has a problem and is being open about it must be considered a positive. It’s followed by a hilarious quote from Nick about Nikolai chopping wood, but then it gets depressing once again…

Mr. Casablancas eventually weighed in. “I would say roughly 60 percent of what they did I thought was rad and I didn’t touch, and then 40 percent I would either alter it or it got left behind,” he said. “I try to keep a high standard.” He wrote and recorded lyrics independently, borrowing lines from his band mates occasionally, and trying to maintain that equilibrium. Having a solo outlet helps.

“I think ‘collaboration Strokes’ is more on the side of just poppy than what I am interested in personally,” he added. “I’ll take what I can get, so I’m happy.” (Not totally. Asked if he was excited about touring, Mr. Casablancas said no. He was most animated talking about raising his infant son; he and his wife, Juliet, prefer “co-sleeping” to having a crib.)

(Thanks to Patrick for the link)

Update: Here‘s an interview with Nikolai from a French website. Updated

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 annie March 9, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Yo Eric – two new tracks – Machu Picchu and Taken for a Fool (and it’s not a fake!): http://blogs.1077theend.com/aharms/2011/03/09/end-music-discovery-the-strokes-angles-2-new-songs/

2 tom March 9, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Taken for a fool is great

3 annie March 9, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Wow, feels weird to actually hear new songs.
And this article also makes me feel better after the shit-buzzz NY Times article http://mohnson.tumblr.com/post/3709247555/new-york-city-trip-post-part-two

4 Nick March 9, 2011 at 12:20 pm

absolutely in love with Taken For A Fool!

5 Nicolas March 9, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Fuck this article! Taken for a foll and Machu Picchu are amazing!

6 patrick March 9, 2011 at 12:22 pm

I have a feeling that these are going two of the better tracks on the album, both are class..

Well done mr valensi! Fast becoming my favourite stroke!

7 Steve March 9, 2011 at 12:31 pm

It’s understandable that Julian wants to raise his kid but, at the same time, I feel like that’s one of the typical Julian answer where he changes his mind every other second! He looked genuinely happy at Lolla when I saw them and on SNL last week.

8 ben March 9, 2011 at 12:36 pm

doesn’t julian always say that he’s not excited to tour, though? i think it’s the idea of touring in general that he doesn’t like, not the idea of specifically touring this album.

9 Drika March 9, 2011 at 12:38 pm

If the album Angles, was to leave the fans happy after this text, must have left many people disappointed ¬ ¬ ‘I’m arrazada Particularly with such comments, especially those of Julian, for the album and tour … CONGRATULATIONS, if this album was to make someone happy, know now that is no longer advancing ¬ ¬

10 Barny Butteli March 9, 2011 at 12:43 pm

I thought the article had some positive points about Julian liking the album. The part about liking 60% and adding his own 40% (or ditching material) is better than the pitchfork quote.

Overall, I feel like they genuinely like each other and want to keep making music, but the lead up to Angles had it’s problems stemming from FIOE. I have hope for the future of The Strokes and wouldn’t worry too much about the press focusing on the negative.

11 Lo March 9, 2011 at 12:57 pm

@Ben, that’s exactly what I wanted to say, Julian has always been very ambivalent about touring, and now he and Juliet have Cal, it must be even harder, so I don’t think it’s the most depressing part of the article. Niko’s ITW seems far more gloomy to me…

12 Mike March 9, 2011 at 1:07 pm

We all need to stop worrying about whether or not they’re getting along. Of COURSE Julian isn’t excited to tour — he and Albert are sober and being on tour is boring and there will be drugs around, inevitably. If you want to know how they’re doing, look no further than the last lines of the article: “In one of the last shots for the video, the boys, now all in black tie on an orchestra stage, were to bow to one another. They did take after take after take, because they couldn’t do it without cracking up. “

13 Katie March 9, 2011 at 1:13 pm

I think they are going to break up. None of them seem happy. All of these articles have convinced me not to buy angles. The album would have been way better if Julian just wrote all the songs like the last 3 excellent Strokes CDs. I would prefer if Julian just went solo permanently. Phrases for the Young was amazing and he seemed truly happy on his solo tour.

14 hombrelobo March 9, 2011 at 1:26 pm

@Katie:

How on earth has this dissuaded you from buying the album? All five tracks we’ve heard are excellent. How could you possibly care about their personal lives more than the music? Furthermore, we can only glimpse their inner-workings through slanted reports from entertainment “journalists,” the worst of the worst, whereas the music speaks for itself. C’mon.

