The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas on playing old songs: “I couldn’t care less about playing ‘Last Nite'”

"You play songs so much, you become sick of them"

The Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas has opened up about playing old songs in a new interview.

Speaking to The Times, Casablancas admitted that he became “sick” of playing old songs live, saying “the music doesn’t move you” when playing the same songs repeatedly.

He said: “When you’re growing up and imagining playing music, it is for the excitement, but the one aspect of doing it for a living that is a sadness you don’t anticipate is that you play songs so much, you become sick of them.


“We hadn’t played for a while,” Casablancas says about returning to live performing earlier this year, “so it was still fun, but when you start playing 30 or 40 shows, the music doesn’t move you. You feel phoney. To some extent, that’s why I play with Voidz. I couldn’t care less about playing ‘Last Nite.’”

He continued: “Really, it’s similar to listening to a song. I get sick of songs quickly. Even Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata.’ You listen to that enough, you will get sick of it.”

The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas performs live. CREDIT: Getty

Elsewhere in the interview, Casablancas also opened up about the group’s early successes and the “issues” which started to appear around the time of the group’s third album.

“For me, the first two records were one creative enterprise,” Casablancas said, “but by the time the third record came out there were other issues going on.”

He continued: “I was interested in a harmonic evolution. I liked a lot of modern classical music. That was where my mind was at, but it crashed with all the rock clichés of the touring and the drinking and infighting and the bullshit.”


“Hitting the sweet spot between edgy and catchy is the goal in everything I do and ‘Is This It’ is always what you’re aiming for. I’m a human animal and a prisoner of the crowd’s reaction on a biological level — I don’t want to care, but if people like it, it feels better than if people hate a song.

“You never know how the audience will react and hope for the best, but you don’t let it compromise your integrity.”

Yesterday Evening (October 31), The Strokes returned to Saturday Night Live. The performance marked their fourth appearance on the long-running comedy show; it was also their first appearance on SNL in nine years.

The group performed ‘The Adults Are Talking’ and ‘Bad Decisions’ from their latest album, ‘The New Abnormal’.

The Strokes released that album back in April. In a four-star reviewNME called it “a cool album, the kind you begrudgingly grow to love, even if it never cared about you,” before asking: “And isn’t that quintessentially The Strokes?”