As The Strokes’ Albert Hammond Jr. make the rounds in support of his upcoming solo EP, AHJ, he’s speaking candidly about his excessive use of hard drugs, which left him in a “very dark place” for several years.
In a new interview for NME (via She’s Fixing Her Hair), writer Matt Wilkinson notes that while Hammond first mentioned his issues with drugs in interviews for The Strokes’ 2011 album Angles, “none of them went far as to detail the true extent of his problems.”
Hammond told Wilkinson, “I’m just now being able to understand or speak about that time, and it’s been almost four years… It was, like, oxycontin and cocaine at 24, 25, 26.” His life especially spiraled out of control from 2006-2009: “And then I became [addicted to] heroin around then. So from 25, 27 till 29.”
Asked by Wilkinson just how bad it got, Hammond responded, “I mean, do you want me to get specific? I don’t mind, but yeah. I used to shoot cocaine, heroin, and ketamine. All together. Morning, night, 20 times a day. You know, I was a mess. I don’t even recognize myself.”
In a separate interview with NME in August, Hammond said he began using drugs “to get yourself out of your head, so you think about things differently.” He continued: “Then it gets to the point where you’re just out of your head and not thinking of anything, and once it goes to that situation it takes away from the music, so what’s the point?”
Wilkinson notes that Hammond’s demons influenced the material on AHJ, pointing to the song “Strange Tidings” and its lyrics, “I can’t believe I lost my mind.”
Hammond was less willing, however, to discuss The Strokes. “I hold very dear what we have together as friends. I’m just very careful at how things get said, because I don’t want something to be misunderstood and then become the face of saying that stuff,” he told Wilkinson. In regards to future plans, he said nothing was concrete. As for a tour? “No comment”. Why he and the band chose not to do an interviews behind this year’s Comedown Machine? “We just made a decision to keep a [lid on it]. We thought it’d be cool to keep a quietness to it, to see what a record would do [if you could only] listen to it.” He added, “Look, I feel like [the press] get everything wrong.”
Produced by longtime friend and collaborator Gus Oberg and recorded at Hammond’s own studios in Manhattan, AHJ will surface October 8th through Julian Casablancas’ own Cult Records.