30 things you never knew about The Strokes

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30 things you never knew about The Strokes

The Strokes' first release was via NME.com, when they gave away a free MP3 download of 'Last Nite' a week prior to physical release as part of 'The Modern Age EP' in 2001. NME went on to give the group's debut album 'Is This It' a 10 out of 10 review, and name it album of the year.

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30 things you never knew about The Strokes

The Strokes (pictured here posing for an NME Christmas cover shoot in 2005) have admitted to taking the riff for their 2001 single, 'Last Nite', from Tom Petty's 1977 single 'American Girl'. However, Petty has no intention of suing them for plagiarism. In 2006 he said: "The Strokes took 'American Girl', and I saw an interview with them where they actually admitted it. I was like, 'OK, good for you.' It doesn't bother me."

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30 things you never knew about The Strokes

Albert Hammond Jr's father, London-born Albert Hammond, was a hugely successful songwriter. Songs he either wrote or co-wrote include Starship's 'Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now', Whitney Houston's One Moment In Time', Leo Sayer's 'When I Need You', and 'Don't Turn Around', a UK Number 1 for Aswad in 1988.

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30 things you never knew about The Strokes

The Strokes' favourite foods? Julian cites his favourite dish as lasagne, while Nick enjoys a "juicy pineapple". Albert prefers the Japanese BBQ favourite Kushiyaki. The rest of the band are less picky: Fab claims to enjoy a hearty feast of "food and water", while Nikolai cites his favourite food as, er, "shit sandwich".

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30 things you never knew about The Strokes

Speaking to NME after the 2008 Presidential election, Strokesâ

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30 things you never knew about The Strokes

The Strokes are unlikely goths. Guitarist Nick Valensi explains: "There are some bass lines on our first album that were 100% ripped off from the Cure. We were worried about putting out the album, because we thought we'd get busted." Photo: Dean Chalkey

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30 things you never knew about The Strokes

Julian Casablancas has been known to frequent strip clubs - but he doesn't really like them. His first experience was in 2002 and it so disturbed him that as soon as he got home, he had to beat off twice.

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30 things you never knew about The Strokes

Albert Hammond Jr converted to Judaism shortly after the release of 'Is This It' - purely so that Nick Valensi wouldn't be the only Jew in the band. It has had certain benefits. "The first time I told a guy I was Jewish was in LA," Hammond recalls. "He pulled me into the corner, and I discovered this whole secret world. He even got me laid that night."

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30 things you never knew about The Strokes

Julian Casablancas showed early promise as a thesp. At school he even won a trophy for his role in the Bertold Brecht play 'The Caucasian Chalk Circle'. Photo: Dean Chalkley

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30 things you never knew about The Strokes

In contrast with the privileged upbringings of Casablancas and Hammond, bassist Nikolai Fraiture (right) grew up poor, in a two-room apartment (with his parents, brother and adopted sister). His father was a security man at Macy's. One day he caught Nikolai stealing a Luke Skywalker doll from the department store. Photo: Dean Chalkely

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30 things you never knew about The Strokes

The Strokes are massive Arctic Monkeys fans. They were blown away by the Sheffield group when they toured with them in Ireland. Julian Casablancas gushed: "We've seen a seriously fucking great band. Arctic Monkeys, how about those guys? They're good, maybe a little too fucking good.â

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30 things you never knew about The Strokes

Albert Hammond Jr (far left) is the most organised and business-like of the band. In the early days, he booked shows and harassed record executives, claiming to be the band's manager and using the pseudonym Paul Spencer. Photo: PA Photos

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30 things you never knew about The Strokes

Every time Radiohead's 'Creep' is played on the radio, Albert Hammond Jr's Dad gets a royalty payment. That's because he was originally granted a co-songwriting credit on the song, owing to its similarity to The Hollies' The Air That I Breathe', which he co-wrote in 1973.

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30 things you never knew about The Strokes

Until the very last minute the lyrics to many of the songs on 'Is This It' were incomplete. "Lyrics weren't so definite," recalls Nikolai Fraiture of the band's early days. "We'd wonder, 'What's Julian going to sing?' He'd make shit up." Photo: Tom Oxley

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30 things you never knew about The Strokes

Julian Casablancas and Albert Hammond Jr met as fellow students at the Institut Le Rosey in Switzerland, listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the most expensive boarding school in the world. Fellow alumni include King Albert II of Belgium, Prince Rainier III of Monaco, and a grandson of Sir Winston Churchill.

