Hammond Jr, who released a new album with The Strokes called ‘Comedown Machine’ earlier this year, discussed his addiction and subsequent sobriety in a new interview with NME. In the interview, published in this week’s issue, available digitally and on newsstands from today (September 4), the guitarist and solo singer reveals the lifestyle which led to him entering rehab in 2009.
Admitting he was in a “dark place” when The Strokes released their second album ‘Room On Fire’ in 2003, Hammond says: “It was, like, oxycontin and cocaine at 24, 25, 26. and then I became [addicted to] heroin around then. So from 26, 27 ’til 29. It’s not so much that I wasn’t in a happy place. I was just… God knows where I was. I was just very high. That’s where I was.”
Pushed for specifics as to the extent of his addiction, Hammond Jr says: “I used to shoot cocaine, heroin and ketamine. All together. Morning, night, 20 times a day. You know, I was a mess. I look back and I don’t even recognise myself. I did my own thing.” He adds: “I mean, you have moments when you’re fine. And if someone meets you, you seem fine. But I remember when I was showing someone music and I was wearing a short shirt and (points to wrists)… there were just purple [track marks] all the way down here. And then they would call someone – ‘Did you see Albert, he looks crazy?’ That’s where I learned to wear long sleeves.”
The singer, now four years sober, is set to release a solo EP called ‘AHJ’ on October 8 through bandmate Julian Casablancas’ Cult Records. It follows his 2006 debut album ‘Yours to Keep’ and 2008’s ‘¿Cómo Te Llama?’. The new release was produced, engineered and mixed by Gus Oberg and recorded in Hammond Jr.’s own studios, in Manhattan and upstate New York.
The ‘AHJ’ tracklisting is: