Strokes guitarist discusses drug addiction in excerpt from new book
The comments come in a new book by Lizzy Goodman called Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City, 2001–2011, which details the rise of 2000s NYC indie bands such as The Strokes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, LCD Soundsystem, Interpol and Vampire Weekend.
In a lengthy excerpt from the book, Hammond’s bandmates describe Ryan Adams as having been a “bad influence” on Hammond’s past heroin habit while the band also talk about their rivalry with The Killers.
Hammond also describes how his enjoyment of being in the band waned as his drug habit grew worse: “That’s probably the first time I noticed it had stopped being fun, the recording of [‘First Impressions of Earth’ in 2006]. That’s when things started getting into the gap: Friends, girlfriends, strangers would all start coming in, being like, ‘You should be a bigger band,’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, we should be a bigger band…’ For as strong as we were and as close as we were, we weren’t close or strong enough to fight that.”
“During the recording of our third record, I was just sad,” Hammond continues. “I went through a downward spiral. We met up to start writing ‘Angles’ in 2009, and then I just hit the lowest point in June, July, and August. Everyone came out to record at my house upstate and I was fucked. Everyone knew, ‘Oh, Albert’s definitely high,’ and then two days later they came up and said, ‘You have to go [to rehab].’ Not all of them; Julian didn’t come up. But my mom was there, and so the choice was that basically everyone would forgive me if I went to the three months of rehab, so I did.
“I’m sorry I killed everyone’s dreams,” he added. “I don’t know if they’re still mad at me.”
The Strokes are currently working on a new album. They have not released a full-length since 2013’s ‘Comedown Machine’.
“We’re definitely working,” bassist Nikolai Fraiture told NME last October. “As people know by now, deadlines are not our forte. Anticipation and surprises are still part of the excitement of releasing new music.”
Discussing balancing The Strokes with his new band Summer Moon, Fraiture added: “With the pace of The Strokes as it is, I see plenty of time and room to do both. We play the song ‘Chemical Solution’ differently live than on the record. There’s an extended solo section at the end where everyone gets lost in the music. It’s a beautiful moment and I’m hoping to capture those new feelings on tape (and hard drive).”
Valensi told NME that same month: “The Strokes are alive and well and living in New York City. We are working on music and we want to put music out hopefully next year.
“If I start saying that now, though, then people just get too excited and then there’s all this hype you’ve got to compete with and that’s not fun. If anything I’d rather just pull a Beyoncé next year and just drop shit.”