At this point in The Strokes’ press tour there have been a host of negative stories/interviews and rightfully so. The band nearly broke up, after all.
Shortlist has published a new interview that, in my mind, balances out the super-negative Pitchfork story. The Strokes seem optimistic about the future, but still, every Strokes piece needs to start with talking about how bad things were…
Still, did any of you get frustrated over the long wait?
Nick Valensi: Yeah, there were definitely points of frustration for me. Other members of the band said they weren’t into working just yet, and I couldn’t really relate to that.
NF: There was a lot of stopping and starting. In 2007, Fab, Nick and I went into the studio a few times to try to get the ball rolling again. But after the third time when Albert wasn’t there, or someone else wasn’t there, it was clear a longer break was necessary.
AH: [Laughs] I had no idea.
Still, as the band fought and Julian removed himself, the band breaking up never seemed all that close to happening in the eyes of the five Strokes.
Was there a time when you thought The Strokes were over?
NF: Yeah, because time was getting on and we’re getting older.
NV: It did seem like a possibility. I definitely had that thought cross my mind and it was unsettling to say the least. But I confronted that thought. I was very open about it. I spoke to everyone and they were very reassuring.
JC: I never thought of it in those terms. I would never do anything to break up the band.
Did you still hang out and remain friends during the time away?
NV: Fab and I probably hang out the most. We are really, really, really close friends. We’ve hung out almost every day during that five-year period.
AH: We’d all see each other every couple of months. We started slowly doing the communication which led to us needing to be away from each other to let it all sink in. You can’t force that. We had to build a new foundation – The Strokes 2.0.
Ah, The Strokes 2.0… I like that. The Strokes 2.0 apparently play soccer together…
But you did see each other?
NF: Julian and I used to play sports together as kids, and in 2008 we played in a soccer league for a while. Not field soccer – four-on-four [five-a-side] stuff.
JC: We were in division three, which was the worst, but we were champions. We got a trophy. It’s in Livonia – the restaurant. The bar’s run by our goalie. He was awesome.
NF: It’s a bunch of people who aren’t that good, but they have passion. They’re violent. I bruised a rib and was out for three weeks.
The article goes on and talk about rock star excess, getting recognized by the fan girls and lavish purchases. And then Shortlist ends with getting our hopes up and starting this whole process over again…
Finally, are you going to leave it as long before the next Strokes album?
JC: I think we’re going to start working on stuff as soon as possible. We were supposed to already, but it took longer than expected to master the album. I didn’t want to work on Strokes No 5 until Strokes No 4 was done.
NF: Personally, I don’t ever want to stop making new albums. If we take another break, and I really hope we don’t, it won’t be something in my control.
NV: There’s material in the works. We have a lot of music stockpiled so, in terms of content, we’re in a good place right now. If I had it my way, we’d have another album out by the end of this year.