Band Dynamics – Coping with Addiction

February 27, 2011 by  
Filed under Addiction, Band Dynamics

Albert Hammond Jr: “I was hardcore junkie”

The guitarist is known for being in rock band The Strokes, but has also released two records on his own. His last offering ¿Cómo Te Llama? hit stores in 2008, but memories of it are mixed for Albert.

He was taking drugs at the time it was recorded and his addiction has affected his relationships with The Strokes bandmates Julian Casablancas, Nick Valensi, Nikolai Fraiture and Fabrizio Moretti. The group took time out after the release of their 2006 LP First Impressions of Earth and the subsequent tour as relations had become so strained, largely down to Albert’s drug use and feelings of dissatisfaction.

“At that point [the end of the tour] I was a year into doing pretty hard drugs, but I still wasn’t that crazy yet. Super craziness came at the end of my first solo record and the beginning of my second one,” Albert told Q. “I was a full-on junkie by the second solo record. Everyone says those records sound happy, but I was a total f**king junkie. I’m just telling you factually what happened.”

Albert refuses to discuss which substances he took, although he did check into rehab in 2009. That decision delayed work on the latest Strokes album Angels, which was released last month.

“We don’t need to get into that,” he replied, when asked what drugs he was taking. “I came close to some pretty heavy sh*t, man. I never thought I’d do that, but I’ve definitely seen the dark part of my soul… I like it there! I can’t be there, but it has it’s… it definitely gave me something. I can’t quite put my finger on it…”

Albert now feels better equipped to cope with life and can see why he turned to drugs in the first place. He claims he “checked out” when The Strokes began recording First Impressions of Earth, but didn’t talk to anyone about it. Taking substances was his way of dealing with it, and this eventually had a profound effect on the whole group.

“I’m living in a different place and that’s why I can speak about it,” he explained. “I became a drug weirdo because of my own anger and when you’re angry with yourself and you’re ingesting a lot of drugs, it doesn’t help any sense of dialogue and you just feel isolated.”

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