Fun fact: It wasn't just the old rock gods—your Jim Morrison, your Jimmy Page, your Keith Richards—who could party at death-defying, frighteningly high levels. Albert Hammond, Jr., guitarist for The Strokes and, arguably, one of the most innovative instrumentalists in 21st-century rock, told NME yesterday that his heroin, cocaine, and ketamine addiction four years ago grew so bad that he was shooting up "20 times a day." He mixed the three substances "morning, noon, and night," and his bandmates' grew concerned when his arm was filled with track marks. (This is Julian Casablancas registering concern, by the way.)
I pass along this information simply because I have no idea how Hammond is alive. Rock stars are not human beings.
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."
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."
Anyway, for any Strokes fans out there, Hammond's heroin addiction might explain that four-year "extended break" the band went on after 2006's First Impressions of Earth, ending with the decidely subpar 2011 album Angles. It's great to hear Hammond is clean, and that the band is making good, and, most importantly, consistent music again. Hopefully they'll stick around for a lot longer.