Brandon Flowers, The Vaccines, The Libertines And More On How The Strokes Inspired Them

One week to go! Its been five long years since The Strokes last played London. You can expect them to make up for all that lost time in style next Thursday (June 18) when they take to the stage at Barclaycard Presents British Summer Time at Hyde Park – a comeback predicted to be one of the shows of the summer. In case you need a reminder of how the New Yorkers shaped the generation of guitar bands that followed their incendiary 2001 debut ‘Is This It’, here are some of the group’s famous fans waxing lyrical to NME about the impact the Julian Casablancas’ gang had on them and their music…

Brandon Flowers, The Killers

“I think there’s a lot of boxes that The Strokes tick. The things that you want in a band. They have such a strong identity, a great frontman, great songs… I mean they look better than you. It’s like they’ve got everything that you want. I was extremely jealous when I first heard them! I was just starting with Dave [Keuning] and me and Dave actually bought the first record together and listened to it together. I didn’t think they were going to top what I heard on [‘The Modern Age’ EP] … and I was just floored. I mean I was depressed for months. I was obsessed about it. And I knew it gave me something to strive for and it made me want to be better so I’m grateful for it but it was a tough time for me!”


Carl Barat, The Libertines

“We always loved The Strokes – I’m not sure if they ever liked us! Actually, we did get on with Albert [Hammond Jr] and Nikolai [Fraiture]. We always thought they didn’t like us, anyway. I remember Pete was really into ‘Is This It’ but I was really annoyed because I thought they were trying too hard to sound like Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground. They also wore the same kind of clothes as us and coming over to England and killing it, doing what we’d been trying to do for years, so I was a bit resentful! We jumped a train to Liverpool – pretending we were The Moldy Peaches, like the ticket conductor was going to give a fuck! We were saying we had to go and support The Strokes. We got to their gig at the Lomax and didn’t have any money. Pete got kicked out for trying to nick a guitar pedal. Then afterwards we got The Strokes to all buy us fish and chips and lend us some money. Maybe that’s why they didn’t like us after that. That was the summer of ‘Is This It’. That was definitely a game changer.”

Jesse F Keeler, Death From Above 1979

“The last two shows Death From Above played were both festivals – one in Atlanta, one in Florida, and each day The Strokes were the headliner. Sebastian [Grainger] is friends with Albert so they invited us to come watch them on the side of the stage, two days in a row. I think they played ‘Reptilia’ first – as soon as they started, it all hit me like a ton of bricks – like ‘Oh my God, this band opened the door for so many bands that would not have happened.’ Before The Strokes there was so much influence of grunge and this loud/quiet thing. You’d even hear it in Weezer and things like that. But then came The Strokes that are influenced from an earlier sort of forgotten thing, like Television, like this ‘70s New York punk thing – for whatever reason, there’s a sound that they had that had existed before but everyone had neglected it. And then suddenly they came along and now there’s a million bands that have managed to make careers out of walking through the door that they kicked open. I felt like I was watching Guns N’ Roses play or something, but from my generation!

Hugo White, The Maccabees

“For me, they were incredibly important in terms of the way that the arrangement and simplicity of the songs was so well-crafted, especially on the earlier stuff. The Strokes were, early on, one of the bands that we would go and watch and you couldn’t really get better than that – than watching The Strokes play in their prime. So I think it did have an influence on us, ‘cause they were a unit as well. It had that same thing that The Clash had initially. You’d watch stuff by The Clash and there was this team mentality; it was a gang of people doing it with the same reasons. The spirit of it was so focused and I think The Strokes had that for a while.”


Justin Young, The Vaccines

“I think so much of music’s importance, and why it’s important when it’s important, is because of the context, and I think they came around at a time when music needed excitement again, it needed a shake-up. But it wasn’t just that – ‘Is This It’ was perfect. I think that’s one of the few records in the last 15 years that is a 10 out of 10 record. It did everything that people want. It’s so rare to find such a perfect band with such a perfect record. I was 11 or 12 when I first got into them, so I remember I had the record but I didn’t understand its significance – I just quite liked it. It was only four years ago maybe that I looked back and just realised how perfect that record was and how important it was as well.”

Harry Koisser, Peace

“Everyone who was in the five years immediately above me in school was massively into the Strokes, which then meant that I was into the Strokes. They were very popular and their music had an impact on every other band around me growing up. Not a massively direct influence, but actually I think Julian’s melodies are the one thing that is in every band since, you can always hear the Strokes-iness in every genre you hear, that’s something that’s been passed on quite subtly. I always hear all over the place, it’s post-Strokes, I hear it in my own music as well. It’s in your head whether you want it to be or whether you don’t want it to be.”

Kieran Shudall, Circa Waves

“I think what I took from The Strokes was the attention to detail that they bring to their records. It’s not just like, ‘Let the producer do it’. Julian Casablancas’ vision from the start was to create this whole look and this sound and these incredible pop songs. So I really respect that about them and Circa Waves do try and have a certain sound and write certain songs and play these live shows in a certain way, so I think that’s what we took from them. I’m desperate to see them live. I’ve always wanted to. I was too young to go to the shows when ‘Is This It’ was out, so I’ve never had the chance to. Over time, I’ve studied The Libertines and The Strokes and tried to figure out why they’re so good and why there’s this purely visceral adoration of these incredible bands. And it was so simple – there was no looking deeply into what they were doing, it’s just like these bands are fucking cool.”