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30 things you never knew about The Strokes

When The Strokes played London's Alexandra Palace in December 2003, Arctic Monkeys' Alex Turner, then aged 17, was in the audience. By chance he met Pete Doherty and had his picture taken with him. Photo: Alex Maguire

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30 things you never knew about The Strokes

Despite being inundated with major label offers when they first appeared on the scene, The Strokes finally signed to RCA because it was the only company that didn't balk when the band stated they'd never want to make a video. Casablancas revealed the reason for this in a 2001 interview with 'Penthouse': "The idea of lip-synching to songs on a film just seems retarded to me." Photo: Pieter M Van Hattem

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30 things you never knew about The Strokes

In 2007, Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti revealed that he had contracted infectious Lyme disease. The illness is an acute inflammatory tick-borne disease in which joint swelling, fever, and rash occur, sometimes accompanied by cardiac or nervous system complications. In rare cases, Lyme disease can be fatal.

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30 things you never knew about The Strokes

Julian Casablancas is passionate about the perils of taking heroin. "Doing heroin is like walking around with a terrorist as your friend," he once explained. "It's like taking a terrorist around to parties. You never know when it's going to blow up on you." Photo: Alex Maguire

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30 things you never knew about The Strokes

Julian Casablancas is a major investor in a newly-opened Korean BBQ restaurant, Shin, in Hollywood. Other major investors include Mark Ronson and DJ Aokie. The restaurant, named after Simon Shin the head chef, allows guests to cook their own food on table top grills. The marinated ribs are said to be particularly good.

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30 things you never knew about The Strokes

Strokes guitarist Nick Valensi's (pictured) 'porn star name' is Fluffy Delberg, according to a 2002 NME interview in which fans' questions were put to the band. Julian Casablancas' is Valentine Kitchenson. Photo: Pieter M Van Hattem

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30 things you never knew about The Strokes

Having battled a past drinking problem (even having a spell in Phoenix House rehab centre while still in high school), Julian Casablancas went completely sober for the recording sessions of 'First Impressions Of Earth' (2006), as he felt the alcohol inhibited his songwriting. These sentiments were expressed the record's defiantly upbeat number 'Heart In A Cage': "And I don't write better/when I'm stuck in the ground." Photo: Pieter M Van Hattem

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30 things you never knew about The Strokes

When The Strokes released their debut album 'Is This It' in 2001, the cover image of a gloved hand caressing a naked behind (a glib reference to Spinal Tap's fictional 'Smell The Glove' album) proved too shocking for the US market, and was replaced with an abstract image taken from a particle physics experiment. The only UK retailer to complain about the original sleeve was Woolworths. Photo: Dean Chalkley

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30 things you never knew about The Strokes

The Strokes' debut London show was an NME Awards gig at the London Astoria, Saturday February 3, 2001. They were first on the bill, before sets by Peaches, Rocket From The Crypt and (headliners) ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead.

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30 things you never knew about The Strokes

The Strokes' first ever gig was at Spiral in New York City, September 1999. Only 10 people showed up to watch. "We were so nervous," recalls Nikolai Fraiture. "Some of us may have thrown up and some of us may have used other things to find some confidence."

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30 things you never knew about The Strokes

At a very early show in New York, The Strokes opened for a band called Girl Harbour. After the gig guitarist Nick Valensi was caught having sex with a girl backstage. Girl Harbour took a photo and used it as the flyer for their next show, with the tagline: 'This is what happened at our last show!'

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30 things you never knew about The Strokes

It was Julian Casablancas who came up with the name The Strokes, in late 1998. Nikolai Fraiture recalls: "We had a running joke that every time we met up we had to have a certain number of names. Some were horrible. One day Julian said, 'How about The Strokes?' and it was the one name we all didn't disagree on."

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30 things you never knew about The Strokes

The Strokes admit to being drunk while recording the bulk of 'Is This It'. Nikolai Fraiture recalls: "'Hard To Explain' was a ball of confusion. The vibe in the studio at the time was a lot of alcohol and focus." To hear The Strokes discuss the stories behind all their classic songs, head to NME.COM/VIDEO.

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30 things you never knew about The Strokes

'Is This It''s sleevenotes feature a credit for a mysterious 'guru', JP Bowersock. This was in fact Julian and Albert's guitar teacher.

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30 things you never knew about The Strokes

Until late 2000 The Strokes were all still holding down day jobs in New York. Julian was bartending in a venue called The Lemon on Park Avenue. Albert was a shop assistant at Kim's Underground record store. Nikolai worked in a video rental store on the Upper East Side. Nick was a waiter. And Fab worked at the State University Of New York. Photo: Dean Chalkley

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