15 katie March 9, 2011 at 1:37 pm

@hombrelobo it has dissuaded me from buying the album because if the artist doesnt have faith in themselves and they are complaining about how bad it is and how they don’t like it, I am not going to have faith in that album. Basically in all the articles they are like “This album sucks, making it was horrible” how does this persuade you to buy it?

16 Bobby March 9, 2011 at 1:53 pm

I think they make a 5th album (since they’re under contract anyways) and maybe call it quits after that. Hope not, but the songwriting process seems to take too big of a toll on everyone in the band. The truth is whenever someone else has written a song other than Julian the song doesn’t hold up to the best the Strokes have done. As a fan I don’t want to go down that road. I’m sure others would disagree but if that’s how it’s going to be going forward, I’d rather they do break up.

17 kere March 9, 2011 at 1:57 pm

@katie, this guy nicoclasablancas tweeted the same dissatisfactions after reading the interviews to Ryan Gentles, to which Ryan replied “don’t believe too much of what you read. It’s safer for u to not read the press at all. Get music and see how it effects YOU.” I suggest you hear the machu picchu and taken for a fool leaks. It’ll get you back on track haha.

Anyways, the lesson im trying to point out is that, it all boils down to the music. I enjoy it very much and I’m sure most of here does too; that’s what matters.

18 SharonGuitar500 March 9, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Bah, why couldn’t everything have stayed like this?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoTaxh_rt0Y
Or how about that time when I think Ryan asked Julian how he felt about playing a sold out tour in Europe and he replied that it felt pretty exciting.
Good old times when everyone was genuinely happy.

Don’t get me wrong, I still like their music, but it’s a bit disheartening. I used to want to meet Julian, now I’m not sure if I’d still like to meet him or hit him hard in the face… Whatever, I still want to meet the others XD

19 Hanan March 9, 2011 at 8:11 pm

I bet Nikolai was thinking “why can’t Nick chop the wood WHY DO I HAVE TO DO IT?”
and then reverted to cursing Nick’s eyelashes again.

20 Bro March 9, 2011 at 11:01 pm

He’s definitely excited about touring. Julian loves performing. He kicks ass. He’s just saying he’s reluctant to be away from his kid too long.

Look at the situation from Julian’s perspective. After FIOE, he felt weird that members of the group started doing solo stuff. He felt resentment from the others for his leading of the band. Now they all want him back to make records but he is reluctant to really step in and lead again. He was hurt by the band breaking up. Now that they wanted to make this record he’s been sensitive about everything and reluctant to lead and write. They’ll make another album next year and it will be mostly Casablancas written and so good.

But I think Angles will be great too though.

21 bella March 10, 2011 at 4:30 am

just reminding people of this….
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/feb/27/the-strokes-angles-casablancas-interview
i wouldn’t necessarily take all of these articles so seriously considering how this one gives such a totally different view.

22 annie March 10, 2011 at 6:19 am

@Belle, that interview’s great – it casts quite a different light on the whole thing and has been completely overlooked which is maybe why journalists always focus on the negative thing as that’s always what will provide the headline and garner most attention. I read the Nikolai interview, with Les In Rocks, yesterday and found it particularly bad, he was pretty rough on Julian, I thought. But when I was reading that, there was a link to a Julian interview with the same journal from last year – it’s in French but if just stick Google translates – I found it to be a really probing, in-depth interview in the Q and A format so it cuts all the journalistic rubbish. And Julian talks about everything from his musical interests to the band and all this drama, it’s quite measured.

23 Ema March 10, 2011 at 7:54 am

Les Inrocks said, some months ago, that the Strokes had broken up and that their album wouldn’t be release because RCA didn’t like it. You shouldn’t trust what they say. It’s so easy to change the meaning of what people said…

24 Maria March 10, 2011 at 8:59 am

While that was obviously crap about them not releasing the record, that article with julian’s actually really interesting and, as said, it’s just written up as a question/answer format so basically the article’s full of julian quotes and he actually gives long answers, which they printed. There’s no overt attempt to cast him in a certain light. I’m only reading this just as he’s been quoted and it actually provided some clear answers. Magazines get information wrong all the time but i’m not going to discount an interview because of a mis-step in their gossip column. And especially when the quotes aren’t soundbites but often full paragraph long answers. I think it’s a great read.

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