There’s nothing going on with The Strokes right now from a news perspective, but I’m fine with that. The YouTube videos from Lollapalooza (especially this one) have made me fall in love with the band again for about the 851st time.
To tide things over until more news surfaces, I think it would be interesting to post something about how The Strokes settled on the name The Strokes. I never really thought about multiple meanings of the band’s name until I read the excerpt following this introduction three or four years ago. I always thought the name The Strokes was referring to the medical condition, but then I read this and I thought, “Shit, it can also mean masturbation. Or Stroke of genius. Or a hundred other things.”
Now, in 2010, the name is another way I justify calling The Strokes my favorite band because it’s so fucking cool, interesting and superior to 98% of other bands
Why are you called the Strokes?
Julian: Because it means a lot of things that are artistic and strong. We all do interesting things in different ways and the words means interesting things in different ways. It just made so much sense that you can’t deny it.
Fab: We’d rejected a bunch of names. Nikolai said that made us laugh for days: ‘de Niros’ as in ‘the Niros’. I used to think of what the word actually meant: a stroke [holds his heart in an inaccurate medical mime], a stroke… blow to the face… a stroke in a painting. The one I think of the most is the brushstroke. But now I just of five dudes standing around.
Nikolai: There were so many different meanings to it, it could never pin us down. So many people have said ‘stroke of luck’, ‘stroke this’… there’s never one thing they can focus on. There’s when you have a stroke, cerebral congestion; there’s a stroke when you play guitar; then there’s the obvious sexual undertones.
Nick: When it first came up, it was like, ‘Oh, The Strokes, like a wank.’ Then a person said ‘No, it’s The Strokes like a heart attack’. Then another person said,’…like a caress’. It rolled off the tongue really well – sort of violent and sort of sexual and it just sounded cool to everybody.
Albert: We’d come in with all these bad names – the de Niros, the Rubber Bands, the Motels, Flattop Freddie and the Purple Canoes – and no one would agree. One day we’re in the studio after practice and Julian said ‘The Strokes’. And everyone was like ‘that sounds great!’. It was that easy; five guys agreeing. it doesn’t really mean anything. We thought it was a cool rock and roll name. When I first heard it, it sounded so old, like someone would have already taken it but no one did. Then I looked it up in the dictionary and ‘a powerful blow to the face, chest or body’ was the first thing. Perfect. That’s exactly what our music is. It’s like a powerful blow to the face.
Although The Strokes is a great band name, Flattop Freddie and the Purple Canoes would have been so vastly superior. Can you imagine Letterman introducing the band with “And from their breakout 2001 album Is This It, here is Flattop Freddie and the Purple Canoes with “Last Nite”? How boss would that be?