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The Strokes reveal bitter relationship with Ryan Adams, drug habits & rivalry with The Killers in new book

the strokes

Meet Me In The Bathroom is a new book from renowned music journalist Lizzy Goodman – who has written for the likes of Rolling Stone and The New York Magazine – that chronicles the New York City rock scene in the first decade of the 21st century.

During the 2000s, NYC was the epicentre of a meteoric rock resurgence. At the fore of this movement were five mates from New York — Julian Casablancas, Albert Hammond Jr., Fabrizio Moretti, Nick Valensi, and Nikolai Fraiture — who formed a band called The Strokes.

The Strokes

The Strokes reveal turbulent relationship with Ryan Adams, drug habits and rivalry with The Killers in a new book by renowned music journalist Lizzy Goodman, Meet Me In The Bathroom.

The Strokes released their revered debut, Is This It, in 2001, which NME named Album of the Decade and Rolling Stone ranked it No. 2, behind Radiohead’s Kid A.

Throughout the decade, the band had their share of highs and lows, both of which have been chronicled in an oral history in Meet Me In The Bathroom, and which was recently highlighted in an excerpt published on Vulture via NYC Magazine.

In the book, The Strokes recall that Ryan Adams was a key instigator in getting guitarist Albert Hammond Jr hooked on heroin. “Ryan would always come and wake me at two in the morning and have drugs, so I’d just do the drugs and kind of numb out,” Hammond alleged.

I knew I would shoot up drugs from a very young age. I’d been wanting to do heroin since I was 14 years old.”

“I remember Julian [Casablancas] threatening to beat Ryan [Adams] up if he hung out with me, as a protective thing,” Hammond added.

He’d heard that Ryan would come and give me heroin, so he was just like, ‘If you come to my apartment again with heroin, I’m going to kick your ass.’ I hadn’t really been doing it in baggie form until Ryan showed up. He was definitely a bad influence.”

Adams, on the other hand, remembers the time a little differently, telling Goodman, “I loved [Albert] so deeply. I would never ever have given him a bag of heroin. I remember being incredibly worried about him, even after I continued to do speedballs … I didn’t do drugs socially, and I don’t remember doing drugs with Albert ever. I wanted to smoke cigarettes and drink, like, dark red wine or vodka and write all night.”

Further on in the excerpt, journalist Austin Scaggs recalls the band at breaking point:

“I saw The Strokes’ bubble burst when I went to South America and Brazil for a bunch of shows with Kings of Leon and Arcade Fire and The Strokes. I was like, ‘Ryan, I’ll take the video camera, I’ll document this trip, I’ll just shoot everything and you can have whatever you want. I’ll pay for my own ticket.’

Honestly, I was thinking it was going to be like Led Zeppelin, like you walk into the room and there’s a bed full of women. I thought it was going to be a giant debaucherous orgy of booze and drugs. It was the absolute opposite.

To be super-blunt about it, The Strokes were crumbling right in front of my eyes, right in front of the camera. There was a lot of resentment and there was a lot of tension. When I got home I was like, “Wow, that was not what I expected.” I didn’t see one naked girl the whole time.”

The book also details some rivalry between The Strokes and The Killers at the time.

In the excerpt, Rolling Stone journalist Jenny Eliscu says: “Hipsters get over shit so quickly. But it’s important to state that there’s a difference between the underground and hipsters. The underground is real and permanent. It’s more art than it is commerce. The Killers… and Kings of Leon were never part of the underground. Fuck no.”

Valensi adds: “We had conversations that went along the lines of ‘Gosh, I think our songs are better than ‘Mr. Brightside’ by the Killers, but how come that’s the one everyone is listening to?’”.

Read the full excerpt here via Vulture.

It looks like Goodman did an insane amount of research for the book. It should be a good read. Check it out here.

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May 16, 2017

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